Mansplaining is often brushed off by those who don't believe it to be an issue, minimizing it by saying things like "well technically every time a man explains something it's mansplaining."
But that's inaccurate.
Mansplaining is defined as the explanation of something by a man—typically to a woman of equal or greater knowledge on the topic—in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing. And Republican Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Steve Daines decided to give a master class on mansplaining during the Senate confirmation hearing for Department of the Interior nominee Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico.
The confirmation hearings for Democrat Haaland provided prime examples of both mansplaining and microaggression in the workplace and people are calling it out.
Multiple outlets reported the questioning from the GOP was outright hostile, condescending and disrespectful to Haaland in a way not seen with President Biden's White male nominees. Haaland is Indigenous and would become the first Indigenous cabinet secretary—for any department—if confirmed.
Haaland's treatment by two Republican men in particular raised the mansplain signal.
Haaland is an Indigenous woman who can trace her family back 35 generations in New Mexico. She is intimately acquainted with land ownership both in a career and cultural capacity—a fact well known by her peers.
Still, Senator Mike Lee of Utah felt it necessary and appropriate to explain the concept of ownership of public lands to her. His questioning spurred public outrage, including a letter published in a Utah newspaper.
On Wednesday, Senator Steve Daines of Montana treated Haaland much the same way when it came time for him to question her.
Rather than just ask his question, Daines mansplained the Great American Outdoors Act to Haaland.
The New Mexico Democrat was instrumental in getting the act passed in the first place making her a relative expert who didn't require any explanations from Daines. Haaland received bipartisan praise for the hard work she did on the act, as well as her willingness to work the issue for the betterment of the public and the environment rather than allowing it to be political.
Her involvement was far from secret.
When the act was passed, Haaland's staff put out a press release titled:
"Vice Chair Haaland's Priorities Become Law in Great American Outdoors Act"
Deb Haaland is very familiar with the Great American Outdoors Act. Daines should be very aware of this, though he failed to acknowledge her contributions to passing the law at all.
He followed up his mansplaining by admonishing Haaland and saying he hoped she will respect science. Daines has a history of denying widely accepted science.
Haaland does not.
He also questioned why she would support laws protecting grizzly bears.
His treatment of Haaland has definitely gotten attention.
As much attention as it got, Daines is not the only name mentioned repeatedly.
He may have been the most blatant in his mansplaining and dismissal of Haaland's intelligence and competence, but he was not the only guilty party among his Republican colleagues.