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Scientist’s Story Of A Dude Mansplaining Her Own Research To Her Prompts A Flood Of Women To Share Their Own

Professor Tasha Stanton is a clinical pain neuroscientist who is apparently qualified to talk at conferences, lecture, and write whole papers on the subject. There’s a lot of work that goes into the “professor” title, and she’s done it. Yet, she wrote on Twitter about an uncomfortable encounter she has with a guy who assumed she didn’t know what she was talking about—and quoted her own work at her.

Her story thread began:

Friends at conferences – please do not assume that the people that you talk to do not know anything. I just got told that I should read what Stanton et al found about pain. I. Am. Stanton.

I am Spartacus! Whoops, sorry, different story.

Stanton’s story is not unfamiliar. Writer Rebecca Solnit has a famous essay called “Men Explain Things to Me,” about a guy who kept insisting she read her own book, because he’d assumed the author was a man. It’s a bad cultural habit that needs to break.

Stanton explained that she didn’t expect people to know what she looked like, necessarily, but the guy was apparently pretty condescending throughout the conversation before he put the cherry on top by recommending she read her own work:

Prof. Stanton’s tale is similar to so many others, especially in the world of law and STEM. It’s like men don’t think women write papers or something?

The responses to the thread are a deluge of stories about times when ladies have been underestimated or condescended to, even when they’re the most qualified person in the room:

Stanton very generously says anyone could make a mistake and she tries to assume the best about people. It’s entirely possible to not realize who you’re talking to when you’ve only heard about them through long, scientific texts. But it might behoove everyone to stop imagining all scientists as slightly more groomed Einsteins. They can take all forms, and one of those forms might be about to seriously put you in your place. Read the name tag and ask if you’re not sure, or you might end up being a cautionary tale about gender bias.