Jessica Meir is a NASA astronaut who also works as an Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and a postdoctoral researcher in comparative physiology at the University of British Columbia. She recently tweeted from outer space, presumably happy about the experience.
My first venture >63,000′, the space equivalent zone, where water spontaneously boils! Luckily I’m suited! pic.twitter.com/0zB5Ku5Tdy
— Jessica Meir (@Astro_Jessica) September 9, 2016
But a man reported that this isn’t “spontaneous” – ‘it’s simple thermo,’ he said.
Of course, as an astronaut and and a Ph.D in marine biology, it’s pretty safe to say that Mier knows her ‘simple thermo,’ but this is a case of mansplaining: explaining something to someone, typically a woman, in a condescending or patronizing manner.
Dr. Paul Coxon tweeted the exchange and it quickly went viral, before the man deleted his Twitter account. Not long after that, Coxon too deleted his tweet, arguably due to the coverage it was getting. The replies the conversation was getting were also hilarious:
when you’re literally an astronaut but still get mansplained to pic.twitter.com/iyyaorBHft
— Lauren (@laurenradice) September 9, 2016
“You might be a working astronaut, BUT I AM A MAN” pic.twitter.com/cHutFjExmB
— Dawn Foster (@DawnHFoster) September 9, 2016
@CaseyOQuin @Astro_Jessica This lesson went well I think. But you should have told her to smile more. Women love that
— Padraig O Mearan (@omearan) September 9, 2016
Yeah, that went really well.
Just to clarify – there’s nothing wrong in trying to have a conversation with a researcher or an astronaut online, and there’s also nothing necessarily wrong in contradicting them. However, the assumption that the person you’re talking to doesn’t understand a simple topic – especially when she’s clearly qualified – is wrong.