Here’s the thing most women don’t understand about mansplaining: It works. When a man conveys his wisdom to a woman who doesn’t know any better, there’s always a chance that she will listen, take the man’s advice, and succeed as a result. Is that really such a bad thing?
On Wednesday, for example, Vice President Kamala Harris narrowly avoided yet another humiliating failure by embracing the superior knowledge of her male husband. After attending an event at American University to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the vice president attempted to shoot some hoops on the basketball court. It did not go well.
“After encouragement, [Harris] accepted the ball, dribbled, held the ball, and then dribbled again before taking a shot. It hit the net,” wrote the Washington Examiner‘s Naomi Lim in the White House pool report.
(Some women might be wondering: Isn’t hitting the net a good thing? No, not always. In basketball, a made shot that goes through the round metal circle known as the “rim” but hits only the net on its way down is called a “swish.” A missed shot that hits only the net—commonly referred to as an “airball”—is not a good thing. No points are awarded for hitting the net unless the ball also goes through the rim. Players who shoot an airball are typically mocked and jeered by their opponents, and rightly so.)
Harris proceeded to miss another four shots from just inside the free-throw line, a spot located 15 feet from the hoop where players attempt uncontested shots after being fouled in the act of shooting. After watching his wife go an embarrassing 0-5, the vice president’s male husband Doug Emhoff took it upon himself to explain how to properly shoot a basketball. “Bend your knees,” he said, wisely.
Harris took the man’s advice and made the shot.
It was arguably the only success Harris has achieved as vice president since taking office in 2021. Shooting 16.7 percent (1-of-6) from the field is not very good, but Harris still managed to outperform Barack Obama, who made just 9.1 percent of his shots during an abysmal 2-of-22 display on the White House basketball court in 2013.
Unfortunately for Harris, her lousy shooting percentage was only slightly lower than her historically bad job approval rating. A recent survey of New Hampshire voters found that just 24 percent had a favorable opinion of the vice president, compared with 64 percent who had an unfavorable opinion.
Maybe she wouldn’t be so unpopular if she listened to her husband more often.
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