J.K. Rowling Claps Back On Twitter After Mansplainer Tells An Author What A Book Is
If there's anyone you can trust to call out bullsh*t on Twitter, it's J.K. Rowling. In her most recent act of perfection, J.K. Rowling clapped back on Twitter at a mansplainer who felt the need to explain what a book is to an author. Yes, you read that right. A woman who wrote a book was mansplained about what a book is. Someone hold my poodle, I'm about to lose it. This woman was just trying be excited and proud about her book like she has every right to be, and a guy just had to come in to try and ruin it with some textbook mansplaining. Twitter user/author Laura Kalbag tweeted,
If you missed it: I've written a book! It's coming out very soon, sign up to get it first
To which Twitter user Erik Spikermann replied, completely unprompted,
Actually, you wrote a text. It took a few other people & skills to make that into a book.
That "actually." I can't. I don't think my eyes can roll farther back in my head. Twitter user Laura Reich quoted the tweet and said what all of us ladies are thinking:
this tweet is such a breathtakingly perfect textbook ACTUALLY that I'm almost impressed
Honestly, same. I am impressed by how clearly I could hear that "actually" in my head. In case you didn't know, mansplaining is when men try to explain things to women that they apparently think we don't already understand. These explanations usually come in a condescending tone (although this isn't always the case, mansplaining can be sneaky), and it makes women feel as if their credibility is being questioned based on the sole fact that they are women. This is made worse on the internet and happens a lot on Twitter.
Case in point: A woman tweets about a book she wrote, and a man she probably doesn't know tells her she didn't actually write a book. (She did.) But never fear, J.K. Rowling came in to save the day like the hero she is. Rowling tweeted at Kalbag and said,
Congratulations on writing your first book, Laura. Other people edited, copyedited, proofread, printed and bound it. You wrote. Be proud x
Yes, J.K.! You uplift that woman! Spikermann and Reich were also in the chain, so they no doubt saw Rowling's tweet. Kalbag responded, "Thank you, that really means a lot." If J.K. Rowling ever tweeted at me, I think (read: I know) I would faint. So props to Kalbag for keeping her cool (on Twitter, at least). Kalbag's book is called Accessibility for Everyone, and according to Kalbag's website, it's all about making the internet user-friendly for as many people as possible. The description of the book on her website says,
In case you've not heard of web accessibility (you wouldn't be the first!), web accessibility is the degree to which a website is usable by as many people as possible. A lot of material around accessibility focus on making websites usable by people with different types of disabilities and impairments, but designing inclusively for a wide range of needs will generally make websites more usable for everyone. There is a huge wealth of information about accessibility from accessibility experts on the web. But where do you start? This is why I wrote Accessibility For Everyone. I want to help you learn the foundations of accessibility, and point you in the direction of the accessibility experts I learn from so we can keep making the web better.
It sounds like a wonderful and very timely book. Spiekermann is apparently a well-known German typographer, so that would explain why he had an interest in Kalbag's tweet, as his trade is to be involved in every step of the book-making process, according to his Twitter. But even with that context, it wasn't necessary to rain of the first-time author's parade by getting picky over the tiny details. At the end of the day, the work the copyeditors, proofreaders, and anyone else who worked on the book did wouldn't have been able to do their jobs had it not been for Kalbag's "text." Other people called out the mansplainer for his tweet, and it's (kind of) restoring my faith in the world. But Spiekermann really didn't seem to get it.
Spiekermann responded to the backlash in a tweet that said,
Ok, everybody, I wrote a bad tweet with a bad choice of words at the wrong time. Will never do click 'send' so quickly again. Sorry, Laura!
Hopefully the next time this guy thinks about correcting a first-time author on a book that took her three years to complete, he'll just let her live. Congratulations on your book, Laura!