From the linked article: “the out-and-out confrontational confidence of the totally ignorant is, in my experience, gendered. Men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they’re talking about. Some men.”
I hope you don’t reject this comment as another example of manslaining, but Nobel Winner David Dunning actually studied this phenomenon:
In a study of intuitive physics in 2013, Elanor Williams, Justin Kruger, and I presented people with several variations on this curved-tube image and asked them to identify the trajectory a ball would take (marked A, B, or C in the illustration) after it had traveled through each. Some people got perfect scores, and seemed to know it, being quite confident in their answers. Some people did a bit less well — and, again, seemed to know it, as their confidence was much more muted.
But something curious started happening as we began to look at the people who did extremely badly on our little quiz. By now, you may be able to predict it: These people expressed more, not less, confidence in their performance. In fact, people who got none of the items right often expressed confidence that matched that of the top performers. Indeed, this study produced the most dramatic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect we had ever seen: When looking only at the confidence of people getting 100 percent versus zero percent right, it was often impossible to tell who was in which group.
I have no idea of the gender composition of the studies cited in the article, so there’s no data with which to review Ms. Solnit’s conclusion that being a confrontational idiot is a gendered behavior.
But based on her decision not to laugh directly in that guy’s face (which would have been a well deserved lesson), maybe Solnit’s conclusion is correct since many women choose not to be confrontational.