“‘Mary, Did You Know?’ is the most mansplaining Christmas song,” said Twitter user Carrie Thompson. “Like, yes, obv she knows. Ever read the Magnificat?”
“Mary Did You Know” is my favorite Christmas song where someone mansplains.
— your other merry mom (@difficultpatty) December 6, 2021
— Liisa Lee (@Liisabelle) December 5, 2021
“‘Mary, Did You Know?’ is for Christians what Alanis Morrissette’s ‘Ironic’ is for English professors,” said Karen Swallow Prior, who joked that hating on the song is “an annual tradition.” Prior is an author and Research Professor of English and Christianity and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“Mary, Did You Know?” is for Christians what Alanis Morrissette’s “Ironic” is for English professors.
— Karen Swallow Prior (Notorious KSP) (@KSPrior) December 7, 2021
When one user responded that the carol is a “profound song” that is “oddly mocked,” Christian author Stephen Altrogge suggested that people dislike it because they believe “the song doesn’t do justice to the glory of the story.”
Yet for as many people criticizing the song for mansplaining or other reasons, there seem to be as many defending the title’s repeated question as a rhetorical or literary device intended to lead listeners to ponder the life of Christ.
User Patti Pierce-Miller tweeted, “PSA: ‘Mary, Did You Know’ is a song, poetry, a way of expressing the wonder of the Incarnation, and reminding us of its wonder too. It’s not a literal question. No one is actually asking. You don’t need to answer. You also don’t have to like it.”
One user offered an extended defense of the title’s question being a literary device, based on how other rhetorical questions are used throughout Scripture to ponder various, even self-evident, truths.