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Would You Call a Mansplaining Hotline?

Photograph by Twenty20

Sweden has out done us once again. This time by opening a hotline designed to help stop the spread of mansplaining.

Seriously, could they be more hip?

Union spokeswoman Jennie Zetterström tells the New York Times, “Our objective is to contribute to awareness and start a discussion which we hope will be the first step in changing the way we treat each other and talk about each other in the workplace... It’s important to create awareness about how seemingly small things that we do or say add up to a larger issue.”

The Swedish Mansplaining Hotline opened a few weeks ago and 20 gender experts took calls from both women and men wishing to share their experiences with, or ask question about, mansplaining. The hotline was designed to spark awareness and discussion about gender discrimination, particularly in the workplace.

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Mansplaining is best defined as a condescending lecture from a man to a woman, most often when the woman is actually better educated on the subject of said lecture. It is not an even exchange of ideas or a welcome answer to an earnest question. It is an uninvited interaction that makes men look bad and women feel bad. As a woman in the modern world, you may not be familiar with the term, but you have most likely been on the receiving end of at least one of these unpleasant conversations.

I once had a man, who admitted he didn't use social media, explain to me how to handle online trolls. I'm a social media consultant. Please, Sir, do tell. I'm all ears.”

Callers to the Swedish hotline sought advice on how to handle feeling "run over" or ignored by their male colleges. Others have asked how to handle being undermined or having a man receive credit for their work. The hotline is both cathartic and helpful. However, not everyone in Sweden was thrilled with the idea, namely angry male Facebook commenters who felt the hotline was pointing fingers at them . But at the end of the day, this temporary service got people talking about the subject which, after all, was the organizer's main objective. So I'd call that a win.

All this got me wondering what women would ask if America opened its own mansplaining hotline, so I decided to ask some friends. The responses were both funny and frustrating. It got me thinking that America really needs to start mansplaining support groups, ideally hosted in great bars during happy hour!

I would love to know what the Swedish experts had to say about these:

“I once had a man explain to me that men were obviously superior to women because a man held the world record for fastest baseball pitch. And FYI, the fastest women's pitch was at the time held by a 15-year-old girl because GIRLS AREN'T GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY BASEBALL starting around that age.” - Rebecca H.

“I once had a man, who admitted he didn't use social media, explain to me how to handle online trolls. I'm a social media consultant. Please, Sir, do tell. I'm all ears.” - Asia R.

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“There's one I hear all the time. It's tiny, but a little piece of my soul dies every time: ‘What do you do?’ ‘I'm an actor.’ ‘Ahhh, you mean an actRESS!’ Ugh.” - Kathryn Z.

"After saying I was having intense cramps, someone once mansplained to me that it was probably because I was on my period and the lining of my uterus was shedding, and that’s why it was probably painful. Thanks. (FYI I was not on my period.)" - Angelica L.

“I’d love to ask: ‘How do I insure my sons don’t grow up to be mansplainers?’” - Carla W.

“I had a single man with no children explain to me the best ways to discipline children. The only thing I learned from that conversation was why he didn’t have kids.” - Michelle R.

What would you add?

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