Featured Post: The mansplaining hotline controversy is a good problem

by | Oct 7, 2017

The mansplaining hotline push-back reflects an advanced economy

Swedish women now have a mansplaining hotline, set up by the country’s largest union in a recent pilot scheme.

Yes really. And as the rest of the world waits for the sh$t to hit many fans, the Swedes are so advanced in gender balance that they have the luxury of being able to actually offer a help-line for mansplaining. And there is no sarcasm here. Only envy!  Only countries where most of the progressive boxes are ticked, could and would invest in this type of project. Other countries need help-lines for more pressing basic issues such as domestic violence, sexual harassment, unfair dismissals and wage and recruitment discrimination. We make do with rolled eyes and a bitch to our friends. Swedish women get a mentor to call!

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For the uninitiated, Mansplaining is defined as:

a situation when a man explains something to a woman, when she hasn’t asked and usually when she has more knowledge of the subject.”

In a statement the organization, Unionen said

 “The campaign is not intended to single out or add debt to all men. The campaign aims to raise awareness among all of us, regardless of gender, about this phenomenon and hopefully begin a joint change. Everyone benefits that we visualise suppression techniques and talk about them.”

Unionen, representing some 600,000 workers, wants to encourage women to highlight instances of mansplaining as part of an awareness raising campaign. According to the union, mansplaining is “patronizing and damaging to women, making them look less capable than they actually are in the workplace.”  No kidding.

The hotline aims to give advice to upset and frustrated callers on how to deal to the issue and to  “help them move on.” There will be no script, and the helpers will tap into their own experiences to effectively mentor the callers.

Unionen said the phone line, which will be staffed by a gender expert and a group of feminist politicians, comedians and scientists, is “about equality”.

“It is about putting your finger on the small everyday problems which become large when they stack up.”



If left unaddressed mansplaining is part of the corrosive build up of sexist behaviors that causes women to quit or not to apply to an organization in the first place.  Mansplaining is a unconsicous but subversive way of putting and keeping women in their place and a display of masculine power.

Yet, even in Sweden, there is still push back and complaint from many who feel that in itself the mansplaining hotline is divisive, polarizing and sexist.  But to anyone in a country where the President has publically endorsed sexual aggression on women and discusses his sexual prowess, this level of support is beyond our wildest imaginations. It is one dial tone that will be a symphony or a rock concert to our ears.

If we ever get a help line for mansplaining, we will realize that it’s because serious gender issues will be well on the way to being resolved. I can’t wait until we have a mansplaining hotline controversy over here.

Myleene Cotter is based in Miami Florida


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