Culture

Are Men Bothering You at Work? Call 1-800-MANSPLAIN

Are you a lady who is tired of men bothering you at work by offering unsolicited advice?

Sweden’s largest workers union has set up a hotline for women “to report their condescending male colleagues.”

The hotline is on the cutting edge of awareness-raising in the work place.

The number is a new initiative from Unionen, Sweden’s largest workers union. Running everyday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. all week, workers are urged to call in cases of “mansplaining” in an effort to raise awareness around workplace sexism.

A recent survey conducted by Unionen showed that female workers feel like they are given “unnecessary help” by men who assume they know better than the women.

“The aim of our campaign is to draw attention to discriminatory behavior in the workplace,” Jennie Zetterstrom, a Unionen representative, told CNN. “Sweden is well advanced when it comes to gender equality but much remains to be done. We want to start a discussion which we hope will be the first step in changing the way we treat each other,” she added.

Who is responsible for this exercise in stupidity?

Twenty people — both men and women — were selected to run the hotline. Christina Knight, a half-Swedish, half-British creative director, is one of the those manning the phones this week.

I have to ask: what if the men at the hotline try and mansplain to their women colleagues? Do the women call each other at the hotline?

“I am all for uniting opposites and differences as I believe diversity brings more opportunities,” Knight told CNN. “No matter what a woman says, a man always seems to know better. While it can happen both ways, more women tend to be the victims of this presumption that women need men to explain them things,” she added.

“A common question has been: ‘How do I know I’ve been doing this?’ I always tell them: ask questions first. Start with a dialogue, instead of a monologue about something you assume a woman doesn’t know or wants to know,” she added.

What happens after a woman calls the hotline to complain about the mansplainer in her life? We don’t know. Perhaps women just call to vent or emote. I don’t understand how this “fixes” the issue but that might not be the purpose of this spectacle.

The hotline has its own Instagram account that posts pictures illustrating something and it’s captioned in Swedish. I can’t understand it and I don’t want to but some were critical of the cartoons, saying they cast men as the enemy.

Well, Felix, that is just what we would expect a man to say.