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Sweden Launches National 'Mansplaining' Hotline; Men Call in to Complain

by Dakshayani Shankar /
A statue at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, gained meme status this year as "Mansplaining: The Statue."Ash Rios Rodriguez via Cathy de la Cruz

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Sweden has just launched a “mansplaining” hotline to encourage citizens to vent their frustrations about the practice of "maneuvering, tricks and suppression techniques designed to put women down.”

The gender equality initiative, created by Swedish's largest worker union, Unionen, has already received hundreds of calls since it opened on November 14.

Complaints have included women concerned over their male bosses ignoring them, not taking responsibility, and not inviting them to group lunches.

"I find it hard to speak up when I feel run over, like I am the b*tchy feminist,” and “I feel that the guys at my work often do stuff, without asking me. How can I bring this up?" are just some of the main concerns that frustrated women have asked via the hotline.

According to one of the volunteers, Peter Tai Christensen, mansplaining includes dismissing a woman's knowledge on the subject, diverting from her opinion on the topic, and feeling a need to patronize or condemn her for it.

"The aim of our campaign is to draw attention to discriminatory behavior and harassment in the workplace," Jennie Zetterstrom, a spokesperson for Unionen, told NBC News. "We hope [this] will be the first step in changing the way we treat each other and talk about each other in the workplace."

 Man: If you're going to open the browser, it's easier if you... Woman: Excuse me, I'm coding here. Man: Oh, how fun! I have some thoughts about that too. Nina Hemmingsson / http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-11-17/sweden-opens-hotline-report-mansplaining

Male co-workers have also called into the hotline, asking volunteers what the term means, how they can be sure of not mainsplaining, and seeking clarity on the difference between instructing and informing their female co-workers, according to Christina Knight, a Unionen volunteer.

"I had a great guy call in who had been asked by his sister to talk to his nephews about mansplaining," Knight said. "I saluted him for taking that on. I told him I think it is all about listening and asking questions before you sort of go on "autopilot" and just assume that you know more and have to explain things to a woman."

However, while Knight says "50 percent of the calls" she has received are from concerned men, other men have taken to social media to voice their disapproval of the hotline.

"What do you offer to help men who are victims of master suppression techniques from a woman at work?” one Facebooker commented on Unionen's "Mansplaining Hotline" post.

Other men commented that the hotline was patronizing and divisive.

"The idea that men cannot try to explain something to a woman because that would be 'sexist' is ridiculous," wrote another male Facebook commenter.

"By all means let's try to fight against discrimination and oppression in general, regardless of gender, but can we please stop making it a 'Man vs Woman' thing?"

 A statue at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, gained meme status this year as "Mansplaining: The Statue." Ash Rios Rodriguez via Cathy de la Cruz

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