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"Mansplaining" Hotline

MansplainingA Swedish trade union set up a temporary hotline for men and women to report instances of "mansplaining" on the job. Mansplaining was first described in 2008, and the term starting becoming popular around 2102. An Atlantic article describes its origins and offers a definition: "explaining without regard to the fact that the explainee knows more than the explainer, often done by a man to a woman."

A spokesperson for the union described the rationale for the hotline:

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.

Mansplaining may be a type of microaggression, a term used for subtle, yet damaging forms of discrimination. Microaggressions can be small acts and expressions that, taken alone may not constitute, for example, racism or sexism. But when people are subjected to similar acts or comments over time, it sure feels like racism or sexism.

Columbia Professor Derald Wing Sue has written extensively on the subject. He defines microaggressions as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.”

Image source.

Discussion Starters:

  • This post started about mansplaining and ended about microaggressions. Do you see the connection, or is this a stretch?
  • Consider your own experience with mansplaining. Have you experienced it or done it? How has it affected you?