Sweden has got to be one of the word’s most progressive countries, with its ban on spanking children and its generous 480 days of paid family leave for each child.
Now, its largest union has a hotline for employees to report mansplaining in the workplace. It defines mansplaining as when
“a man explains something to a woman without being asked, particularly something which she might already know more about than the man”.
This is a huge step for women’s sanity and I’d like more countries to follow Sweden’s lead.
No more can some prick in your office tell you how to work the copying machine in that condescending voice. In the lunchroom, you won’t have to listen to Mr. World Traveler expound on how to get the cheapest airfare.
You can run to the phone and scream, “Lars is at my desk telling me how to make a spreadsheet!”
Lars won’t go to jail or even get fired, but you – his victim- will receive advice for productive action against him.
Sweden sounds like a Shangri-La except for the sardine-on-crispbread-snacks and the weather and the no sunshine.
But I worry that forbidding mansplaining at work might have consequences.
What if Swedish men come home after a long day of being muzzled at the office and launch into endless monologues about why certain gaskets are superior, and how the government works, and where to get the very best meatballs and why Ingmar Bergman is overrated, and what to do if your co-worker ignores the chain of command?
Who do you call then?
Me, I call my sister. We have discovered that both our husbands like to explain how to manage the contents of the refrigerator. “Use the older one first,” they both advise, like we are toddlers or tourists from Mars.
Mansplaining in the home is still the Wild West, where it’s every woman for herself.
If you live a man, what is your favorite riff from your Mansplainer-in-Chief?