Whenever political correctness goes too far, the Swedish seem to be close by, egging it on and encouraging it to go further. Take “mansplaining”. Last week, a Swedish union set up a mansplaining hotline, enabling office staff to report and discuss instances of mansplaining in the workplace. This being Scandinavia, it is an equal-opportunity mansplaining hotline; men and women have equal access to its services. A quick reminder, by the way, if you are confused as to what mansplaining means: there is hard mansplaining and soft mansplaining but, basically, mansplaining means mansplaining. Well, actually, it’s a little bit more complicated than that. Probably best that you get a man ‘splain it to you.
When I first heard about this mansplaining hotline, I thought it was a stunt to raise awareness in an engaging way about the gendered condescension many women are all-too familiar with. Boy, was I wrong. After speaking to some men, I now realise that mansplaining is an oppressive, sexist term that reinforces centuries of women silencing men. It is a shame that men don’t have a platform to educate people about this much-overlooked point. Perhaps Sweden should think about setting up a men-explaining-mansplaining hotline next, to ensure that men have their voice heard too?
I was also shocked to learn that the UK is sending Sweden £350m a week to fund the mansplaining hotline. Surely this money could be better spent? Indeed, I have some suggestions of important services the UK should fund instead.
Maysplaining hot or coldline
It is easier to keep up with the Kardashians than with Theresa May’s changing opinion on Brexit. Stay up to date with a dedicated phoneline for all your Maysplaining questions. Find out if she’s hot or cold, if she’s yes or no, and if we’re in or out.
While there has been a lot of talk about taking back control of the UK, there has been less about how we will do this. Is there an app we can use? Or are there manual controls? I propose a touchscreen interface that would empower ordinary people by, quite literally, putting the future of Britain in their hands. Why not give Brits the ability to online shop their foreign-looking neighbours to the immigration police, for example? They could choose who they want deported, with one-click checkout. This would be a much more efficient solution than driving around vans emblazoned with advertisements telling illegal immigrants to “Go home”.
Technically, this exists already – it’s called the “gig economy”. You simply press a button on your phone and a poor person will come to your house to clean it, or deliver your kale lemonade or do your shopping. However, while many start-ups operate on this “poor people as a service” business model, there is a need for a one-stop shop. We live in a winner-takes-all economy now, so it makes sense to consolidate the poor.
Last Thursday, the Times published a brave article by MP Philip Davies titled “The silent sex shouts against inequality”. Basically, Davies shouts silently, women’s issues have been grabbing all the headlines and men barely get a say these days. Indeed, a study has found that men write a mere 78% of all front-page articles while women write a massive 22%. Men also accounted for only 84% of people mentioned or quoted in lead pieces. In order to rectify this inequitable state of affairs, we should offer men a manophone to amplify their voices. Perhaps we can just make their writing several font sizes bigger so their shouting doesn’t have to be so silent? Seems fair.
There is something rotten about the state of Britain’s confectionery. First, Toblerone increased the space between the triangles; a geometric shift that resulted in approximately 10% less chocolate per bar. Now it seems that bags of Maltesers are 15% lighter. We are increasingly being deprived of our chocolate by the global confectionery elite. We need some sort of system to hold them to account before they come for the KitKats.
Check your privilege app
Once upon a time, white men ruled the world. It was a heavy burden but they shouldered it bravely and, of course, silently. But times change and it increasingly appears that straight white men are the new minorities. Indeed, according to the Harvard Business Review, two-thirds of men say they are facing gender discrimination. Meanwhile, studies show that white Americans feel anti-white bias is a bigger problem than anti-black bias. There are few facts to support white Americans’ sudden feeling of victimisation; but we live in a post-fact world. So we ought to have an app where we can all check our privilege daily and see how much is left and who has the most privilege points. This will help us decide who gets the last KitKat when all the chocolate in Britain runs out. I feel this would be a good system to deal with these changing times. However, I’m open to suggestions from men as to how to improve it. Indeed, there’s even a number you can call.