Sweden’s popular Mansplaining Hotline blew up — with calls from curious men.

Adam Falklind noticed something weird happening whenever he would go rock climbing with his spouse at the gym.

His partner, Ylva, would get odd comments thrown her way. Even though she had been an avid rock climber for seven years, a lot of people at the gym would talk to her like a newbie. The remarks, Falklind noticed, seemed to come from one specific type of person: dudes.

Many of the guys who felt a need to chime in — mainly the "big biceps kind," as Falklind describes them — assumed she needed some extra help getting up the wall. They assumed wrong.


"They will say [to her], 'Oh no, you have to do it like this,’" says Falklind. "When actually, she’s the one that has better technique and footwork.”

When the outdoorsy couple, who live in Sweden, have gone on scuba diving adventures, Richert encountered the same sort of unsolicited comments from guys there, too.

Adam Falklind and Ylva Richert on a diving trip. Photo via Adam Falklind, used with permission.

So what gives?

A few weeks ago, Falklind spotted a post on Facebook that put a name to this weird phenomenon: mansplaining.

It's not officially a real word (yet). But "mansplaining" (a term coined after Rebecca Solnit's 2008 essay "Men Explain Things To Me") is one that Merriam-Webster has been keeping a close eye on lately:

Mansplaining is "what occurs when a man talks condescendingly to someone (especially a woman) about something he has incomplete knowledge of, with the mistaken assumption that he knows more about it than the person he's talking to does."

This was it — the thing Falklind's spouse had been dealing with from male divers and rock climbers alike.

The Facebook post Falklind spotted was promoting a Mansplaining Hotline, launched by Unionen, Sweden's largest workers' union. It was meant for both men and women across the country to call in to vent, ask questions, and — most importantly — start conversations about mansplaining and other forms of harassment as they exist in their own workspace.

As a guy, Falklind was curious: How prevalent is mansplaining? How can it be avoided? And was he a perpetrator without even realizing it?

He decided to give it a ring. “I wanted to dig a little deeper," he says, noting he had discussed it with Richert before phoning in. “I felt like I wanted to know more about this."

Photo via Adam Falklind, used with permission.

He definitely wasn't alone.

According to Unionen, the Mansplaining Hotline blew up. 60% of the callers — believe it or not — were men.

"It exceeded our expectations — by far," says Gabriel Wernstedt, a Unionen press officer.

The hotline was slammed with hundreds of calls throughout the five-day span it operated in mid-November, with news of the service spreading as far as Ireland, India, Australia, and the U.S.

Many women who called in felt a great sense of relief, says Christina Knight, an expert on gender who helped answer calls. They learned they weren't alone or being overly sensitive about their condescending coworkers; they finally had a word to refer to what they were experiencing at the individual level.

Among men, however, some were irritated, feeling as though this whole mansplaining concept was some sort of personal, gendered attack against them.

Those male callers were in the minority, though. "In many men," Knight explains, "it brought to their attention a phenomenon they might not even have been aware of. It evoked an interest and a desire to try and understand and avoid mansplaining."

One man in his 30s, for instance, hoped to give some good feedback to his young nephews in order to stomp out a potential future generation of mansplainers, Knight recalls. Another man — the head of his department at work — specifically asked for tips on how to avoid being that guy in a managerial role, since he often had to train his employees, Wernstedt says.

“I asked, ‘How can I help myself?’” Falklind recalls of his own chat with a hotline operator. “It awoke a lot of interesting reflections in me.”

Photo via Adam Falklind, used with permission.

Wernstedt was careful to note that women can also be condescending toward others, of course, and that the point of the hotline was about people of all genders being more proactive in fighting for change — not pitting genders against one another.

But there is a reason why this phenomenon has been dubbed mansplaining, after all: Men do seem more likely to want to exhibit control and strut their knowledge at the office, Wernstedt says. And that's part of the reason why this sneaky form of sexism exists in far too many workplaces around the world.

The best piece of advice hotline workers gave men who called in was simple: Listen.

Hotline operators — volunteers in various career fields who all had some expertise in workplace harassment, like Knight — were happy to lend a helping hand. "Asking questions and listening is an easy way to have a dialogue instead of a monologue," Knight notes.

The best way for men to avoid mansplaining is to be more cognizant of their own behavior, she says — stop "going on autopilot," simply assuming something needs to be taught. Instead, show a genuine interest in and respect for the women you work with by listening and responding to them. Or, as Wernstedt puts it, understand why "we have two ears and one mouth.”

Falklind, who's well aware he's likely mansplained at some point or another, knows he's a work in progress.

“It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong in any situation, despite gender," he says. "It’s something that I try to work on every day."

Photo via Adam Falklind, used with permission.

As far as all the hoopla around the hotline ... does it mean there will be another one down the road? Possibly, says Wernstedt. But Unionen is still climbing out from under the overwhelming responses to this one, which ended nearly two weeks ago.

“We’re still amazed by the interest," he says.

It seems the world could use quite a few more Mansplaining Hotlines — there's certainly no shortage of men with an urge to pick up the phone and dial in.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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