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December 11, 2012

The Swedish Are At It, Again....

Those wacky Swedes and their obsession with gender equality. First there was the gender-free kindergarten classroom:

At the school, boys and girls play together with a toy kitchen, waving plastic utensils and pretending to cook. One boy hides inside the toy stove, his head popping out through a hole.

Director: Lotta Rajalin says the staff try to help the children discover new ideas when they play Lego bricks and other building blocks are intentionally placed next to the kitchen, to make sure the children draw no mental barriers between cooking and construction.

At the inimitable Mr. On would say, "Huh???" We can't begin to tell you knuckle draggers how sad it makes us to think that the only thing preventing Humynity from doing their woodworking (or sandblasting!)next to that gently boiling pot of chicken soup is a lack of imagination stemming from centuries of oppressive gender stereotyping (that could easily have been eliminated by a well intended government program). Happily, we can now look forward to a brave new world where a more enlightened and tolerant generation will think nothing of whipping up crepes suzettes in the midst of construction sites!

Because at the end of the day, it's all about tolerance. Except for those atavistic, heteronormative types. They shall not be spoken of, lest anyone get the absurd idea that human reproduction once required the active cooperation of both sexes. Parthenogenesis, here we come!

Meanwhile, nearly all the children's books deal with homosexual couples, single parents or adopted children. There are no 'Snow White,' 'Cinderella' or other fairy tales.

Unexpectedly, all this glorious equality hasn't always led to equal outcomes:

A greater proportion of women than men complete their upper secondary education. Women comprise roughly 60 percent of all students in under-graduate university studies and almost two-thirds of all degrees are awarded to women. Significantly more women than men participate in adult education. The gender distribution among students in postgraduate studies and doctoral degrees is today equal.

Clearly, the problem is pronouns. Personal pronouns, to be precise. And toy catalogs. And peeing while standing up. And, well... men and their penis-having ways:

Is it discriminatory and degrading for toy catalogs to show girls playing with tea sets and boys with Nerf guns? A Swedish regulatory group says yes. The Reklamombudsmannen (RO) has reprimanded Top-Toy, a licensee of Toys"R"Us and one of the largest toy companies in Northern Europe, for its "outdated" advertisements and has pressured it to mend its "narrow-minded" ways. After receiving "training and guidance" from RO equity experts, Top-Toy introduced gender neutrality in its 2012 Christmas catalogue. The catalog shows little boys playing with a Barbie Dream House and girls with guns and gory action figures. As its marketing director explains, "For several years, we have found that the gender debate has grown so strong in the Swedish market that we have had to adjust."

Swedes can be remarkably thorough in their pursuit of gender parity. A few years ago, a feminist political party proposed a law requiring men to sit while urinating—less messy and more equal. In 2004, the leader of the Sweden's Left Party Feminist Council, Gudrun Schyman,proposed a "man tax"—a special tariff to be levied on men to pay for all the violence and mayhem wrought by their sex. In April 2012, following the celebration of International Women's Day, the Swedes formally introduced the genderless pronoun "hen" to be used in place of he and she (han and hon).

Freeing humanity of repressive social pressure is hard work! But how else will we ever be free to interact with each other in State-approved ways? And don't even get us started about freeing the Multiverse from all those racist code words and imagery:

... how far a culture should go to challenge honorable traditions that coincidentally run afoul of modern sensitivities. In Sweden, for example, modern sensibilities are chipping away at the traditional Santa Lucia celebration, which has seen children, since forever, parade around dressed up as stars, gnomes, Santa Lucia, or gingerbread men. The politically correct brigade is now worried about those gingerbread men. You and I think of them as tasty, spicy cookies that all sensible people love; the PC crowd knows that they have a darker symbolism (pun intended):

Schoolchildren in Sweden have been banned from dressing up as gingerbread men for a Christmas parade because their teachers fear the costumes could be considered racist.

[snip]

[H]eartbroken 10-year-old Mio Simiv was told he could not wear his gingerbread man costume to the celebration because it might be seen as ‘offensive’.

Angry mum Jenny Simic told local media: ‘I thought he had to have got it wrong so I called the school and they said people might find a brown gingerbread character offensive.

Mrs. Simic also went on to make a larger point, which is that the other costumes, when taken out of context, can be forced into equally ugly interpretations. You see, those gnome costumes really don’t stand up to close scrutiny ….

‘I said, well then my son won’t participate. He won’t support some Ku Klux Klan procession – because that’s what the little Lucias look like when they all come in with white hoods and white dresses.’

Just looking at that last photo makes the princess feel ashamed of her bad, heternormative self. And so should you...

Feel ashamed of yourselves, that is.

UPDATE: Dear Lord. It's contagious:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Some well-known male chefs are getting behind a New Jersey girl's call for Hasbro to make a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven.

Chefs including Manuel Trevino of TV's "Top Chef" and Michael Lomonaco of Porterhouse New York are featured in a YouTube video applauding McKenna Pope's online petition, which had reached about 40,000 signatures as of Tuesday on the website Change.org.

The 13-year-old 8th-grader from Garfield, N.J., started the petition when she went to buy an Easy-Bake Oven for her 4-year-old-brother, Gavyn Boscio, but discovered it comes only in purple and pink. She wants Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro to feature boys on the box of the toy and to make it in gender-neutral colors.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay said last week he agreed that Hasbro should make an oven in other colors to appeal to boys, and in the nearly 3-minute-long video posted online Tuesday by Flay's publicist, several chefs from around the country joined in on the call.

A spokesman for Hasbro did not comment.

That is a wise man....

Posted by Cassandra at December 11, 2012 08:54 AM

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Comments

And those evil Finns--who blatantly sexist can they get with their folk songs?

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at December 11, 2012 11:06 AM

It is now official. Sweden is the first, and largest, democratically instituted insane asylum in the world.

Posted by: George Pal at December 11, 2012 11:07 AM

I think we can have "equality" or "liberty", but we can't have both.

And people are worried about all these "hurtful" things, like brown gingerbread men, and the gender connotations of Lego Blocks (really?), but the world does not have all rounded corners, and the friction gets worse, as more cultures rub up against each other, and we have to make account of saying those mean and offensive things, like a brown gingerbread man.

Equality (fairness) and liberty. One or the other, but not both, really.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at December 11, 2012 11:41 AM

But...but... DON!

Who will we laugh at if they come to their senses? :D

Posted by: Cass at December 11, 2012 12:00 PM

Well, there is always me.

Of course I'm dead now, but beggars can't be choosers...

Posted by: Knut, the Ambiguously Gay Teen Psychotic Bear at December 11, 2012 12:01 PM

people are worried about...the gender connotations of Lego Blocks

Then just turn the blocks upside down.

Eric Hiens

Posted by: E Hines at December 11, 2012 12:13 PM

Confucious say: Woman Lego who fly upside down have hairy crack up.

Posted by: Evil Twin at December 11, 2012 01:08 PM

They're welcome to try and tell me to pee sitting down. I'd like to see them try and enforce that. And for the record, I've gotten a female friend of mine who goes camping a funnel-like device designed to allow women to pee standing up (as it's more convenient when you're in the woods).

Posted by: MikeD at December 11, 2012 03:24 PM

http://www.go-girl.com/

Yes it's a real thing.

Posted by: MikeD at December 11, 2012 03:25 PM

it's a real thing.

FUD, huh? That was the name of our site's dog at Mangil-San. For him it stood for Fine Upstanding Dog. Except when he was misbehaving. Then it stood for something else.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at December 11, 2012 04:15 PM

Good.Grief.
Hopefully the rest of Scandinavia will not cave in to such nonsense, and Sweden will have a return to its senses.

*looking around for gnome hats for the Oldest Male Chyldryn and gingerbread suits for the Youngest Chylde*

Posted by: Cricket at December 11, 2012 05:37 PM

I don't even know where to start on this thread, but I do know that Evil Twin had best start running :p

I've seen that thingie, Mike (not in real life - just the ads).

Cricket, I'm starting to wonder if all the adults on the planet have lost their minds? If kids can't even play make believe (pretend to be someone else) how can they expect them to imagine how other people feel?

Weird. Very weird.

Posted by: Knut, the Ambiguously Gay Teen Psychotic Bear at December 11, 2012 07:10 PM

The 13-year-old 8th-grader from Garfield, N.J., started the petition when she went to buy an Easy-Bake Oven for her 4-year-old-brother, Gavyn Boscio, but discovered it comes only in purple and pink. She wants Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro to feature boys on the box of the toy and to make it in gender-neutral colors.

Here's a question... isn't it sexist to assume that pink and purple are "girl colors"? Can't boys like pink and purple? Are we guilty of heteronormative thinking by assuming pink and purple can only be liked by girls?

Posted by: MikeD at December 12, 2012 10:04 AM

Well, purple and white are the school colors at the college my son is attending, so he's gonna get to like purple.

And I remember as a small boy playing with my older sister's easy bake oven while she was at school.

And that is seared...SEARED into my memory. Well, really not, just the burn I once got.....

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at December 12, 2012 11:56 AM

"I don't even know where to start on this thread, but I do know that Evil Twin had best start running :p"

Huh?
Wadn' me.
heh

Posted by: Evil Twin at December 12, 2012 12:17 PM

proposed a "man tax"—a special tariff to be levied on men to pay for all the violence and mayhem wrought by their sex.

So, if I pay the "man tax," nobody can raise any further complaints about any violence and mayhem I cause, right? I mean, I've paid the fee, so I should get the license.

Posted by: Grim at December 12, 2012 02:02 PM

So, if I pay the "man tax," nobody can raise any further complaints about any violence and mayhem I cause, right? I mean, I've paid the fee, so I should get the license.

Wouldn't THAT be nice.

Posted by: MikeD at December 12, 2012 04:11 PM

It sure would be. I mean, even the Muslims let you carry on as a Christian or a Jew if you paid the jizyah. So if I pay the man tax, there should be no further complaints about me acting like a man.

Posted by: Grim at December 12, 2012 09:47 PM

So if I pay the man tax....

That's not how it works. That tax is a reparation--a retrospective indulgence. Not a prospective one.

Double taxes for you.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at December 12, 2012 10:54 PM

Well, how about I go ahead and do the man-stuff now, and then I pay the reparation tax at the end of the year? It'll be less like the jizyah, and more like Confession.

Posted by: Grim at December 12, 2012 11:53 PM

I'm soo torn....today the VES bought me a small tea rose plant set inside a gingerbread persyn shaped mug.

It was such a thoughtful present....yet, in light of this post, I find myself in a dilema....
Should I display it in the left front window or right front window of the house?

Decisions, decisions.....
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at December 13, 2012 01:28 AM

how about I go ahead and do the man-stuff now, and then I pay the reparation tax at the end of the year? It'll be less like the jizyah....

That might work. Might even get until the following April 15 to pay the vig.

Should I display it in the left front window or right front window of the house?

Careful--you'll offend those who approach the house from the rear. Or who make their entries via the second story windows.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at December 13, 2012 12:43 PM

"Careful--you'll offend those who..."

Kewl!! A two-fer!
The *right* side it is.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at December 13, 2012 01:54 PM

What, no home baking items for the boys? I beg to differ. Of course it's probably not exactly what they have in mind.

I remember having a toy making kit that my dad handed down to me. It had a small electric furnace that you melted lead in and then cast into molds to make your own toy soldiers.

Later on they also had castable plastic, and rubber. The company who made it was The Rapco Toy Company out of Chicago.

Really, how else are young people supposed to learn basic metallurgy, and materials science?

Cheers

Posted by: Allen at December 14, 2012 01:39 AM

Allen's toy (which sounds great; I want one) reminds me of Bruno Bettelheim's comment about non-violent toys: you can't get children to play with tin pacifists.

Posted by: Texan99 at December 17, 2012 08:44 AM

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