Feminism | Posted by Julie Z on 10/8/2009

Why I Want to be Swedish

Your shiny exterior fails to fool me, Toys R Us. YOU ARE EVIL!!!

Your shiny exterior fails to fool me, Toys R Us. YOU ARE EVIL!!!

Lemondrop.com is reporting that Swedish-based consumer advocacy group Reklamombudsmannen (love the name…) made a claim against Toys ‘R’ Us for featuring “outdated gender roles” in their 2008 Christmas catalog.

It’s baller that somebody did something about the ridiculously gender segregated toys in that store (and in many toy stores). But that’s not even the best part.

Apparently, this claim originated from a Stockholm sixth-grade class’s school project. As Lemondrop reports:

The class examined the toy catalog, which showed boys playing in “action-filled environments” as superheroes, while girls are shown “sitting or standing in passive poses” dressed up in princess costumes. The kids felt that the scenes reinforced a subjective idea of normal play, and filed a complaint against Toys ‘R’ Us for gender discrimination.

for boys and girls

for boys and girls and anybody else who wants a princess barbie, damn it.

They argued that gender discrimination is potentially unhealthy (damn skippy) as it could make kids feel self-conscious if they wanted to play with a toy outside of their designated gender role, in addition to the last effects of this mindset. As one student, Moa Averin, said herself: “guys want to be princesses sometimes.”

So, you mean to say, there exists a country that has government-funded universal health care, is one of the top 10 countries on the Human Development Index, and also promotes education about GENDER ROLES IN SCHOOL? Oh, it is love.

Sweden has basically got it going on, and this report completely affirms that. I want to be best friends with every kid involved in that report and give the teacher who (possibly) initiated it a great big hug.


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  • Amy CT @ at 12:04 pm, October 8th, 2009

    Let us all emigrate together :)

    Actually, if Sweden’s EU, I’m good to go! Hooray! ;)

  • toongrrl @ at 12:24 pm, October 8th, 2009

    I want to go to Sweden!! They’ve restricted advertising to children under 12. Excellent!! You get dental care for free!! It’s close to Denmark!!! Yay, Sweden!!

  • Steph @ at 2:28 pm, October 8th, 2009

    Oh, Sweden. Such an awesome country.
    Far too cold for me, though, and where I am right now isn’t all that bad in terms of civil liberties, either.

  • Leah Wild @ at 3:20 pm, October 8th, 2009

    OMG!I am packed and ready to go! I ADORE SEWDEN! Why can’t all countrys be like this? :-)

  • insomnius @ at 6:55 am, October 9th, 2009

    Oh, that is wonderful. This post has made my day, and it was already a pretty good day.

  • dare2believe @ at 9:30 am, October 9th, 2009

    And i bet their prime minister doesn’t have private parties with minor girls…

  • Freddy-May @ at 1:00 pm, October 9th, 2009

    That is SO GREAT that the kids would say something like that.

  • RebJ @ at 11:47 pm, October 10th, 2009

    I’ve felt like sweden was paradise on Earth ever since I watched the special features of Michael Moore’s Sicko. Best universal health care system. Best country to raise kids. Highest percentage of women in government. Longest average life span. Most pro-sex country. The list never ends.

    Could someone from Sweden give some perspective? It sounds to good to be true.

  • Emily @ at 8:03 pm, October 12th, 2009

    As much as I would like to think universal health care would work, Sweden hasn’t got it all together as we might think. Plus, Michael Moore is just as biased to present Sweden in a good light as any political activist, unfortunatly.

    Check out this PDF I was reading the other day:

    Other than that, I wish gender education was more widely accepted in America. This is such a great thing to hear that SIXTH GRADERS are speaking up.

  • Northern @ at 9:21 pm, October 12th, 2009

    Sweden is just another quite oppressed and suppressed culture, as are the other northern european cultures. A lots of things going underneath, but not spoken. It’s not a total paradise, but has advanced european cultural base.

    “Most pro-sex country.”

    – as seen from the surface ;)
    no matter, there the religious overlay is not as heavy as in southern parts of europe.

    And this one you don’t want to believe: but they Are Conservatives…

  • Genie C @ at 12:52 am, October 13th, 2009

    Hoorah for Sweden! This is so impressive. I used to work for a toy store and flipping through their catalogues the gender roles presented were so obvious. Girl pages were pink and purple and boy pages blue and green. And by that I don’t mean they had coloured backgrounds – the products and their packaging were always in those colours. I seriously dislike how heavily gender roles are imprinted on children. Kids like playing grown-up, that’s fair enough, but… come on! Girls deserve better than this!

  • annie @ at 10:57 pm, October 14th, 2009

    This is awesome! Most pro-sex is ALWAYS a good thing. I wonder what the demographics are there?

  • Valerie B. @ at 6:10 pm, November 6th, 2009

    This is AMAZING!!!
    My friends, unfortunately, don’t undersatnd this article when I showed it to them and they’rte like , ‘WTC?! Are they sposed to show gay lil boys playing w/barbies??’ and they cracked up.
    ‘No, they’re supposed to show the toy and deascribe it, not identify which gender it has to be for.’
    The only reason they say that is because that’s the way they were raised in our society. Only girls can play with “girly” toys and only guys can play with “boyish” toys. Damn, I need to get me some more feminist friends.

  • Tommy Brunn @ at 5:34 am, December 2nd, 2009

    I’m from Sweden, and I just found this article via StumbleUpon, and felt like I had to comment on it.

    While many of the things you say are true, there’s always a backside to everything. For example, yesterday a part of Sweden’s military intelligence agency started to officially monitor all cable-bound communication passing through the Swedish borders. That means internet, telephone calls, text messages – everything! All this just to fight imaginary terrorists who apparently are dumb enough to plan their attacks via non-encrypted emails. Brilliant!

    Also, one commenter mentioned free dental care. That’s not exactly true. The year you turn 20, you have to start paying for dental care. So for kids it’s free, which is great, since that’s the age when you have to go through the really expensive treatments – like getting braces, for example. Even after you turn 20, dental care is subsidized, so you’re still not paying for all of it. But it’s not free.

    Still, Sweden is for the most part a pretty nice country to live in – if you can ignore the fact that most politicians seem to be completely and utterly retarded, and blindly disregard the will of the people – as seen with the latest intrusions into our privacy (Research FRA and IPRED if you want to know more).

  • Brett @ at 5:59 am, December 2nd, 2009

    Isn’t it great that a private entity can be prevented by the government from printing a flyer because it does not conform with mores of the government?

    What a wonderful society

  • Lania @ at 4:30 pm, January 1st, 2010

    I’m liking this just as much as everyone else, and I’m already a Swede! Nice to see that us Swedes get some recognition online. ^__^

  • shukov @ at 5:23 pm, January 1st, 2010

    Women always look foolish when they pretend to be the same as men, they are really very different creatures from men. Not better or worse but way different.

  • Victoria L @ at 8:57 pm, March 8th, 2012


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