Saturday, October 03, 2009

to all american men: just so you know what people are saying about you

Anna Anka, married to Paul, is starring on Swedish TV in a reality show called Swedish Hollywood wives. Her gender-conservative views have caused concern in Sweden:

Anna Anka, who had a brief role in the film Dumb and Dumber, writes in an opinion piece for the Swedish website Newsmill that Swedish men, once proud Vikings, have been turned into "diaper changing" pansies who are too occupied with equality and instead should be like real American men. [American men] would apparently panic if they were left alone with a child for more than 20 minutes, and don't make dinner or do the ironing. (Full story here.)

I remember a young Mexican-American woman, one of my students, telling the class that her dad would do the laundry and the ironing at her house, but only if the shutters were closed so that no one could see him.

How about some male voices in the discussion about gender roles?


Kjelleman said...

I suppose she played dumber.

Lotta K said...

Kjell, är det någon debatt i Sverige om hur vanliga amerikaner lever?

Anonymous said...

True. American men will be helpful to their wives by doing some laundry, but they wouldn't want their male friends to find out about it. It's not manly. To be manly, we must insist that the females do the laundry, cook, clean while we watch sports.

Anonymous said...

I find Anna's comments so ignorant of American life as to be laughable. (And please tell me Swedish people don't believe that -- any more than Americans see Swedish men as pansies.) Similarly, the comment from anonymous above is equally out of touch. Where do people get this stuff? From reruns of "Leave it to Beaver?" Maybe this would be relevant 50 years ago and to a certain segment of the population, but now? today? It's a stereotype as obnoxious as any other. I agree that women have the bulk of the second shift, but the idea that American men don't change diapers or fold clothes for fear of not being considered manly is ridiculous and outdated. The problem is not that men don't do such tasks -- it's that they don't do it ENOUGH.

Lotta K said...

Hi Anonymous #2, I've been trying to read as much as I can of what Swedish media say about ms Anka. You are right, people do laugh at her. At the same time it seems she's been able to provoke a lot of people. I think egalitarian Swedes to some extent worry about what they might be missing out on, and she probably feeds into some of that. Swedes also have a tendency to think that life in the US is easy. That bureaucracy is simple, for instance. I don;t think many people know what everyday life in an American family looks like.