I wear trousers more often than I do skirts. I’m not a raving feminist. My chosen dress code has little to do with household decision-making. I just hate my little stumpy legs.
To my knowledge, my sambo doesn’t wear dresses either. So if I were to ask myself who wears the trousers in our relationship, I’d say we probably both share pair of baggy shorts.
This came to my attention when reading an entertaining and informative blog post – which was forwarded to me.
Very well written by a US expat in Stockholm, the author argues that efforts to promote gender equality has effectively resulted in the emasculation of Sweden’s male population.
I agree that men up here in the north aren’t the pillaging Viking warriors of yesteryear and are somewhat different in physical style and emotional manner to their global counterparts. Some might say effeminate, others might say sensitive. Some women like that and macho men often don’t.
Sweden, indeed, offers a haven for men who have moved here from abroad to meet with their metrosexual fantasies. If they so wish. A married guy I know from a hard, industrial English city, now living in Stockholm, admits he can enjoy wearing pink shirts nowadays.
In fact, it’s more likely he’ll be complemented than condemned for his chosen colour of attire. A whole rainbow of pastel shades, it seems, are positively encouraged by men.
Another example where men feel demonstrably more at home in Sweden is in the kitchen. Rivalling male buddies go head-to-head in dinner party wars, competing with their chilled coulis and comparing their latest culinary gadgets.
But having travelled round the country on a two-month tour last summer, it’s fair to say I have seen my fair share of Sweden.
On the way, I met what I’d hazard to say where archetypal real men too: lumberjacks and gravediggers, reindeer herders and sailors.
Up in the Torne Valley, the northern border of Sweden and Finland, the locals use the derogatory term – knapsu – a patronizing label for men who are in touch with their feminine side.
Generalizing my eight years in Sweden, I have to say the men are not what I’d call macho. But this is a debate that mirrors the capital city v small town discussions and the growing generations of ‘new men’ back in England too.
I say this is not only a Swedish phenomenon, but like many things, it’s an area where the country is leading the way for better or worse.