It’s never sunny on my birthday, this dull february day was no different. Which featured clouds as thick as our hangovers. We warmed our souls with coffee amd kanelbullar in a little cosy underground cafe in Gamla Stan. Armed with a fist full of balloons we climbed the path to this lookout, Katerina hissen, round the back of Slussen. I can never tire of this view.
Tag Archives: sweden
The drive from Stockholm to Gothenburg took 4hours and 35mins. Roughly. I was DJ, and also chief animal spotter. I am particularly good at spotting horses since Ive been doing so my entire life, but I was after something more exotic this time. An elk. Although my friend told me, stone face coldly, that the greatest chance I had of seeing an elk was if we hit one with the car. But fear not, for Swedes are taught how to minimise the damage/chance of death should this happen (aim for the back of the animal apparently). Not too reassured we pressed on, past a lake called, I think, Vättern (not lake betty as i had thought for the first few hours of the trip). A massive expanse of choppy water and Swedens largest lake. The trouble with roadtrips in Sweden is that there is not much other than forest and the occasional chocolate box house. A welcoming splash of red in an otherwise monotonous, yet still beautiful (just not from the inside of a car on a motorway) landscape.
So I just read This brilliant article, essentially about a woman (in the picture above) being told to smile by a drunk man, something I think nearly all women can attest to happening on a fairly frequent basis. She was obviously having none of it and posted the above on twitter. *cue horrific twitter trolling* Then I saw this video of some moron repeatedly referring to the female presenter as ‘sweetheart’ because he was to ignorant to articulate his views.
It made me realise how little sexism I’ve encountered in Stockholm. In fact, I can not think of a single time I have been confronted with outright blatant or hostile forms of sexism, I’m talking about the cat calling, the substitution of ‘love’ and ‘sweetheart’ for your name, the substitution of ‘slut or whore’ for when a woman does something unfavourable, the rape jokes.. you know what I mean. In Sweden, men will hold the door open as much as any women will (which isn’t actually that often), don’t expect any special treatment here. Don’t expect men to let you off the bus first. Don’t expect a man to pay for your drinks or dinner. Men don’t think it’s ok to sidle up and put their arm around you uninvited when you’re out. They don’t make reference to the way you look or expect that you know less about something just because you’re a girl. In fact, the only time I encountered this in Stockholm was when an Italian remarked that I probably didnt know much about football “because you’re a girl..” That man quickly got put in his place.
This equality extends to a lot of things, the way women dress is a lot less provocative here, you don’t see knicker skimmers and bare legs in this cold weather like you do in England. The adverts feature a variety of characterful faces and men with muffin tops. In fact, Sweden tops the Gender Equality index making it one of the best places to live as a woman (as a Brit I am quite horrified that from the same statistics we see that more women than men in the UK thought it was the womans job to stay home and play wife).
Of course, this is still a patriarchal society and there are ways to travel yet, sexism still exists in a more subversive and hidden form and talking to female friends the kind of hostile sexism that I haven’t encountered can definitely be found here. Yes, the equality has eroded away chivalry, but you know what, I am fine with that. It’s all about continual baby steps, right love?
This is why in every succeeding remembering moment, the story will likely be revised as the present becomes the past anticipating a certain future that bestows a meaning on the whole.
Sometimes you get given a paper to read for research methods class that is so stale and devoid of colour that no will in the world could allow you to reach the reference section. And then you get Brigitta, the women I wish was my adopted grandmother. A retired childrens nurse who continues academic work “for fun” a bespectacled, grey haired and humorous lady who, due to her extensive experience both in the field and home, seems to knows anyone who is anyone in global health. And Brigitta gives you a paper that makes you cry, one that makes you think and one that makes you question everything.
I think its official, Swedish summer is over. The recurringly beautiful sunsets continue, accented with raindrops and gusts of wind. The days may be bright but the chill is set in the air. Autumn is here and the leaves will turn. The nigh draws its curtains earlier and the morning wakes later with every turn of the earth. Soon it will be Swedish winter, and we will see if I survive.