“My personal approach to gender equality is that as long as you don’t make it an issue, it won’t become an issue.”
JOHANNES ON RAISING TWO SONS (4, 2)
Dual gender world
My personal understanding of the word feminism is different from how my wife defines that word. It may also have different interpretations from different parts of the culture as well. My personal point of view is that I don’t consider myself living in a feminist world but a dual gender world. To me it’s all about equality between genders. My wife doesn’t agree with my dislike of the word feminism. If she should describe me to you, she would say that I’m a feminist. I wouldn’t use that word myself.
In Scandinavian and Northern Europe, we’ve reached the furthest in gender equality. We still have the case where women are still earning less in a number of jobs and professions. That is absolutely not acceptable to me. Important decisions in business and politics. Change happens gradually. We’re moving in the right direction. In a lot of areas, we’ve reached the equality mark. For instance, our prime ministers have been a female several times. Our ministry of foreign affairs is a female. Our minister of economics is female. The most important political positions at the moment are filled by females.
Macho guys wear pink
[Feminism] is not really an issue, at least for me, for our family. There was an instance where my four-year-old did not want a pink toothbrush. We bought some bamboo toothbrushes and they came in pink and yellow. He was very strict about not wanting the pink. So he got yellow and his little brother got the pink one. Other kids in school have told him that pink is a girly color. I think my wife talked to him about the color thing and the fact that one hundred years ago, pink was a masculine color so all the macho guys would wear pink. So after that, he wanted pink things and got annoyed if his little brother got the pink straw and not him. To me though, that’s not an issue I worry about. Their preferences for blue or pink, I couldn’t care less.
Leave it alone
I know a lot of friends have been actively pushing dolls on their boys for instance. We haven’t encouraged nor restricted it. They haven’t shown any interest or wished for it. I think the best way to reach equality, when it’s not an obvious issue, is to leave it alone. There isn’t any reason why you should disrespect girls or boys. If no one ever tells you that there is a reason you should disrespect them, you won’t. My oldest son, he says quite often that he gets better along with the girls than the boys. He has both male and female friends. My personal approach to gender equality is that as long as you don’t make it an issue, it won’t become an issue. We have some heritage issues that we have to fix such as position in the home, salaries, but once you’re at a point where there isn’t a problem, then you will just cause a problem if you focus on it. Personally, I haven’t been so conscious about it because it’s not what I experience in my everyday life.
Fairy tales and culture
In some feminist campaigns that I’ve seen, they’ve over-exaggerated the issue. There’s a video where classic fairy tales stories are shown where the main characters are swapped with different genders. The point being that you would never read these to your kids if the genders were swapped. This is bad. From my perspective, this is nonsense. I love these fairytales. Some of the fairytales become much cooler when you swap the genders, I would never in my life have chosen to not read these stories. It’s just a perspective. At the same time, it’s screwing up our heritage. These stories are part of our culture, and the perspective of gender was different back then. That’s also something that kids need to learn.
When the kids grow up, I hope they grow up in a world that this isn’t a topic anymore. That must be their ultimate goal. That it’s not something where women, or men, feel the need to put an effort towards it. There are so many other important topics that we should put our efforts into. This issue should be a default.