Wednesday, June 13, 2007

No love lost in Stockholm

Even in feminist Sweden the metrosexual male is ridiculed. This is what Kathleen Harman, a mother living in Stockholm, has to say about "poncy pappas" - the well-coiffed fathers on "pappaledighet" (paternal leave):

It's hard enough in this town trying to be a Yummy Mummy without having to contend with the emergence of a new and direct threat to our status ... Our arch rivals are none other than the Poncy Pappas and make no mistake, they are taking over the joint ...

When I first arrived in Stockholm, just over three years ago, there were two distinct and acceptable types of dads on pappaledighet. The first was the emasculated, gimpy, wimpy type and the second was the bored and sulking type who spent his days at the park reading the paper whilst his offspring ate the contents of the sandpit.

... Suddenly, Stockholm in summertime has been overrun by over buffed, designer clad metrosexual daddies. They sit in our favourite cafes for hours and hours, just chatting aimlessly with each other and into their little black Prada phones ...

Anyway, in an effort not to be outdone by these foolish usurpers, I booked myself into the Centralbadet for a day of advanced maintenance ... I noticed with smug satisfaction that we had beaten the Poncy Pappas to the sun loungers.

Top on my list was the deluxe pedicure ... Whilst I wouldn't put it past those fathers to start painting their nails and wearing wedge heels, I just wanted to make sure that I got there first ...


Yes, it's written humorously. Is there not, though, in these lines also some female (as opposed to feminist) social commentary?

8 comments:

  1. MARK SAID:
    “Is there not, though, in these lines also some female (as opposed to feminist) social commentary?”


    In today’s culture (in my view), almost all women are feminists because they allow feminism to speak for them, and enforce social-political rules without so much as an objection. In fact they are largely smug about it because it affords them all manner of short-term concessions.

    Yes they don’t like the term ‘feminist’ – because its an unappealing label to put on a woman (especially if she’s looking for a mate), but the fact that she believes that a housewife is a ‘slave’, and that women’s fulfillment should be directed toward ‘career’ will tell you something about ‘what’ she is.

    In this article, Kathleen Harman’s concerns and irritations towards the metrosexual male moving into her coveted female territory is perfectly understandable – though somewhat naïve & selfish considering the feminist lack of concern when moving into ‘male’ territory. (Read: Jobs, Politics, etc).

    Every reaction has an equal & opposite reaction.

    What do feminists expect? If masculinity is so gelded & feminized in today’s world, there still has to be somewhere for males to release some of their lives. Men are told (through media & society) that the only manner in which they will be tolerated (or respected) is in a female-centric manner. When males ‘do as they’re told’ – the women still aren’t happy?

    For sanity’s sake, It’s enough to make a man move to another planet.

    Bobby.N

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bobby, you've covered some territory I had thought of commenting on myself.

    It's a psychologically conflicted situation for men. On the one hand, there is a social ideal which tells men that traditional masculinity oppresses women and that they must abandon it in the name of social justice and gender equality.

    But then there is a private reality in which men will inevitably be scorned by women for not living up to certain aspects of traditional masculinity.

    It's a situation which tests men's social skills (a man has to know when it's permissible to openly express masculinity; when he is supposed to be masculine whilst advocating something else; when he must repress masculinity and bide his time etc).

    It's not a situation which is likely to foster male integrity or create an impressively masculine culture.

    The better option for men is to decisively abandon the feminist ideal and replace it with something that allows them to live less conflicted lives.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Re: "The better option for men is to decisively abandon the feminist ideal and replace it with something that allows them to live less conflicted lives. "

    Mark,

    The thing is, when ones does this, and considering Bobby N's claim that "almost all women are feminists", abandoning the behavioural expectations feminism will render men far less likely to find benevolent female companionship these days.

    I find myself eternally self-censoring and avoiding subjects/topics, just so I can "be" with a woman without the air of conflict.

    The end result is that not only do I find female companionship frequently uncomfortable, but there are times where I actually start to feel resentment against them; it seems their constant claims of "misogyny" are finally coming true.

    It further seems like men these days, and I speak entirely from my own experience, bend over backwards all the time to avoid conflict with women, for the sake of interpersonal cohesion.

    This is not emotionally or mentally healthy. I hate the feeling of discomfort that is caused by the politicisation of male-female relationships.

    I'll be honest, short of becoming gay (LOL!), I really don't know what the hell to do most of the time...

    ReplyDelete
  4. KILROY SAYS:
    “I find myself eternally self-censoring and avoiding subjects/topics, just so I can "be" with a woman without the air of conflict.”


    This is a common thread among most men. The accepted societal notion is that either one agrees with the pillars of feminism, or one most likely doesn’t have female companionship. Even politely pointing out that you have a ‘respectfully’ different point of view gets one often labeled a (as Kilroy mentioned) - a misogynist. It’s basically ‘bludgeoning’ someone down with a fear of being ostracized.

    Fear that women seem to underscore with - “We’ll put you out of our favor if you disagree with out point of view”.

    The safe notion today (more or less) seems to be “Agree with whatever women say, or have no heterosexual relationship with them.”

    KILROY SAYS:
    “I'll be honest, short of becoming gay (LOL!), I really don't know what the hell to do most of the time.”


    In all seriousness, I sometimes wonder whether the increasing prevalence of male homosexuality today has more to do with an easier relationship archetype, than it has with anything else. Leaving aside factors of ones ‘actual’ sexuality – I find it interesting that conservative heterosexuals like Kilroy (and myself) – would even joke about choosing homosexuality over a relationship with today’s feminist.

    It puts the desirability of women today in serious question when one can joke (even half-heartedly) about notions that would make one sick to engage in – but at the same time seem a lot more ‘natural’ than the current opposite of my own gender.

    I share Kilroy’s concern.

    Bobby.N

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anyway, in an effort not to be outdone by these foolish usurpers, I booked myself into the Centralbadet for a day of advanced maintenance ... I noticed with smug satisfaction that we had beaten the Poncy Pappas to the sun loungers.

    Who the hell has time to do this if they're looking after children?????!

    I realise this is humour, but a trip to a beauty parlour doesn't fit with any model of parenting that I know of. Unless the kids are shoved into daycare, I suppose...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Precisely Lyl.

    I think it’s fostered from the modern ‘have it all’ mentality that people ‘feel’ they’re somehow ‘owed’. Just like the feminists that cannot tolerate ‘men-only’ clubs (and have to abolish them) – so too we find this mentality pervasive in almost any part of our society.

    If it exists, they want it.

    Whether or not it fits in with their lifestyle, interests or reality is irrelevant. It’s a culture that must ‘consume’.

    When I hear comments like;

    “…I noticed with smug satisfaction that we had beaten the Poncy Pappas to the sun loungers.

    It just reinforces my belief that feminists aren’t after equality at all. Time & time again, it seems to be about nothing but ‘one-upmanship’.

    Sorry – one-personmanship.

    Bobby.N

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry, again...

    That should be 'on-uppersonship'.

    (You can see how i might start to botch up the English language with such politically-correct translations).

    Bobby.N

    ReplyDelete
  8. @LYL you'd be surprised at how much non-parenting goes on in Sweden. I'm not a parent myself but I always see Swedes with their strollers (get out of their way!) and they seem to be the least bit bothered by life or the kid.

    ReplyDelete

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