Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This is what Swedish women want?

Jonathan Power teaches at a university in Lund, Sweden. After lectures he likes to take his students out for a drink and a chat:

Inevitably, the subject turns to sex and marriage. I'll never forget asking one group what they thought of marriage in a country where most educated young people (and half go to university) don't get married or bear children until they are well over 30. A young woman gave me a thoughtful answer and so I asked her, "What are you looking for in a husband?" Without batting an eye or pausing for thought, she answered: "Three things. One, he must be good in bed. Two, he must be a good father. Three, when we divorce, he mustn't be bitter."

These three answers aren't all that surprising. Sweden has taken the ideal of individual autonomy further than most other countries. The Swedish girl is basically following the state ideology: she is saying that her future husband must follow the rules of autonomy.

The Swedes decided decades ago that the traditional male career role was the privileged autonomous one. Therefore, they set themselves the aim of overthrowing traditional gender roles. Women were to follow a traditional male career path and men were to spend just as much time as women mothering children.

The result was that women no longer needed men as protectors and providers. They would be kept secure by the social welfare state and for the short time they spent at home with their children they would be supported by a paid maternity leave scheme.

But if men are no longer required as protectors and providers then what are they good for? Well, there is still the sex drive to connect men and women. The sex drive by itself doesn't really lead on to marriage (but rather to promiscuous relationships) so it's not surprising to learn that Swedes marry very late if at all.

Nonetheless, sex is still permissible under the rules of autonomy, so it's still there on the Swedish woman's list of what men are good for.

So is fatherhood, but understood the Swedish way. A "good father" means a father who takes over half of the traditional female role. That is why Jonathan Power notes that,

most Swedish men push the pram, do the nappies, get up in the night and help clean the house. Many, too, take at least six months off to look after the baby while the woman goes back to work.

Again, a man who agrees to this is acting in line with the state policy of autonomy, in which gender roles are abolished in favour of a single unisex role.

Finally, for women to be autonomous they have to be able to determine, without impediment, whom they will live with. They must, therefore, be able to freely divorce. If you agree freely to your wife divorcing you, you are acting according to the rules of autonomy. So, again, it makes sense that our Swedish woman should have, as a test of a future husband, the idea that he would divorce without bitterness.

So our young Swedish woman is strongly influenced by state policy, enough to give voice to it spontaneously in her responses. But I very much doubt that this is the end of the story.

Most women are attracted to masculine qualities in a man. When monogamy begins to break down, and women revert even more strongly to hypergamy - to a desire to be with a rare "alpha" male - the emphasis on masculine qualities in a man will be even greater.

So our Swedish woman is likely to want contradictory things. At one level, she wants to follow the system and so insists that her future husband accept an androgynous role. It is most probable, though, that she will be attracted to men who show some kind of masculine drive or strength of principle or who have demonstrated some kind of effectiveness in the world.

It must be a difficult game to play for Swedish men. You would have to genuflect to one ideal, whilst carrying through with another. Presumably it all creates a certain level of confusion and discontent.


  1. If you take the underlying snark out, most of this post makes perfect sense.

    You seem to think the "state" imposed these laws on Swedes, but actually the laws were implemented because that is what the voters in Sweden wanted!

    Are you man enough to change nappies, wash your own family's dishes, care for your own progeny? Sounds to me like your fragile concept of masculinity feels threatened by other people's legitimate choices, when really it's no threat to YOU at all.

    As ever, "conservative" here seems to mean incapable of imagining better alternatives. Grow up.

    Or, if you don't even have kids yet, shut up.

  2. It's what they want, but not what they need. That disconnect can happen in any number of ways, and then rationalized by many paid lackeys. But if you build on sand, the house will fall. Woe to those on whom it falls.

  3. G, I don't at all mind opposing views in the comments. But ad hominem attacks don't contribute much. You're better off directing your emotional energies to honestly examining your own thoughts, to check whether they are reasonable, logically consistent and calmly presented.

    For instance, your first claim is that my post has too much "snark", but then you yourself write a comment which is itself laden with "snark". Where's the sense in that?

    You then attribute an argument to me that I didn't make. Nowhere in the post do I raise the issue of whether Swedes voluntarily accepted the state policy or not. As it happens, I think they have accepted it more compliantly than elsewhere. But this doesn't make it, in an objective sense, a better policy.

    I have heard your third claim before. It's a self-defeating argument. It runs like this:

    a) Masculinity is an oppressive construct that should be abolished.

    b) Men should therefore be more like women

    c) Are you man enough to change?

    Do you get the fault in this argument? It works by making an appeal to the very quality which is being denied.

    G, the difference between myself and the Swedes is that I think there is an important and distinct paternal role. One that differs from the maternal role.

    It's not that men can't change nappies or wash the dishes. But we're operating at a low level if we tell men that they are good fathers as long as they change nappies. This is directing fatherhood to the scoring of a political point rather than to the real needs of children.

    Your next point is to attack conservatives for being incapable of imagining better alternatives.

    But presenting an alternative view to the state policy is exactly what we are doing.

    And obviously I don't think the state policy really is the "better" alternative.

    It denies gender difference; it delays family formation; it leads to low rates of marriage and high rates of divorce; and, if the young woman in my post is anything to go by, it creates a harsher and less hopeful attitude to relationships.

    You finish on a low note by writing "if you don't even have kids yet, shut up".

    It's unwise to pin an argument on a personal circumstance you have no knowledge of. As it happens, I'm happily married with children.

    But why tell someone to shut up anyway?

    It's madly inconsistent. The whole thrust of your early argument was to present the Swedish policy as a voluntary, non-coercive one, defended by open-minded, accepting people.

    And then you finish with such a coercive, intolerant thought.

  4. Who ever heard of a left-liberal "utopia" forcing its views on the people? That could NEVER happen! I am sure you could never find a Swedish man who thinks the whole system is insane, but doesn't bother to say anything about it in public because it's pointless to oppose the overwhelming power of state coercion.

    Oh yes, and let's not forget that "what the voters want" is often the product of state indoctrination and lying propaganda. Who even knows what Swedish men really want? (But who cares, right, since this isn't about what the men want, only the women.)

    Imagining better alternatives... for who, exactly? The policy certainly doesn't seem to be child-friendly, since the Swedes aren't having any - fertility rates are well below replacement.

    G is yet further proof of the total narcissism of women when public policy is considered.

  5. Women have a two-prong sexual instinct.

    Short-term mating that aims at collecting better genes for her offsprings. For this women bang alphas.

    Long-term mating that targets lesser-attractive males for life-long relationships and a favourable environment for child growth.

    Once women have achieved self-sufficiency, and in absence of religion or moral codes(which is the case in the western world), they tend to favour the short-term relationships as that is the one which provides them with thrill and pleasure.

    In the above article, swedish women shack around with alpha's till their beauty fades, and then
    settle down with father type men.

  6. To think that Sweden used to have a reputation for erotic excitement ... I can't imagine any more complete a sexual turn-off than state-enforced androgyny.

  7. One, he must be good in bed. Two, he must be a good father. Three, when we divorce, he mustn't be bitter.

    I wonder if same applies to all the exotic brown Others currently enriching many Swedish women. For some reason, I doubt it.

    No, I think the above rules apply to native men only, who may become everything these women say they want and thoroughly geld themselves only to be brushed aside in favor the more "authentic" and exciting Arab or African.

    And though the likelihood of being raped, beaten and possibly butchered will have drastically increased, she won't mind. The modern liberated woman only objects to be chattel when there's a white man in the role of pater familias.

  8. After the smackdown he got from Mark, I think G is off licking his wounds somewhere.

  9. No surprise here. I get called a "caveman" because I think it's my wife's job to change the babies' diapers and my job to change the oil in the family van.

  10. Bruce,
    Regardless of your wife's stance on changing the diapers, I'd bet she agrees that it's your job to change the oil.

    The only women of whom I've known for a fact that they will change the oil is my two sisters.

  11. So what is the Swedish male who is dissatisfied with being in this predicament, supposed to do to improve his situation? And what options does he actually have (short of giving up)?

  12. Svensson, a fair enough question.

    I'd urge Swedish men to do two things.

    The first is not to give up on Swedish women or on hopes of marital love and family life.

    Swedish women may not come ready made for these things anymore, but there are still things a man can do to push things in the right direction.

    If you're in a relationship, be willing to hold your ground on significant issues. Most women will test a man early in a relationship to see what they can get away with. If you hold your ground you'll end up having an argument but in the longer term you win respect.

    Over time, if you do the masculine things well, a lot of women begin to become more naturally oriented to the feminine. They begin to relax into a more traditionally feminine role. You suddenly find your wife baking things for you or taking delight in young children or finding warmth and security in her domestic life.

    Don't make the mistake of thinking that women are naturally good at relationships and can therefore drive things and keep things afloat. Often it's up to the man to fight stubbornly for the marriage and to try to set things right.

    I expect initially that a Swedish man will require considerable social skills to manage conflicting expectations; he'll also need a lot of determination and perserverance. Compared to earlier times, he'll probably need to be more emotionally ready during the dating period to fail a few times with women - to be willing to move on and try again.

    One specific piece of advice: things are likely to be worst when women are at university. As women move through their twenties, they begin to experience the reality of work and the desire for family grows stronger.

    I'd also urge Swedish men to begin a much longer-term project of challenging the political status quo.

    I know the problems involved here. There can be a risk to jobs and relationships and it can be difficult to find the time and energy.

    Even so, Swedish men ought to be determined that their sons won't go through what they had to go through.

    And initially at least there are forms of political work that don't require that much time or public exposure.

    It's possible, for instance, to do what you have just done: to read and participate at internet sites. It doesn't change things immediately but hopefully it helps to develop your political skills and it contributes to a change in the political culture.

  13. Mr. Richardson,

    I just wanted to say that I appreciate the time you put into actually offering alternatives and suggesting practical steps that can be taken for traditional males.

    I am often reduced to being bitter etc but reading your material does seem to reassure me that despite it all, there is a way out and there is still something that can be done.

    Thank you.

  14. To Mr Richardson's advice, I would add, decide that you *are* a man, and decide what you mean by that, and then refuse to compromise on it.

    Is whatever benefit one can rationally expect from a relationship *really* worth living contrary to what you believe it means to me a man? Is it not better to remain single, even single for one’s entire life, than to feel in one’s heart of hearts that one must live as the moral equivalent of a eunuch for the sake of “peace” in the home? What sort of peace is that? What sort of home is that?

    Also ... to be blunt ... keep it in your pants.

    If a man refuses to have sexual relations (whether because he planned to have such relations or whether he "just accidentally" had them) until the woman is, in fact, his wife, he is far less likely to find himself in a bad marriage due to inertia or his misplaced romanticism or some other typical male weakness.

  15. Well said, Illion.

    And yes, we are men.

  16. Of course,this amasculinity within Swedish society is a very great problem for men, just as the current demasculinization of Western men is in general. But, once you realize, and then acknowleddge you are at war,and to win your prize requires you must fight for her with every bit as much effort as you do your career, or anything else worth having in your life, then I wouldn't advise getting involved with a Swedish woman.

  17. three cheers for Ilion's comment on deciding what it means to be a man, and then standing your ground!! The only trouble is, we just can't, if we sit at home with her, and laugh along with at all the Judas-goat make role-models presented by Hollywood such as the likes of the Ben stillers and their ilk who increasingly undermine the basic diginity of simple manhood.

    I once reccounted to my significant other an insident at one university which shall remain nameless, at which I was attending a rally of sorts, and the subject was about feminism. A obviously strident woman got up to speak, and she began beratting men, and was making all kinds of derogatory statements against all men as a group. I told her I was sitting on the front row directly beneath the raised platform on which she was ranting, and I got up in front of the whole assembly and, with a determined and indignant stride, walked out. She then asked me why I did I do that? My replay was: "because I was a man!" That set the tone for everything that followed in our relationship.

  18. I don't see what the problem is here. If you know what Swedish women want, and you want a Swedish woman, then fulfill that want. If it doesn't make sense to you it is because you have a preconceived notion of "what women should be like". By predefining gender roles, you already put yourself in a position to be disappointed.

    Naturally, when it comes to things like career or taxes or divorce, it must reflect upon the wants of everyone (not just the women). Meaning, in an egalitarian society, women cannot expect men to change the same amount of diapers and yet pay more taxes, or lose child custody in a divorce and yet pay child support to an ex-wife who has equal pay.

  19. I don't live in Sweden but from the sounds of it the Swedish women are becoming dominate in your society.

    I'm certainly not saying us males shouldn't help with the kids or anything of the sort. But this makes me wonder how many women are in your military? I'm willing to bet the male to female ratio is much larger in the male side. I know military service in mandatory there (is it for women too? If not it should be.) So to be fair those who choose to be in the military after the mandatory time should only be counted. I bet the women come up short by a mile.

    Also what the heck is wrong with you if you think divorce is expected? Why would you even marry someone if you expect it to end in divorce? Do Swedish women (or even men) have that little faith in relationships and marriage? Also not to be bitter when it happens!?

    If my wife one day decided to divorce me for no apparent reason or because of some selfish reason I think I would have the right to be bitter. Even more so because she would be splitting our family as we have a child together.

    From this article it sounds like Swedish women are spoiled brats who can just use men for pleasure and tasks that they don't want to do themselves.

    I'm American and sure we have problems but man I do not envy when it comes to this subject. Even though half of our marriages end in divorce at least we tend to believe the marriage has a chance and doesn't simply expect it and then turn around and expect unrealistic lack of emotions.

    I wonder how a Swedish woman would feel is the man decided to get the divorce would she no be bitter? Would she not be bitter when he decides a younger better in bed woman is right for him? When he splits a family apart for his own selfishness. I can't see a Swedish or any woman not being bitter and they should be and so should a man if the woman does the same to him.

  20. Swedish men should grow some balls!

  21. How does a boy "grow balls" when the society in which he grows to manhood (such as it is) is set on castrating him in his mind?

  22. "things are likely to be worst when women are at university. As women move through their twenties, they begin to experience the reality of work and the desire for family grows stronger." - I agree, in fact, don't you think all women should be discouraged from going to university altogether, that way we'll never have this problem in the first place?

  23. Another problem is ambitious Swedish guys(these tend to have more masculinity which is looked down upon in Sweden) leave the country, leaving the unambitious inconsiderate drones. The socialist feninatzi path is clearly unsustainable. I would not be shocked if in a century or so Sweden no longer exist.

  24. I saw this blog very. Bhanu Prasad is a very wise person pointing out the truth.

    I came to Sweden to see how the women are. It seems when the man and woman are made equal and the women are stripped of their feminine roles, those women become like men. They have sex every now and then with any guy, I mean any. The only thing they look in a guy is the outer looks (athletic body) and their standards are not really high. It is generally a bit muscled body that the women desire. This is of course when they are looking for sex which they do until they are 30 or not beautiful any more. Then they look for a man to settle things and marry in order not to be alone. But the thing is this won't work and the Swedish genes will cease to exist by the end of this century.

    Because the logic is very simple:

    If a man can get a woman for sex that easily (nightclubs, bars are full of women who are horny), why should he marry? Most men like to have sex with as many women as possible.

    There are still nice men in the population but there is nearly no nice women any more. So I don't think that nice men will marry a woman who has wasted herself on other men until she became old/ugly, there is no point.

    And for those who don't know: the alpha men can also have a game to show himself as the nice guy for a short duration of time aka till they get the sex they want.

    Last suggestion for men: If you ever think of coming to any European country; know that you should just come for the easy sex, not to find a marriage partner. Don't overvalue those women because they don't deserve it. I don't say you cannot find the right woman, but the odds are very low.