Saturday, November 30, 2013

In Sweden boys play with fluffy go walkies

Sweden has bought into autonomy theory in a big way. According to this theory, the aim of life is to maximise individual autonomy, i.e. the ability to self-determine who we are. Therefore whatever is predetermined rather than self-determined is a prison or straitjacket that impedes our freedom to be whoever we want to be. Our sex is something that is predetermined. Therefore, think the liberal autonomists, it must be made not to matter.

And so in Sweden it is now thought wrong to show boys playing with traditionally boy toys and girls with girl toys. Which means you get advertising catalogues like the one below, showing a boy playing with a toy called "Fluffy go walkies".

A Swedish toy catalogue

Does it matter if Sweden tries to abolish sex distinctions? Yes and no. Sex distinctions are so deeply embedded into us, that they will continue in some form regardless of the policy of the Swedish authorities. They can never be made not to matter.

It is odd, though, for Sweden to journey down this road. In a heterosexual culture, there ought to be a celebration of sex distinctions rather than a statist effort to suppress these differences. It can also be disappointing (and disorienting) to young men and women in their late teens and twenties to find the opposite sex not fully embracing their masculinity or femininity. It takes away some of the context in which young people orient themselves to committed relationships. And, finally, we tend to be most settled in ourselves when we have a deeper sense of our own masculinity and femininity. So it makes little sense to blur gender lines when we consider what is important to individual identity.


  1. Amusing that the dolls display gender characteristics and preferences, just not the

  2. Lots of guys I know keep cherished keepsakes from their childhood. I wonder if any guys are going to keep pink, fluffy keepsakes into adulthood.

  3. My son would be so utterly indifferent to that fluffy doggy toy that it would be a waste of time buying it for him. In fact he would correctly regard such a gift as deliberately insulting.

    Also, the boy in that ad doesn't look Swedish to me. Arabic or negroid? Either way, it is especially hard to imagine an immigrant kid playing with a girly stuffed toy.