An On-Air Swedish Meltdown Borne of Quiet Emasculation?

 

Last week, the Swedish radio show “All my friends” featured a popular Swedish comedian by the name of Kristoffer Svensson. Mr Svensson and the four other men headlining the show are a part of the intellectual establishment in Sweden and are employed by the infamous left-wing newspaper Aftonbladet, a publication on the frontlines of the last few year’s fervent identity-politics beat.

The radio show in question is, like many media outlets these days, a show about the people doing it, rather than the world around them, and this week’s installment was no exception. An audibly angered Kristoffer Svensson immediately went on a tirade about a bad book review he had received recently, and while the  rant was par for the course, the message was all the more shocking.

For a good 20 minutes, the popular comedian lashed out against the “female establishment.” He described in gruesome detail how he wants to rape his female employer to death and chop up her genitalia. It is a loud, disgustingly descriptive fantasy of sexual violence and murder, and as it unfolds, the four men sitting next to him either laugh and cheer, or stay silent.

Out of consideration for the Ricochet audience, I have chosen not to use the exact explicit language Mr. Svensson used, but I think you can infer for yourself.

As the episode aired, the scandal erupted and Mr. Svensson lost his job along with his sponsors. But what was missing in the aftermath was an analysis of why, in the most progressive feminist country in the world, five young men belonging to the PC-generation went above and beyond the worst of what they’ve spent their short lives claiming to fight. Personally, I believe the answer lies within the question itself.

Over the last few months I have followed the debate surrounding rape culture and mattress girls and campus assaults, and I am becoming more and more worried about the toll this is taking on the young men and women coming into adulthood in the era of identity politics. I worry not only out of principle, but also for deeply personal reasons. I am raising two boys, and I am raising them to be men, something that is increasingly difficult in a world that keeps telling them that to be a man is to be guilty until proven innocent. I tell my boys that to be a man is to be a protector, a provider, and a leader, and that masculinity is a beautiful thing. But what I see happening in the political debate is not slut-shaming so much as man-shaming, where a predatory scarlet letter is placed on anyone daring not to denounce his sex. And we must ask ourselves: What happens to a boy who grows up to feel shame about his masculinity? How will he view himself and how will he view sex, an expression of manhood and an expression of self?

What I heard on that show, the rage and sexual aggression, is a function or rather a dysfunction of the faulty mould young boys and men are being pushed into. Modern society is constantly slapping them on the wrist, condemning their need to be men and their instinct to follow the tradition of manhood. They are being quite publicly emasculated, and the shame of being constantly inadequate will find an outlet; the anger will take its toll.

It is ironic, but not surprising, that it is a young man of the feminist era who expresses these views and has such a complete and utter meltdown. This is the generation who dances to an anthem called “Born this Way,” yet they are being told, day in and day out, that the way they were born just isn’t cutting it. Men are taught to be less of what they are, and the result is confusing at best and destructive at worst.

As for us, the women, it is equally limiting to be marked as victims from birth, and it is demeaning in every way to assume that I, as a woman, am to side with other women for no other reason than our shared basic anatomy. How is this the feminist view, how is this freedom, how is this progress in any way?

In my teens, I went all-out on feminism, thinking it meant being able to be anything I want. That I, a strong and independent woman, should be able to fulfill my dreams and live the life of my choosing. I was wrong. Because the life I wanted to lead was never right and never good enough for the cause.

The feminism I was trying so hard to belong to told me that I was a victim. Me? I never saw myself as a victim. Ever. Not once did it occur to me that there was something I could not do because of my gender. That is, until feminism told me that I was a slave to the patriarchy and that the men I saw as equals, fathers, brothers, and friends, were always one false move away from being predators. The feminism I saw came with a built-in political ideology, and while chanting that I had to liberate myself and be free, the so-called sisterhood took it upon itself to define what a “good woman” was. A politically conservative, religious prude like me did not make the cut.

To me, that seemed like less of a women’s movement, and more of a political movement, profiting off women. Real political issues were being called women’s issues, thus making them untouchable and unfit for review or critique. Making it so that if I was pro-life, I automatically became anti-women, and suddenly the entire political conversation became infantilized and intellectually dishonest.

In the current debate, I see women slaying other women in the name of feminism, for not fitting into the mold, and for not being “team-players,” thus displaying every patriarchal behavior they themselves are so eager to condemn. And when they are not doing that, they are chastising men for not being women, while simultaneously despising them for conforming to that very idea.

Kristoffer Svensson exploded, and while his public meltdown was horrible, it pointed to something very important. When we create a culture of shame surrounding sexuality and gender, we heighten and magnify the thing we attempt to disperse, and the one we mark as a beast becomes one, at the hands of an unforgiving mob. This is worse than one young man’s rant, this is Backlash, 2.0.

The people participating in modern gender discourse say they want to create equality, but instead I see them forming a hyper-sexualized society where every flirtatious glance is a rape waiting to happen and every compliment is a trigger. The fact that we have two genders (yes, I said it, two) is not what I see as the dominant cultural problem. Instead, I see a generation of men and women standing further from each other than ever before, divided by gender politics, assigning victimhood, and handing out blame. This hurts all of us, men and women alike, and it is perpetuating a dangerous idea that men can never be victims and women can never be perpetrators, and that the roles are cast before the script is even written. This looks nothing like feminism to me, but resembles a dogma like any other, as limiting as it is absolute.

The thing about identity politics is that it is standing in the way of young men and women developing their identities, being seen as individuals rather than symbols of someone else’s idea. I hear cries for freedom, but what these rallies and slogans are doing is streamlining ideas by group, until we reach one audible yet incoherent voice, drowning out what could be an actual conversation.

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  1. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Like.

    • #1
  2. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Annika Hernroth-Rothstein: I hear cries for freedom, but what these rallies and slogans are doing is streamlining ideas by group, until we reach one audible yet incoherent voice, drowning out what could be an actual conversation.

    What a beautifully crafted sentence; if you didn’t painstakingly craft that I’m absurdly jealous. Thanks for the fantastic post.

    • #2
  3. Pony Convertible Inactive
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    Excellent post.

    Based on your picture, your sons should also feel guilty for being white.

    • #3
  4. Pony Convertible Inactive
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    You are right on about the feminist movement being identity politics.  It is the same as the Black Lives Matter Movement.  If you rewrote your post and substituted black for women, and white for men, it would be nearly the same except with different victims.

    In the long run, both movements are pushing us farther apart instead of bringing us closer together.

    In the local paper a columnist wrote that being white, or a man, was like always having money deposited in your bank account that you never asked for and can’t stop.  I posted a comment that pointed out that amount of money someone else has deposited in their account has no affect on how much money I am able to deposit in my account.  A few hours later I saw that my comment had been deleted.

    • #4
  5. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    “Streamlining ideas by group”…reminds me of something Rose Wilder Lane wrote:

    Nobody can plan the actions of even a thousand living persons, separately. Anyone attempting to control millions must divide them into classes, and make a plan applying to these classes. But these classes do not exist. No two persons are alike. No two are in the same circumstances; no two have the same abilities; beyond getting the barest necessities of life, no two have the same desires.Therefore the men who try to enforce, in real life, a planned economy that is their theory, come up against the infinite diversity of human beings. The most slavish multitude of men that was ever called “demos” or “labor” or “capital” or”agriculture” or “the masses,” actually are men; they are not sheep. Naturally, by their human nature, they escape in all directions from regulations applying to non-existent classes. It is necessary to increase the number of men who supervise their actions. Then (for officials are human, too) it is necessary that more men supervise the supervisors.

    Link

    • #5
  6. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Thought-provoking post.

    I’ve been mulling in a background way for years the idea that one of the “root causes” of the violence in Islamism is the degraded view of women and human sexuality that it inculcates in young men.

    There is a deep link between sexual degradation and violence.

    The West’s abandonment of the norm of marriage is a disaster.

    • #6
  7. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    I’d also bet dollars to donuts that this is not unconnected to the spread and mainstreaming of violent pornography.

    • #7
  8. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Thank you so much for this post. The worst thing about feminism is that it is an ideology that does not believe in forgiveness, or in individual responsibility. So, the boys and young men of today are being told that they will never be forgiven for the way that some men treated women 100 or 200 years ago. It is not in women’s interests to be merciless, but feminists are too arrogant to realize that. And we end up with some men, like the ones you describe, who are just as merciless as feminists are. If feminists really cared about women, they would be kind to men, because what goes around really does come around.

    Feminist has too much in common with the five minute hate from 1984; it is repulsive.

    • #8
  9. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    The left constantly hijacks movements and turns legitimate crusades (trigger warning?) into class warfare screeds. They see everything, race, gender, environmentalism, government (limited or unlimited) through their lens of class oppression. They started by hijacking the Colleges and Universities and have expanded from there. They are not for liberty, they seek to remake the world in the image of their own worldview and they will use any vehicle, tell any outlandish lie and destroy any opponent to get their way. They aren’t interested in dialogue because they don’t really have a compelling story to sell so they try to shut down all dissent. We should be laughing at their ridiculous tactics instead of giving in to their deceitful antics by adopting the language and manners they dictate.

    • #9
  10. Benjamin Glaser Inactive
    Benjamin Glaser
    @BenjaminGlaser

    Very well said.

    I have counseled a number of young men over the past 10 years and a common theme among them all was a deep, deep sense that they had no idea how they were to act, what was expected of them, or where they fit into the organism of modern culture. To put it in a crude way they were so hen-pecked by the anti-male values of secular education that in a very real sense they did not know which way was up or down.

    It is almost like God knew what he was doing when He set up the complimentary system of male and female.

    “And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam…But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him...Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” — Genesis 2:18-24

    • #10
  11. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    A little while ago, my three year old nephew was obsessed with firefighters. One day, he looked at us all wide eyed, and said, “Firemen are cool!” He has since moved on to police officers; he dressed up as a police officer for Halloween. With my niece, it was all princess costumes: she did dress up as a doctor once, but I don’t remember her ever fantasizing about running into a burning building to save people. Boys are such wonderful creatures. There is something wrong with people who don’t love them.

    • #11
  12. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    There is also the lionizing of victimization. Lately females at college have been making false claims of rape. (Rolling Stone and Lena Dunham) Whatever this need to make stuff up means, it’s definitely bad.

    • #12
  13. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Pony Convertible:Excellent post.

    Based on your picture, your sons should also feel guilty for being white.

    And for being pretty, which shows that you have bought into the patriarchy’s “Barbie doll” definition of females as an objectified sex stereotypes.  Lena Dunham would be very disappointed.  You won’t see her looking pretty!

    • #13
  14. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    I think the first step is that human sexuality is not egalitarian in any sense of the language.

    There was an article some years ago, called “hardcore” in the Atlantic.  I recommend digging it up on not-your-work-computer.

    • #14
  15. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Guruforhire:I think the first step is that human sexuality is not egalitarian in any sense of the language.

    I think we want egalitarianism in one sense, not in another. We want equality, not sameness.

    Men and women are deeply different, but equals in ontological rank; we are framed for complementary companionship and mutual respect.

    When one sex seeks to dominate and subordinate the other, violence and misery result.

    • #15
  16. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    katievs: When one sex seeks to dominate and subordinate the other, violence and misery result.

    Yes, I agree with this, but Western men are not seeking to dominate and subordinate women, and feminists are doing nothing to help women in the Islamic world who are being dominated and subjugated. Feminists cannot and will not help women who really need help, all they can do is demonize good men. Which only makes everything worse for everyone.

    • #16
  17. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Judithann Campbell:  Thank you so much for this post. The worst thing about feminism is that it is an ideology that does not believe in forgiveness, or in individual responsibility. So, the boys and young men of today are being told that they will never be forgiven for the way that some men treated women 100 or 200 years ago

    In my life, I’ve learned that everyone needs forgiveness, especially men. No one can live a peaceful life in a state of continual cowering. This trait of modern feminism is why it is so hostile and divisive. We need to be loving and kind and forgiving to one another. That will bring out the best traits in men and women.

    • #17
  18. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Judithann Campbell:

    katievs: When one sex seeks to dominate and subordinate the other, violence and misery result.

    Yes, I agree with this, but Western men are not seeking to dominate and subordinate women, and feminists are doing nothing to help women in the Islamic world who are being dominated and subjugated. Feminists cannot and will not help women who really need help, all they can do is demonize good men. Which only makes everything worse for everyone.

    You paint with too broad a brush, imo. Western men are not immune to the temptation to dominate and subordinate women. And to the extent that feminism is a response to that (whether in the east or west), it is valid.

    To the extent that it thinks the answer is for women to dominate men, it is off the rails and deeply damaging.

    There’s an analogy with the civil rights movement. Insofar as it was grounded in the equal dignity of all persons and races, it was good and necessary. It rectified a standing set of wrongs.

    But when those wrongs were answered with Black Power vengeance, it went awry, perpetuating and exacerbating racial tensions.

    • #18
  19. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Men and women are fundamentally different in many ways even conservatives are hesitant to recognize.

    Our old “oppressive” system was based on this recognition.  Were women restricted?  Yes, indeed they were.

    But men were restricted as well.  If mom was “forced” to stay in the kitchen, dad was “forced” to work his tail off to put food on the table.  He was also obliged to provide physical protection for his family, go to war if his country called him, and much else.

    Yet as we’ve “liberated” women from their traditional restrictions, men’s traditional restrictions remain.  “You go girl!” if she wants to be an electrical engineer.  “How pathetic” if he wants to stay home with the kids while his wife works.

    If she’s relatively wealthy, she has the option to be a housewife (despite some feminist criticism).  He theoretically always has the option to defer to her career choices, but let’s face it: even high-status women want high-status men (usually even higher status).

    Freedom doesn’t occur in a vacuum.  Because we’re biologically distinct, what might start out as “equality” plays out as exploitation.  Many men feel exploited, and they’re dropping out of society as a result.  Conservatives just call them “man-children” and try to shame them into compliance.

    It’s not working, and it won’t.

    More here for Ricochet members.

    • #19
  20. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Annika, great post.  FYI, this is nothing new.  I remember the same hyper-feminism on my undergrad campus in 1985-1989.  I recall a headline in the campus newspaper claiming “All Men Are Rapists.”

    I think that we’ve already seen the natural results, concentrated among the cognitive elite: dropping marriage rates, low birthrates, and delay of both marriage and parenthood.  My generation had an extended adolescence compared to our parents, and the younger generation appears to be extending this trend.

    The big problem with this is that, in my experience, marriage and parenthood are things that teach a person to be a “grown up.”  The modern trend is to wait until one is “grown up” before getting married and having kids.  I think that this is a mistake.

    Since baseball is like life, perhaps a baseball analogy will help.  Most people today want to keep practicing in the batting cages until the age of 35.  But you never really learn the game unless you play, and if you spend too long practicing the basics, you’ll be past your prime before you even take the field.

    • #20
  21. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Benjamin Glaser:Very well said.

    I have counseled a number of young men over the past 10 years and a common theme among them all was a deep, deep sense that they had no idea how they were to act, what was expected of them, or where they fit into the organism of modern culture. To put it in a crude way they were so hen-pecked by the anti-male values of secular education that in a very real sense they did not know which way was up or down.

    It is almost like God knew what he was doing when He set up the complimentary system of male and female.

    Men are also told that to get women to want him, he should be caring, sensitive, sweet, a good listener and quality friend.  In short, be as much like her as possible.

    And then he find out this girl he did “everything right” with for months got with some obnoxious drummer in a local band she met that same night behind the stage in some run-down club .  This adds to the confusion you describe.

    Perhaps instead of trying to train boys to be girls we should train them to be quality men instead.  Good men find their place in the world; feminized men rarely do.

    Only those men not “hen-pecked by the anti-male values of secular education” have any hope, yet far too many of these men reject all decent values, too.

    • #21
  22. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    katievs: You paint with too broad a brush, imo. Western men are not immune to the temptation to dominate and subordinate women. And to the extent that feminism is a response to that (whether in the east or west), it is valid. To the extent that it thinks the answer is for women to dominate men, it is off the rails and deeply damaging. There’s an analogy with the civil rights movement. Insofar as it was grounded in the equal dignity of all persons and races, it was good and necessary. It rectified a standing set of wrongs. But when those wrongs were answered with Black Power vengeance, it went awry, perpetuating and exacerbating racial tensions.

    Life was not totally perfect in every way for Western women before feminism, but even in the dark ages-even in Medieval times-life was far better for Western women than it is for most women in Islamic societies today. Whatever problems we have or had at one time, those of us lucky enough to be born in the West are in no way comparable to women who suffer under regimes like the Taliban. You are correct that feminism has gone totally off the rails; as it exists right now, feminism won’t solve anyone’s problems, least of all the problems of women who really are oppressed. It’s easy for Western women to prattle on about how empowered they are, but that kind of empty talk doesn’t help real victims.

    • #22
  23. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Katievs: I am sorry that I didn’t properly indent your comment when I quoted it. I keep forgetting that the formatting doesn’t always stay when we quote, and I don’t have an edit button, for some reason. (am I the only one? Is it my browser?)

    To see what Katievs said and how she said it, I would refer readers to comment 18. Sorry about that :(

    • #23
  24. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    katievs:

    Judithann Campbell:

    katievs: When one sex seeks to dominate and subordinate the other, violence and misery result.

    Yes, I agree with this, but Western men are not seeking to dominate and subordinate women, and feminists are doing nothing to help women in the Islamic world who are being dominated and subjugated. Feminists cannot and will not help women who really need help, all they can do is demonize good men. Which only makes everything worse for everyone.

    You paint with too broad a brush, imo. Western men are not immune to the temptation to dominate and subordinate women. And to the extent that feminism is a response to that (whether in the east or west), it is valid.

    ]Yes, there have been, and will be, abusive men in every era and society.

    However, we’re thrown out the baby with the bathwater.  Because some men exploited women under “patriarchy,” we’ve undercut masculinity as a whole.

    Compare with gun control.  Because some do bad things with guns, the left wants to ban them.  On the right, we understand that banning guns just means that only bad people will have them.

    We’ve engaged in a sort of  “masculinity control.”  We undercut masculine authority and feminize boys.

    Thus (just like with guns), we’re finding that we’ve not enough men to keep the truly abusive bastards under control.

    A barbarian will not be subdued by a sensitivity seminar, and he doesn’t give a damn about being called sexist.

    • #24
  25. No Caesar Thatcher
    No Caesar
    @NoCaesar

    The hand-maidens of the Left uses their control of the commanding heights of Western culture to enforce un-natural political correctness.  Human beings are social creatures, it is amazing what we will do under peer pressure.   But sometimes we snap while walking off the cliff.

    The Western trajectory has lately been towards greater tribalism.  The Left accents what makes us different, rather than what we share.  This is all the better to divide and conquer, as well as fulfill their own religious impulses.  The result: E unum pluribus.

    • #25
  26. barbara lydick Inactive
    barbara lydick
    @barbaralydick

    Martel: Perhaps instead of trying to train boys to be girls we should train them to be quality men instead. Good men find their place in the world; feminized men rarely do.

    You are absolutely correct.  Unfortunately, this training begins in kindergarten and – continues throughout their lives nowadays.  You might enjoy Christina Hoff Sommers’ book, The War Against Boys (2000).  Any signs of masculinity must be destroyed root, branch and stem – and as early as possible.

    (One wonders if the widespread use of Ritalin to treat little boys for being little boys… )

    • #26
  27. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    barbara lydick:

    Martel: Perhaps instead of trying to train boys to be girls we should train them to be quality men instead. Good men find their place in the world; feminized men rarely do.

    You are absolutely correct. Unfortunately, this training begins in kindergarten and – continues throughout their lives nowadays. You might enjoy Christina Hoff Sommers’ book, The War Against Boys (2000). Any signs of masculinity must be destroyed root, branch and stem – and as early as possible.

    (One wonders if the widespread use of Ritalin to treat little boys for being little boys… )

    I haven’t read the book, but I’m familiar with lots of her articles and videos.

    The upshot is that as we tell boys that masculinity is bad, only the “good” boys listen.  They want to do the right thing, and the right thing we define as feminine.

    The little barbarians don’t pay any attention to the socialization and grow up to be monsters.

    Thus, modern men are either wimps or barbarians.  And there aren’t enough good men to keep the barbarians in line.

    Only good men can defeat bad men, but we’re ensuring we don’t have any.

    • #27
  28. grumpyoldwoman Inactive
    grumpyoldwoman
    @grumpyoldwoman

    Excellent post.

    • #28
  29. Terry Mott Member
    Terry Mott
    @TerryMott

    katievs:When one sex seeks to dominate and subordinate the other, violence and misery result.

    No offense, but I’m inclined to reject the entire premise of this statement.  Not the part about violence and misery, but the implication that men have traditionally sought to dominate women.

    Back when America had a more “traditional” relationship between the sexes, it wasn’t men who policed the behavior of young women, it was other women — their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, the matriarchs of the church, etc.  Once women as a group decided they wanted to be “liberated”, presto change-o, it was done.  Suddenly, young women were being told by older women that they should want a career, and so they did; that they should be promiscuous, and so they were.

    Men had little effect on the issue one way or the other.  Sure, there were a few laws needing changing by men in government, but that was just paperwork.

    I suspect that the enforcement of traditional behavior on young women under Sharia is likewise performed primarily by older women.

    The roles of the sexes is a matter of culture, and women play a huge role in establishing and policing cultural norms.  They always have and always will, regardless of what “official” pronouncements are made by men in visible positions of power.  Politics follows culture, after all.

    To frame the issue simply as men subordinating women is not only false, but it plays into the divide-and-conquer strategy of the left.

    • #29
  30. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    @ Terry Mott (I don’t have much space for comments.)

    Very good points.  Also, the plight of abused women in past eras has been exaggerated by history, whereas those women who were happy we’ll never hear about it.  Not only were happy women less likely to leave a paper trail (diaries or books about their hellish enslavement), academia and the rest of our culture have almost no incentive to seek out any such narratives.  However, an abused woman in 1843 they’ll cite as proof of the entire rotten system.

    “To frame the issue simply as men subordinating women is not only false, but it plays into the divide-and-conquer strategy of the left.”

    Correct.  Traditional family structure wasn’t a question of anybody “subjugating” anybody else; it’s simply what made the most sense.  BOTH men and women were restricted by their roles, but sending women out to kill the wolves made no sense.  There was also more wisdom involved than simply division of labor, but that opens a can of worms.

    Also true about women policing each other and controlling most cultural norms.  Arizona Patriot in #20 remarked on how marriage is being delayed.  This is because women now want to focus on a career and “find themselves” before that restrictive marriage stuff.  Marriage used to be the cornerstone of adulthood, now it’s the capstone.

    It’s female behavior that instigated the change.

    • #30
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