April 17, 2012

Elsewhere on the making-childhood-even-more-confusing-and-painful front, Stockholm’s Egalia preschool has instituted an elaborate and highly controversial plan to ensure gender neutrality in children’s education. This involves everything from discouraging kiddies from playing with gender-specific toys such as plastic guns and Barbie dolls to removing “€œCinderella”€ and other traditional-subtext fairy tales from the bookshelves (to be replaced by trendier materials on gay couples and single parents). It even involves forbidding the kiddies from addressing each other with gender-specific pronouns:

Instead they refer to them as “friends,” by their first names, or as “hen””€”a genderless pronoun borrowed from Finnish.

(Ingrid Bergman, Ingmar Bergman”€”what’s the diff? Here we go again with the whole “€œeverybody is my friend”€ shtick. Being buddies with the entire planet is a neurotic obsession with these progressive types.)

The project’s harebrained utopianism might sound ridiculous”€”equal parts Zamyatin and The Three Stooges. But the notoriously glum Swedes seem to be eating it up. The state-funded preschool boasts a long waiting list for admission requests, presumably from middle-class parents who can”€™t wait to show off their impeccable progressive credentials by boasting of how they allowed the state to start mind-fucking their children practically from the get-go.

Speaking in defense of the Swedish education system’s valiant battle against reality, Egalia director Lotta Rajalin”€”whose flaxen hair and pert nose suggest she still shamefully embraces stereotypical social constructs regarding Swedes”€™ appearance”€”denies that the school is doing any harm to children’s developmental psychology. She says that Stockholm’s budding young Max von Sydows and Liv Ullmans are well aware of their biological gender but are being indoctrinated into thinking less conventionally about social roles.

Think about it. A gender-neutral race of blonde-haired, blue-eyed, high-cheekboned, joyless automatons listening to an endless loop of ABBA songs while manufacturing difficult-to-assemble furniture. It’s either a dystopian sci-fi nightmare scenario or the recipe for the future master race. It’s possibly both.

As the more linguistically astute among you may have already guessed, “€œEgalia”€ is the Swedish word for “€œequality.”€

What’s the Swedish word for “€œdelusional”€?



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