A Masculinity Problem in the "Gender Equal" Nation of Sweden
Sweden earned the title as the first “gender equal nation” and “feminist state” because of its commitment to the European Union (EU) initiatives that called for gender mainstreaming, meaning that the consideration of gender equality must come to the forefront of all policy making decisions. From there, the idea of gender equality quickly worked its way into Sweden’s national identity. While this may seem like a positive thing, masculinity and its corresponding values erode at the potential for truly gender equal and feminist reforms. Through the use of studies of masculinity done in Sweden, historical accounts of Sweden’s participation in gender mainstreaming, and feminist critiques of Sweden’s governmental system, I argue that Sweden’s political parties employ problematic masculinities under the guise of gender equal policy-making. I also argue that impermeable borders of the masculine construct contribute to the formation of nationalism and ultimately to the Othering of immigrants, or those who have not yet adopted a Sweden-centric view of culture and gender equality. I hope to problematize Sweden’s so-called progress by calling attention to the lack of intersectionality and finally offer a potential remedy to the aforementioned issues.