In my research today I stubbled across a website that had me hypnotised for at least an hour…
You know what the internet is like. Google has the power to take your mind from important questions like, “Brexit trade talks information,” or “2nd EU referendum possibilites,” to “How do they make spoons?” in a blink of an eye.
I have been looking into how to begin a process of emigrating to Sweden. What do I need? How can I get an English speaking job? The costs of living? When suddenly I am faced with a site questioning the decisions of feminists with the country.
I’ll be honest, while feminism in my world is a tiny subject… (we don’t have a lot of them here,) this particular site made me look twice.
Firstly, who is Mr Gårman? And why do I need to know about him?
Well, it actually begins with a lovely piece of Swedish wordplay.
The street signs at pedestrian crossings is blue and white, and features a man crossing the street.
The sign in Swedish is “Här går man,” which literally translates as “Here One Walks.” But, this is the fun part… The Swedes have inserted a little pun. And have turned it into a cute thing. They have used the soundalike words, “Herr Gårman,” literally “Mr Walkman.”
Haha. I hear you chortle over your lunch. Exactly. Great isn’t it.
It makes it easy for kids to remember, and it even was used in a song. (The Swedish equivalent of the Green Cross Code Man – Thank you Darth Vader!)
I’m a little unsure of the tune… but here are the lyrics…
Mr Gårman! Mr Gårman! On the white lines get. Here but not there toot toot! Here but not there toot toot! Mr Gårman!Mr Gårman! On the white lines you get! On the white lines you get! Here, Mr Gårman!
But wait here comes the feminists….
Mr…. Mr…. Mr…..? What about Mrs?
It seems that the feminists have better ideas…. Mrs Gårman. And here she is….
Here’s a quote from the Hairy Swede….
“Obviously, numerous people have reacted to this in the newspapers and on TV. One reaction that I really appreciated was a woman who brought up the educational use of Herr Gårman. The play on words being important. The argument being that the signs are really targeted more towards children, and the play on words becomes a strong pedagogical tool. Easy to remember, easy to identify, easy to figure out that this is where you walk. I love it. Well said unknown Swedish woman.
The image itself of Herr Gårman is your standard silhouette of a person. Aside from a somewhat broad chest the figure looks pretty gender neutral really. Just a person walking. No discernible hair, no discernible penis, no discernible breasts. Basic person figure. But the Fru Gårman will most likely have a skirt. Because all women wear skirts. Which brings up all sorts of strange sexist questions in and of itself. But no matter.”
Check out their website at http://welcometosweden.blogspot.co.uk/
Anyway… It’s a funny little piece of Sweden. Liberal, health conscious, clean living country that it is.