Music festivals for women only?

After several music festivals in Scandinavia there has been a significant increase in the number of reports of sexual assaults. As a result the Bråvalla festival in the Swedish city of Norrköping has been cancelled. Now there are plans to organise a festival where men aren't allowed access. Sweden's commentators are furious.

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Expressen (SE) /

Gender separation not a solution

The southern Swedish municipality of Falkenberg has expressed its interest in hosting a "man-free" festival. Expressen disapproves:

“The idea that women need 'protection zones' to be safe from attacks is encountered in politically extreme milieux - among hip left-wing feminists and moral apostles in migrant suburbs. ... Of course, politicians can say whatever they like. Nevertheless it's inappropriate for a municipality to espouse such views. That doesn't mean the authorities should adopt a neutral attitude to the harassment of women. On the contrary, they must do more so that women can feel safe in public spaces. But separating the sexes can't be a solution.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

No to state-financed discrimination

Dagens Nyheter also believes the municipality will alienate the general population with this move:

“It's one thing for a private entity to organize a music festival where men are banned, but it's a different matter entirely when a municipality like Falkenberg does it. The former is private; the latter is public - and financed by the inhabitants of the municipality. You can move into a women's commune or ban men from entering your living room; you can organize a festival and invite whomever you like. But at festivals financed by taxpayers the principle of equality applies - gender-based discrimination has no place here.”

Nordschleswiger (DK) /

Women are not fair game

Women are increasingly perceived as prey, Der Nordschleswiger writes:

“The daily paper Politiken has published an extensive series on this year's Roskilde festival, detailing the suffering of many women. This is mandatory reading for men who think they can do whatever they please and view women who attend festivals as fair game. And not only women at festivals. ... Unfortunately it's a social problem. Some men still lack any sense of decency, and overstep not only moral boundaries but also criminal laws 'just for kicks'. There is only one answer: press charges. Anyone who can't understand that 'no' means 'no' and doesn't respect women deserves to be taught a lesson.”

Berlingske (DK) /

Of weak women and brutal men

The current media debate reflects outdated views of women and men, Berlingske contends:

“Once again we hear reports of poor, defenceless women and brutal, abusive men. This is an obsolete and distorted gender concept that we should have put behind us in the 1950s: the young woman is frail, weak and has a timid sexuality that must be protected by society - because she can't do it on her own. The young man is powerful, brutal and egoistic, and has an uncontrollable sexuality that society must help him keep in check - because he can't do it on his own. This perspective is wrong, constricting and patronising to both sexes.”