Why MeToo is making waves in Sweden

While the MeToo campaign against sexualised violence is losing steam in other countries, in Sweden its impact is increasing. First female artists and journalists joined the protest movement, then citizens from all walks of life followed suit. Rightly so, Swedish media write, because in this country where even the prime minister calls himself a feminist, too many people are still looking the other way.

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Aftonbladet (SE) /

Shocking lack of awareness

Many people, and men in particular, still fail to grasp what the MeToo campaign is all about, Aftonbladet writes:

“On Wednesday there was once again an appeal and 1,700 people, from young schoolchildren to school personnel, recounted their experiences of of harassment and bullying. Many said they had turned to teachers and headmasters for help. 'Boys will be boys, you should take it as a compliment,' they were told. Grown-ups are disappointing. And that's the root of the problem that led to MeToo in the first place. There are offences that must be investigated and punished. But this is also about something else, namely men's lack of respect for other people's personal boundaries. It's about the inability to understand that touching their female colleague's thighs or making comments about her breasts are elements of a system in which bodies are appraised, consumed and made subservient.”

Svenska Dagbladet (SE) /

Uprising against the culture of silence

The fact that many reports of attacks and harassment have until now been accepted in silence undermines Sweden's image as a moral authority, Svenska Dagbladet writes:

“During the MeToo campaign a phenomena came to light which is not purely Swedish, but which one often encounters in our culture: an interesting coexistence between public truths and lies. Of course Sweden as a moral authority can congratulate itself on having its first feminist government and on its world-famous equal opportunities, at least when it compares itself with any of the other countries that haven't come this far yet. Sweden's self-image is fantastic. But now we see what it's based on: a culture of silence, avoiding conflict and hypocrisy.”