We have a tiger infestation. In the apartment, in the parks, tigers lurk everywhere. Occasionally they are nice tigers who come for tea. Occasionally they are toddler tigers who chase Daddy back and forth for a really, really, really long time.
But more often they are climbing over walls, hiding in bushes … in other words, they are scary tigers.
We have learned how to put our hand out and say, “Stop, tiger!” We have been reassured that Daddy will not let any tiger hurt any child.
Then last night, a protector arrived on the ceiling to chase away the tiger – Pippi Longstocking.
We have not read the Pippi Longstocking books – they are too advanced still – but NK gets songs at daycare and a really bad modern cartoon version in her brief morning TV watching.
And Pippi is in the Swedish DNA anyway.
E said jokingly this morning that Sweden is such a gender-equal place because of Pippi, and then we took it a little more seriously, and I think she is right.
Girls here have a superhero from the beginning, not a cute Dora the Explorer either – no, they have a tough talking, robber beating, mischievous, solitary role model. And while Swedish society still puts girls in their cutesy, be quiet, good girl place, maybe Pippi gives them just enough space to take more space and more space.
I love it, because Swedish society puts everyone – boys and girls – in their place every day. Pippi does not really fit, at least in the Sweden I see, though I am sure she comes out of Scandinavian folk traditions and the Swedish soul as much as anything. After all, all the Nordic countries are all the most equal in the world.
Whatever. I am just glad we have someone to protect us from the tigers.
They are everywhere!