I hereby nominate Gudrun Schyman as the president of Daddyland.
Yes, a woman.
Now Schyman seems to be a polarizing figure in Sweden (allegations of tax fraud will do that), and I want her as the president of Daddyland, not as the prime minister of the whole country. But I met her once in a coffee shop, and she seemed very nice, and she has a goofy flair in the media that I appreciate in Sweden (Read her blog here). I also find it hard to argue with one single point of the Feminist Initiative platform, and wanted to highlight the feminist thing, because that is the hidden truth behind all these guys here getting religion on the baby front.
The feminists pushed them into it. Swedish men were not clamoring for paternity leave. Many took it happily, it seems. But there was no male groundswell, even if male politicians finalized the rule changes that made widespread paternity leave a reality.
This is also the unspoken pretext behind all the American daddy blogs I’ve started reading – the guys hide it well behind cool demeanors and snappy attitudes, but they would never – in a million years – be writing a daddy blog without the feminist movement. I mean, if women can prove they can hold their own in “male” society, then why can’t men nurture, take care of a toddler?
Regardless of how it happened, in Sweden, this bit of social engineering has proved a success, at least to judge by the nine guys I saw at open preschool this afternoon – from the buffed bald guy with the soul patch to the overweight man with greasy hair in a stained golf shirt.
Both their kids looked just fine, by the way.
Anyway, this “feminist” transition in child care has made for a smoother ride here than in the U.S. Here, guys get to enter Daddyland in small chunks, get their feet wet, and then get back to work. In America, you get laid off and then, bam!, you go from workaholic to stay at home dad.
I also wrote a little about feminism recently at The Faster Times.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go campaign for Gudrun …