the secret weapon behind swedish paternity leave

I found it.  I found the key to the secrets of Daddyland, the reason that Swedish men are so “child-centered,” so comfortable pushing the stroller, taking on a new role without losing their sense of masculinity.

It was this Swedish government ad from the 1970s.


The awesomeness of this photo of Swedish wrestler  weight lifter Hoa-Hoa Dahlgren can not be underestimated.  I thank a friend for sending me the link to this post at Speaking of Faith with it.

I wrote about all this a while back, of the massive Swedish propaganda machine that has been telling men for going on forty years now that they should be intimately involved in raising their kids.

But I had no idea of the primal power of the photos, the immediate impact it has on my most deeply-held beliefs.


(photo: Reio Rüster)


2 thoughts on “the secret weapon behind swedish paternity leave

  1. I just love that picture, Hoa-Hoa is a funny guy. He was a weight-lifter though, not a wrestler.

  2. The cover of your book? HA, ha…

    Here is one for you…

    “So how do they explain your anguish? I ask.

    “They just think that Americans are a little too complicated about everything.”

    One hates to invoke Scandinavia in stories about child-rearing, but it can’t be an accident that the one superbly designed study that said, unambiguously, that having kids makes you happier was done with Danish subjects. The researcher, Hans-Peter Kohler, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, says he originally studied this question because he was intrigued by the declining fertility rates in Europe. One of the things he noticed is that countries with stronger welfare systems produce more children—and happier parents.

    Of course, this should not be a surprise. If you are no longer fretting about spending too little time with your children after they’re born (because you have a year of paid maternity leave), if you’re no longer anxious about finding affordable child care once you go back to work (because the state subsidizes it), if you’re no longer wondering how to pay for your children’s education and health care (because they’re free)—well, it stands to reason that your own mental health would improve. When Kahneman and his colleagues did another version of his survey of working women, this time comparing those in Columbus, Ohio, to those in Rennes, France, the French sample enjoyed child care a good deal more than its American counterpart. “We’ve put all this energy into being perfect parents,” says Judith Warner, author of Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety, “instead of political change that would make family life better.” “

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