a political resignation illustrates changing masculinity in sweden

Note:  There is now a scandal attached to the seemingly family-only story below.  So I might be wrong, but I’m sticking with the post because this guy’s family is clearly a huge consideration that it would not be in America.

The subtle change that Daddyland has wrought in Swedish society was evident yesterday when the equivalent to the Secretary of Labor – Sven Otto Littorin – resigned just months before a general election.  Why?  From The Local:

“There are three reasons for this and those reasons are called Emma, Gustavand Arvid. They are my three children, who have had to pay the price of my public office,” a clearly emotional Littorin said.

Now there are all kinds of things going on here with Littorin.  He is in the middle of a nasty and very public custody battle with his ex-wife.  There are suits and countersuits, and I am not saying that Littorin is a model father or anything.

This is also not the norm in Sweden – ministers resigning so close to an election to be with their kids.

OK, all that aside, could you ever see this happening in the United States?  Nope, me neither.  It would not matter how messy the situation, how compromised the children were, how nasty the custody battle got.  It would not matter if he was depressed or if reporters hassled his children.

A cabinet-level official just wouldn’t do this.  When you see someone resign “to spend more time with my family,” you know in the U.S. that is a big ol’ lie.

Not here.  I actually believe that Littorin wants to focus on his family.  After all, he is in no trouble at work.  Sure, there’s an employment crisis, and he is responsible for the labor market, but this is all the more reason for him to stay on, even just for appearances of continuity.

And that’s amazing.  Here he basically sums up family-centered masculinity:

“For me, my children are worth more than my job, my career or anything else,” Sven Otto Littorin said. “I have reached my limit. I am no longer prepared to pay this price – for my children’s sake, for my sake and for my fiancée’s sake.”


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