In Sweden, the cross walk signs have a character known throughout Sweden as Herr Gårman or Mr. Walkman. If said out loud it can be pronounced as Här Går Man. Literally, Here One Walks. It’s a cute little play on words. Personally, I love it. It’s a little creative, kind of fun, and very easy to remember.
But now the feminists are at it again. It looks like a Fru Gårman, Mrs. Walkman, will be gracing the cross walk signs also by October of this year. The reasoning is simple when you think about it. Women also walk in traffic. Seriously, that was one of the reasons given for this change. Well no shit. But they seem to have been managing alright so far. As far as I know there hasn't been a large number of women who have been run over in traffic compared to men. But in the name of equality, Fru Gårman will soon be with us.
Obviously, numerous people have reacted to this in the newspapers and on TV. One reaction that I really appreciated was a woman who brought up the educational use of Herr Gårman. The play on words being important. The argument being that the signs are really targeted more towards children, and the play on words becomes a strong pedagogical tool. Easy to remember, easy to identify, easy to figure out that this is where you walk. I love it. Well said unknown Swedish woman.
The image itself of Herr Gårman is your standard silhouette of a person. Aside from a somewhat broad chest the figure looks pretty gender neutral really. Just a person walking. No discernible hair, no discernible penis, no discernible breasts. Basic person figure. But the Fru Gårman will most likely have a skirt. Because all women wear skirts. Which brings up all sorts of strange sexist questions in and of itself. But no matter.
I’m just appalled that this is seen as progress. Is this really what equality is about? Making sure that a road sign is changed? Really? Work on something that matters. Because the gender of a black silhouette on a crosswalk sign can’t be what those women who fought for the right to vote were really worried about.
Then again, I’m not a feminist. Or a woman. So what do I know.
But either way, I’d like to say Welcome to Sweden. Where feminists have managed to emasculate even a road sign.