Saturday, January 10, 2015

Penis, Penis, Penis. Vagina, Vagina, Vagina.

Read that title out loud. With some panache. That’s right, panache. Bold words, I know. But it feels good, doesn’t it?

You don’t need to read this out loud, but let’s try it again: Vagina. Penis. Testicles. Genitals. Most of us have at least one of those things. Some of us have more than one. Some of us have none. This isn’t news. You can find pictures of all of those things online. But now Swedish genitals are making waves online. Surprisingly, if you buy into the sexualized Swede stereotype, it doesn’t involve the search terms “hot Swedish nudes” or “Swedish tits.” Instead it involves children and the words snippa and snopp. Basically, those words are the kid way of saying vagina (actually: vulva and I've updated this to reflect that despite vagina and vulva often being used interchangeably in everyday American English) and penis, respectively.

SVT, the Swedish TV broadcaster, has several different programs designed specifically for children. One, Bacillakuten, teaches children about the body, including body parts. Like penises and vulvas. The show is starting its 2015 season and posted a clip with a catchy little number. That catchy little number reminds us all about the glories that are penises and vulvas. The catchy little number is sung by catchy little animated penises and vulvas. An old lady vulva with a cane even makes an appearance reminding us that even old lady vulvas are elegant.

Chances are, you’ve seen this floating around the internet. Maybe even watched the clip already, or even watched the show. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is:



When I decided to jump on the bandwagon and comment about this video, I thought it would be as easy as heading over to YouTube and grabbing the link. It was not. Unless someone has snuck in and put the childlock on my laptop, YouTube required me to login to watch this one minute video from a Swedish children’s show. You know, because the video could be offensive to my young and innocent eyes and ears. By logging in, I could confirm that I was, in fact, old enough to watch an animated dancing penis and vulva sing a song.

There's so much to be said here. I'll just leave you with the ridiculousness that is
a content warning on a video produced by Barnkanalen.
Having shown the proper ID, I watched the clip. A few times even. I smiled. I nodded. I even sang along a bit. The world did not end. My morals were not immediately compromised. I did not go blind, nor did my palms turn hairy. Wait. That’s masturbation, right? Anyway, I’m going to go out on a limb here as a childless, white, middle class man (because no one ever listens to us): it’s going to be ok. If you don’t want your kids to watch it, don’t watch it. No one is forcing you, or them, to watch the cutest penis and vulva I have ever seen sing a song.

And anyway, there’s plenty of other stuff to watch, which I’m sure will educate, enlighten, and entertain. Like Biss och Kajs, two adults dressed up as pee and poop who have adventures together. Kiss means pee and bajs means poop in Swedish. See what they did there? They switched the first letters? See? Get it? Get it? I know, it's hilarious, isn't it?

Welcome to Sweden. And children’s TV.

Johan Holmström is responsible for this amazing piece of art. And the lyrics are below. I didn’t translate them. You can do that yourself. You’re an adult. Or you at least know how to use the internet.

Snoppen och Snippan
Popi-dopp-pop snippedi snopp!
Här kommer snoppen i full galopp.
Han som inga brallor har
dinglar med snoppen och rumpan bar.
Snippe-dipp-dipp-snippedi-do!
Snippan är häftig, ja det kan du tro.
Till och med på en gammal tant
snippan sitter där så elegant.

Så olika med nästan samma grej
Kissa kiss igenom snoppen eller snippan om man är tjej.

Snoppen och snippan vilket härligt gäng
Snippan och snoppen sjunger vår refräng
Snoppen och snippan finns på vår kropp
Snippe-dipp-dipp-snippedi-snopp!

Popi-dopp-op-snippedi-snopp
Hänger och slänger på en liten kropp
Snippe-dipp-dipp-snippedi-do
Snippan är häftig, Baby I Love You.

6 comments:

  1. I sang it at work (primary school teacher) today. I couldn't help myself - it's so catchy!

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  2. Yes! This makes me way happier than it probably should.

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  3. This is one of those rare things that make me truly proud to be a Swede.

    What's ironic though is that most of the protests seem to come from those conservative omg-we-must-preserve-Swedish-culture Sverigedemokrater. Hey, THIS IS Swedish culture! At its finest! I don't think that any other country have so much könsrock per capita.

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  4. Great little song! So catchy and it's great that they are attempting to talk about genitals like they are normal body parts. However... They have some work to do to get it completely right. I find it amazing that they manage to fit in so many sterotypes in such a short clip that at least on some level is meant to be challenging. The video depicts penises and vulvas as gender binary (attributes like hat and eye lashes) and heteronormative (the heart at the end). The penis is described as active ("full galopp") and the vulva passive ("elegant"). Male is the norm and female is an exception (pee with the penis, or the vulva if you're a girl). The best thing about it is that snippan gets to be "häftig" and that it includes old people.

    And for you: Snippa is the kid version of vulva, not vagina.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, there's the heteronormative stuff and the transphobic stuff, but it's an interesting start to a conversation, especially considering that a lot of the talk is about heteronormativity and things like that, whereas in the US, we don't even see this sort of thing on TV.

      And I know, but vagina and vulva get used pretty interchangeably in the US, which is why I stuck with that word. But you're right, I probably should try to change that in my own vocabulary.

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