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Dancing Genitals on Swedish Children’s Channel

A few weeks ago a new season of the Swedish Children’s Program ‘Bacillakuten’ launched. And what better way to hype the start off their body theme than a catchy music video …Of a galloping penis and an elegant vagina (literally translated). So obviously geared at 3-6 year olds that YouTube immediately censored the content as ‘adult only’. A restriction Swedish National TV later badgered them into removing.

As a long-term expat in Sweden I’m not sure my reaction to this video can be labelled ‘typical British’! I have three children, a 7 year old at primary school and a 4, and soon to be 2 year old both part-time at Swedish nursery. As such, there was a time a year or so ago that Miss 3 was as likely to count and announce the number of vaginas and penises around the table, as she was to state the number of girls and boys.

We’re currently in-between phases. Miss 4 has stopped with the almost compulsory matter of fact phrases

”He’s a boy, he has a penis

…She’s a girl, she has a vagina”

And I guess it will be at least another six months before we’re hearing it from Mr 1.

So no, they haven’t seen the music video. I’m more than happy to enjoy the temporary change of subject 😉

 

Until a little while ago I had naively presumed that Swedes had always had ‘neutral’ terms for sexual organs. After all, what list of the ten most defining characteristics of the Swedish culture wouldn’t include a liberal and free attitude to nudity …Sex, and by default, sexual organs, of course!

It would seem I was wrong.

The Swedes have had the same issues finding a common, familiar, unoffending term for the female sex organ as is still the case in English.

So what do you do about it?

Launch a competition! …Or a few competitions; first, RFSU (Swedish National Organization for Sexual Information) in 1992, then the state owned Pharmacy in 1995. Both resulting in different winning terms (snäppa, and smula – incase you’re interested). But it took the whole of the 1990’s to finally see todays term ‘snippa’ headlining an evening newspaper.

The term finally found its way into the dictionary in 2006, after a rocketing career at the beginning of the 21st century. And in 2007 word spellcheck stopped trying to auto-correct it.

And we’ve come such a long way! Today across Sweden, children, parents and nursery staff alike are humming in unison to:

Here comes the galloping penis.
And the vagina is cool, believe me,
even on an old lady
it sits there so elegantly

So different but nearly the same thing
they both pee pee. 

 

Please note, if you’re at work, you’re reaction – whatever it might be – is likely to disturb your colleagues. You may want to step outside.

Dancing genitals anyone? 

The article is in Swedish, but if you’d like to know more about the origin of the term ‘snippa’, click the link to check out this post from Språktidningen.

And if you love the music video so much you’d like to colour in the genitals, you can do that at Bacillakutens homepage, here.

 

What do you think about it? Enlightening or over the top?

…Would you like to sing along with your children whilst riding the bus?

 

Linking up this post with #BrillianBlogPosts, #PoCoLo & #FamilyFriday

 

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14 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness! I just woke Wriggly up with my giggling. I thing the dancing genitalia on a tune of ‘snip snip bop bop’ is an absolute winner! I might show it to the kids tomorrow just to see how they take it.

  2. Hilarious but I kinda like what it stands for, naturalising our genitals. I taught my kids the words, ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ from a young age so they don’t feel any shame or awkwardness really. I might have to show them this film too! Made me chuckle! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

    • It’s enlightening to see how different cultures address these issues isn’t it 🙂
      I think it’s one of those things you need to step back from and take a moment to consider before just ruling a judgement on it. There’s certainly a take-home message… Whilst for a non-Swede still missing the risk of it becoming the new favorite meal time nursery rhyme 😉
      …Did you show the boys? What did they think?

  3. After watching the video once I just had to call my daughter, whose 15, over to watch it…So cute!.. I think it’s a wonderful way of introducing children to the human body. I have found that here in Greece it is more common to make children feel that uncomfortable about their genitals.

    Teaching children from a young age that genitals are natural and everyone has them, prevents them from being uncomfortable about their bodies when they are older.

    #PoCoLo

    • That’s the other side of it isn’t it… Just making kids feel embarrassed and awkward – what do they honestly hope to achieve from that… Fear management!

  4. What an interesting way of making genitals and their names accepted. I am not sure if they would be so happy about it over here – although I have explained penis and vagina to Grace already. But she doesn’t really use them. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

    • No, I’m not sure how people would react either! …Though it received a split reception here too 🙂

      …Let’s be honest though, there have been some pretty ‘bad’ children’s shows in UK!

  5. Fascinating! How well engrained is this attitude in Swedish society? Would your kids’ grandparents hum along to the tune, tut, or just leave the room? #pocolo

    • Such a good question!
      I’ve yet to see a grandparent humming along, but they certainly wouldn’t leave the room. I’d say the grandparents I’ve seen in action seem pretty amused by the whole thing.
      Great grandparents however …I’m not sure I’d suggest showing them the video. I might have to do that, just to confirm how true my presumptuous ideas are! 😉

  6. I think it is enlightened – it is all about learning about the body and I always think that the sooner you start being able to talk about these things/differences the better as it creates an open and honest narrative where as they grow and change they know they can have their questions answered.

    • Haha! I should have expected that question would come 🙂
      I’ve been more than happy using the Swedish word, which I guess removes all issues for me & what’s the best in English. I read an awesome blog post on this topic a while ago – can’t for the life of me remember where(!) but the writer gave a great argument for why we should call it vulva when we’re talking with our kids (and despite NEVER having heard that word before!!) I bought the whole thing 🙂 …So when I remember, I say vulva …Every now and again when I forget I slip back into saying ‘pee pee’ – which I truly do believe is a REDICULOUS term!! 🙁

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