In the wake of a massive influx of mostly-Islamic newcomers, Sweden, which often ranks among the world's top places in terms of human development and education, recently had the dubious honor of becoming known for a wave of sexual assaults that plagued its summer festivals. Channeling a tendency in the press to attribute the behavior to her fellow Swedes, comedian Emma Knyckare proposed arranging a girl-only festival where no men would be allowed.
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly for a nation that sees itself as a champion of equality, this idea gathered momentum after receiving positive responses and appears to be on the move with a crowd-funding campaign and media attention.Kickstarter. With 20 days to go, the project has gathered over the half of the target goal of 500,000 SEK (roughly $63,000).
So far, no exact date or place has been decided, but Knyckare confirmed to Swedish national broadcaster SVT that the two-day "man-free" Statement Festival will be arranged in the summer of 2018.
"We call the festival 'guy-free.' We welcome women, transgender and non-binaries. We have made this choice simply because we think that transsexuals and non-binaries need a free haven as they know what it means to be exposed to hatred and threats," Emma Knyckare told SVT, venturing that the goal is to gather at least 10,000 visitors.
Because gender-based discrimination is not permitted in Sweden, the upcoming Statement Festival may be perceived as an attempt to circumvent the so-called equal treatment principle.
1000 backare, som donerat mellan 20 och 85 000(!) kronor var, har tillsammans gjort att vi passerat 250 000 insamlade kronor. Det är oerhört stort — TACK! ❤ Nu ska vi göra detta återigen — vi måste få in ytterligare 250 000 kronor för att vi ska kunna starta arbetet med festivalen på riktigt. Artisters gage ska förhandlas, lokaler ska hyras, merch ska köpas osv. Så be alla du känner att hjälpa till! Har du en tjuga över så vet du var den gör skillnad. Eller har du kanske till och med 85 000 kronor som du vill göra ett fett statement med? Evig kärlek utlovas. Länk till vår Kickstarter i bion.
"Well, we can arrange it as a private party or make it happen through a society that guys already have in men's clubs. Or we'll simply carry on and take the consequences of it," Emma Knyckare said.Twitter in July in response to reported sexual offences at the Bråvalla festival in Norrköping, which is one of Sweden's largest. Despite meeting severe criticism in the press for oversimplification and "portraying all men as rapists," Knyckare admittedly received "thousands" of positive responses and decided to go on with her project. Regardless of the fact that the very notion of a gender-segregated festival is not a universally popular one, Knyckare defended the idea as necessary.
"All men are not rapists, but almost all rapes are carried out by men. We want to create a free space, a cool festival where women can be without feeling worried. A festival is not the solution, but a reaction to the problem," Knyckare said, as quoted by the news outlet The Local. Incidentally, she argued that the idea of the festival is the exact opposite of the one critics saw. "The goal with the festival is that there shouldn't be a need for separatist events," Knyckare explained.
The Swedish authorities, meanwhile, which have long denied any connection whatsoever between the influx of migrants and the unparalleled surge of sexual attacks, seem to have implicitly admitted to the problem by releasing a "sex guidebook" for teaching immigrants the basic rules of consensual sex.
However, the idea of gender-based segregation seems to have caught on in third wave feminist Sweden. Last week, gender-separate dog playgrounds were proposed in Stockholm as a "safe haven" for female dogs by Carola Kastman, who is the proud owner of Coco.
"I want to urge the politicians to act quickly. Such injustice cannot stand," Carola Kastman explained to the local news portal Stockholm Direkt.
According to Hans Rosenberg at the Swedish Kennel Club, there are no separate playgrounds for dogs in heat anywhere in Sweden, and he did not see any problem with it either.