07:01 GMT +318 July 2019
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    Ribersborgs Kallbadhus

    Men Gawking at Naked Ladies Ruins Swedish 'Queer Day'

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    A feminist LGBT initiative of introducing a "Queer Day" at a Malmö bathhouse, allowing visitors themselves to choose between men's or women's locker rooms hasn't quite attained the sought-after effect. Instead, it has resulted in an influx of men staring at naked women's bodies, a backlash the initiators have attributed to "patriarchy."

    Diversity lecturer Jeanette Larsson claimed that the open doors to women's locker rooms at Ribergsborg bathhouse, a novelty introduced after a motion by the feminist politicians Hanna Thomé of the Left Party and Linda Hiltmann of the Feminist Initiative, have resulted in an "invasion" of men who came for the sole purpose of ogling women who otherwise enjoy privacy.

    "They were everywhere, in the showers, in the restrooms, in the locker rooms and on the bathing bridges. The place was teeming with men, and not by transgender ones judging by what I could see. The whole thing felt incredibly unpleasant. I did not know what it looked like on the men's side, though," Jeanette Larsson described her visit to the daily newspaper Aftonbladet.

    Larsson claimed that she and her fellow women felt "objectified." She also said some of the female guests chose to leave the bathhouse because of the rubbernecking.

    READ MORE: Sweden Mulls Easing Legal Gender Change to Reclaim Status as Leading LGBT Nation

    "There were some genuine transgender people, but the men began to ogle and mock them," Larsson said.

    According to her, "Queer Day" clearly hadn't served its purpose and should be renamed "Mixed Day." "It should be noted that heterosexual men are also free to come and gawk," she ventured. Another idea, she suggested, may be creating a special "queer" section that is open all year round and not just 12 days a year.

    In any case, she argued, a risk assessment should have been done before the introduction of this measure.

    "Everyone should understand that there will be an open market for those who are only interested in staring at women's bodies," Larsson said.

    Another visitor argued that "strikingly many" women chose to wear towels or sarongs, unlike ordinary days when they go around "stark naked." The visitor also argued that the women's section used to be a "shelter from men who have unsound views."

    Municipal councilor Hanna Thomé, one of the initiators, argued that the problem was an expression of the patriarchal world.

    "The wrong group will be punished if we shut down because of some men who cannot control themselves. I personally met very happy transgender people who were previously unable to visit the bathhouse at all," Hanna Thomé told the daily newspaper Sydsvenskan.

    Jonas Rincon Dahlberg of the company Hekajo, which runs the bathhouse, said the reactions on social media have been positive. Nevertheless, the company was reported to be reviewing its routines to keep unwelcome eyes out.

    The bathhouse previously touted the measure as specifically aimed at members of the LGBT community, above all non-binary and transgender people, who, it claimed, had been denied the opportunity of visiting its premises because of the strict gender division.


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    queer, feminism, women, LGBT, Scandinavia, Sweden
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