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Sweden's State Curriculum Forces Preschoolers to Act Like the Opposite Gender

Sweden is on a mission to eliminate gender. It begins as early as preschool. According to the state curriculum, “stereotyped gender roles” are a “limitation” that children must be freed from. The New York Times reports that Swedish preschools urge their teachers and principals to “embrace their role as social engineers, requiring them to ‘counteract traditional gender roles and gender patterns.’” If Sweden does its job right, its children will grow into adults who lump gender in with unicorns, fairies, monsters, and the bogeyman. The only problem is, unlike unicorns, gender really does exist.

Sweden’s gender-neutral indoctrination began in 1996 when a man named Ingemar Gens, an “equality opportunity expert” for his district, began to implement curriculum targeted at preschoolers. As The New York Times reports, Gens was “not an educator but a journalist who dabbled in anthropology and gender theory.” His program separated boys from girls and coached them “in traits associated with the other gender.” What did this look like? Well, “boys massaged each other’s feet. Girls were led in barefoot walks in the snow, and told to throw open the window and scream.” So, you know, just regular boy and girl stuff.

These days, boys and girls aren’t separated, but the curriculum is specifically focused on “muting differences.” In one school, the boys are put in charge of the play kitchen while the girls are taught to scream “No!” as loudly as possible. This, understandably, has led to some concerned parents. But the school is adamant. “This is what we do here, and we are not going to stop it,” said Izabell Sandberg, a teacher at the school. According to a Swedish columnist named Tanja Bergkvist, people won’t speak out against these practices because they “don’t want to be regarded as against equality.”

To us — well, to some of us — the lengths Sweden is going to to stamp out gender seem extreme. Abusive even. But surely this kind of indoctrination program follows logically from the adoption of the philosophy that gender is nothing more than a social construct, and that the construct is harmful. If boys who behave like boys are “toxic” and girls who behave like girls are “victims,” then trying to nip these behaviors in the bud as early as possible seems like a logical plan of action.

But gender isn’t a social construct. As studies have shown, boys and girls are inherently different — programmed genetically with differing interests, needs, and drives. Instead of trying to return children to their natural state, Sweden is forcing them to deviate from it.

Sweden’s program teaches children that the natural inclinations of their sex are deviant and wrong. It forces them to play in ways that don’t come naturally to them, interact with others in ways that feel uncomfortable, and second guess their own choices at every turn. A much better approach would be to allow children to follow their natural inclinations. If a boy ended up in the play kitchen, no problem. If a girl ended up organizing a soccer game, fine. But if, as is actually the case, these instances would be the exception, not the rule, then adults could rest assured that the children were growing and learning in the ways that suited them best.