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Anna Anka conjures bygone era of Bad Girls and Mad Men

Jeanne Rudbeck · 13 Oct 2009, 15:44

Published: 13 Oct 2009 15:44 GMT+02:00

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The glitterati and literati got all wee-wee'd up this autumn over a Swedish Hollywood Housewife with an irresistible name. Anna Anka caused a hullabaloo by suggesting that being a housewife might be a worthy goal for Swedish women.

The gasps of horror echoed from the corridors of think tanks to the editorial offices of daily papers. "She praises Islamist ideals," lamented the Social Democratic Women's Federation. But she had her fans, too. One pundit wrote that the best formula for a happy marriage is a working husband with a genuine housewife

When I first arrived in Stockholm and had not yet found work, Swedish women would ask me if I intended to be a "lyxhustru" (luxury housewife). The hostility in their tone was easy to detect.

"They're just jealous," sniffed Ms. Anka, at the reaction she provoked by extolling the virtues of being a trophy wife rather than a feminist soldier in the workforce.

As for Swedish men, Anna advised them to stop whining about their feelings and whip out their wallets: they “do not hesitate to insult a woman by allowing her to search for money while he is calculating his part of the bill. American men know how to woo a woman. They are very romantic and buy expensive gifts.”.

At times, Anna sounds straight out of a mid-last-century primer for would-be femmes fatales. Helen Gurley Brown, who made Cosmopolitan magazine a phenomenal success, advised in “Sex and the Single Girl” that men should pay for their pleasures with presents and women should—not to put too fine a point on it—know how to “use” them.

Long disparaged by feminists, Brown is now considered a pioneer of the women’s movement. A new biography ”Bad Girls Go Everywhere,” by a professor of gender and women’s studies, praises her as a pivotal pre-feminist icon.

So is Anna Anka a blast from the past? Or the harbinger of a revisionist trend. Has she tapped into an unexpressed disenchantment with what she calls “all that equality nonsense?”

There are indications that women are suffering buyers' remorse for believing the Alva Myrdals and Simone de Beauvoirs who promised freedom from domestic prison and self-actualization in the workplace. A male boss with delusions of competence is more oppressive than a chauvinistic husband.

Fallen sisters have already started an opt-out revolution. An astonishing number of American women with advanced degrees have elected to drop their careers to stay home, bake cookies, join book clubs and let hubbie bring home the bacon. They do not see “Honey, did you pick up my dry cleaning” as the equivalent of domestic abuse.

Careers did not make these women as happy as they expected. They discovered the working world is what men have always considered it to be: a necessary routine, a duty, an unfulfilling bore. Swedish men who figured this out quite enjoy slacking on paternity leave—preferably during the summer months or the world cup in soccer.

At times it seems there is a mass media conspiracy to put the bitch back in the kitch, complete with frilly apron. The hit TV series Mad Men, set in the early 1960s, is an elegant study in traditional sex roles. Advertising executive Don Draper goes to his Madison Avenue office, where he competes, makes deals, back stabs and gets his back stabbed in return. Only frequent nips from the whisky bottle on the desk and a pitcher of martinis or two at lunch get the chain-smoking ad men through the day.

Mad men might burn out emotionally, but since this was long before the Oprah tell-everything confessional need to share anxieties and doubts, Dan Draper does not spill his feelings all over the dinner table. His manly manjaw is firm at all times.

His wife rules their house in the suburbs, plays tennis, rides, has coffee with the other wives. On the surface compliant and submissive, she treats her husband like an ATM machine and has a fling or two on the side.

What do women want?

Story continues below…

The “cleavage feminism” of Anna?

Or the grim feminism of Alva.

I know what I don’t want: either/or

I want to choose my choice.

Jeanne Rudbeck (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:08 October 13, 2009 by calebian22
Anna Anka is an insult to Sweden and the US.
18:41 October 13, 2009 by rise
calebian22, what would you expect from someone called Anka (english's Duck (kvack, kvack, kvack). ;-)
18:59 October 13, 2009 by Taxlady
Getting away from the emotional reactions to Anna Anka and turning to a more factual explanation.

A new scientific report from 2 economistss who study happiness has been released on working women, equality and happiness,


This report is based on extensive international data sets and states, in an academic manner, that the index of female happiness has significantly declined in western industrialized societies. The greater the level of "equality" the greater the decline in women's subjective perception of happiness. Perhaps Anna Anka is partly correct.It is men who have reaped the greatest benifits from female equality,not women. And why? Because they are happier by all measures and on an international basis.
19:44 October 13, 2009 by spy
What is the Swedish fixation with calculating to the cent their proportion of the restaurant bill? I seems so non-u. I would rather pick up the entire bill than endure this cringe-worthy practice.
20:41 October 13, 2009 by Lisaann
I think she is great. Love the show. There is nothing wrong with her life, she inspires happiness and true family values. I wish the her well, and congratulate her for trying.
23:20 October 13, 2009 by craicen
The Femicommies in Sweden are a disgrace to women everywhere. I don't know who Anna Anka is.

And the Swedish men are a disgrace to men everywhere.

But keep on building your Utopia Sweden. You are almost there. Progress is just around the corner. If you just demonize male nature and insult female nature a little more you just might make it. Maybe a few witch burnings, but these witches will be male, wizard burnings maybe.

Family relations in the country are a joke and would be funny if it wasn't for all the real people who suffer from Swedish delusions.
00:55 October 14, 2009 by RoyceD
I think it is obvious that The Duck woman speaks from her "I've never actually done a days work in my life" point of view. While she might be right for her and people who think like her, the realities are that not all families can afford to have a stay home mum and a working dad. Plain and simple.
03:02 October 14, 2009 by DaTraveler
She is a MORON but everyone is entitled to their opinion. Her remarks only make the news cause it's such a "un-natural" comment to say in Sweden.

what I'd like to know is the number of housewives in Sweden? And do many Swedish women just simply care to work until they are married or with child? My ex is Swedish/Dane and her no1 desire in life is to have kids and working is not her strongpoint. But she also likes to cook and clean, but she doesnt think of that as a negative and although I did because I'd imagine no Swedish or Nordic woman would ever have such thoughts, but she is entitled to her beliefs.
03:27 October 14, 2009 by Canada_Girl
As a strong, assertive woman, even I must admit that the pro-feminist stance taken on by many of those I know (and respect) is inherently flawed.

Equal rights SHOULD mean the right to make an independent choice that suits one's needs; but far too often, equal rights means make the choice that society deems is correct. There is little room for those who want to be a homemaker or not participate in the rat race - be they male or female. These individuals are vilified for this choice, which goes against the basic precepts of equal rights. Feminism, at times, is too rigid and, in its desire to promote female choice, limits the choices of males - and that isn't equal.

Just my two cents.
05:18 October 14, 2009 by Greg in Canada
She's a gold digger that latched on to a sugar daddy who is thirty years older than herself. She'll never work a day in her life because she doesn't have to and will be happy for as long as Anka keeps her in furs and shoes. She's hardly a representative of a typical Swedish woman.
06:36 October 14, 2009 by DaTraveler
@Greg, but what is a typical Swedish woman? What is a typical American or Canadian or British or even Congolese women?

According to stats and polls Swedish women are among the most equal in regard to men in the world yet they still report much too many instances of sexism in daily life or the workplace, so why is that occuring? Women in Sweden get tons of maternity leave, thus in a sense pushing them to raise the baby.

but my overall question is what do Swedish women think and do they think feminism might have had its flaws?
09:26 October 14, 2009 by Mellers
Da Traveler

You say that "women in Sweden gets tons of maternity leave", the correct statement here would be that the parents get tons of paternity leave that they can share equally!
09:59 October 14, 2009 by peropaco
Ann is large
09:59 October 14, 2009 by karex
Canada-Girl: right on!

RoyceD: I think you may have a point here too.

Taxlady: Statistics, surveys poles and studies can be used to say just about anything you want to say, if you manipulate the results the right way and only publish what you want to show.

I have no doubt that women MAY be less happy now. That doesn't mean they were happy to begin with.

The whole issue is people being able to choose to do what makes them happy. The Duck lady sins in the same way many feminists and "macho men", religious fanatics or any other class of arrogant people sin: basically displaying the attitude that "I'm right and everyone else is wrong".

Bottom line: when a person (regardless of gender) is forced to make decisions based on what is acceptable by the majority and not on what they really want, there is no escape from being unhappy. No one is wrong, everyone is right, so long as people apply their convictions to themselves and allow everyone else to be themselves in return. Live and let live. That's the secret to being happy.
12:39 October 14, 2009 by Skallywag
Right on both to Canada Girl and Karex.
12:57 October 14, 2009 by Bölö
Anna is gr8, assertive and out spoken. She is right and her view is most practical for happy life. Every women in the world should follow her advice.
16:03 October 14, 2009 by coswede
I'd hit it.
17:47 October 14, 2009 by Thompsuleme
ha! it all depends on how you want to se the coin.Anyways I think she was too extreme in her criticism.It sickens me to see a group of men in Kafes with the babies all the time in the weekdays all time.I also feel that men too should take time and assist wife. If she wants she can work.To be career woman is the fmily choice.But the guys shouldnt be much of what I see around here in sweden it sickens me.
00:55 October 15, 2009 by Gwrhyr
I really liked the ending to this article. What so many people forget about when discussing gender issues and feminism and equality is that it is not about telling women what to do. It's about making sure all women have the right to live the way they wish to, to make their own choices, to not be boxed into or pressured into one type of life just because of gender-roles.

It isn't about telling women what to do, it's about ensuring that they have choices in society.
03:57 October 15, 2009 by cheribob54
She doesn't appear to be very well educated. She doesn't articulate her thoughts very well. And to be truthful, I'm disappointed in Paul Anka for not marrying someone more age appropriate.
22:17 October 15, 2009 by soultraveler3
Good comment Gwrhyr-

Equality / feminism should mean the freedom for men and women to choose what they want to do with their lives and not be judged for it.

If a woman wants to have a career, good for her. If she makes the choice to a husfru that should also be ok. That goes for men as well. If a couple wants children and the wife makes more money, it makes sense for the father to stay home, if they want to raise their children full-time.

It should be based on fairness.

If both the man and woman work full-time, household chores, cooking and child rearing should be split 50/50. That's usually not the case though. Most of the time it still ends up being the mom doing most of that stuff even if she also works full-time.

When thats the case it makes sense that wives aren't always as into sex as their husbands. If they both work full-time and after work she cooks, cleans and entertains the kids while he drinks a beer and plays on the computer, no wonder she's not in the mood between being exhausted and feeling resentful. I will say that swede guys in general tend to be better about helping than most. :)

I also think that if a man or woman chooses to stay home, that should be considered their job, by them and their spouse.

If you stay home to watch the kids you should interact with them, not just park them in front of the tv. Play, read stories, go to the park, museums etc. When staying home part of the job should also include taking care of the house. Making sure the house looks nice and preparing meals for whoever is working and bringing in money, be it the husband or the wife.

Women like Anka shouldn't act like they're fowarding the cause of women when they have nannies watching the kids, maids cleaning and chefs cooking for them.

What she's teaching young girls is that only looks and money matter. It doesn't matter if you're being used and disrespected as long as someone pays you for it. She's sad.

To me real feminism is about educating and respecting yourself. Knowing that you are capeable of surviving on your own and being able to decide what you want to do with your life.

She is a disgrace to women everywhere.
14:56 October 16, 2009 by spy
One of the great ironies of life is that it's usually the warm girls, not the cold ones, who get the fur coats.
17:00 October 16, 2009 by Uncle
Sitting and moaning about men who do not do enough at home is easy. From what I see around myself is that most of women do not bother to get into the "men stuff". Cleaning pipes under the sink? Fixing a car? Hanging a lamp? Building a porch? Updating the computer with new antivirus? Changing the roof? There is always Bob, Sven, Jörgen, Ivan... Of course there are exceptions, but even they know that they are exceptional and therefore bang about their "tomboyness" non-stop.

Besides, I think that everything is decided by the free market. A woman is a super-duper feminist, wants to fix her Mustang GT and to pee standing? No problemo - freedom! Do whatever you want! Who is telling you not to do it? Of course then there is a limited amount of guys who want to hang with that woman... They would rather to keep her as a drinking/hockey buddy instead. The same is valid for a guy. Want to hang around with some make-up and cry whenever you see a wonderful sunset? BE MY GUEST! What is the problem? Freedom... Not many women would see him as a reliable father though, but as a cute fiend who probably does not impose a threat as other women do.

And I would not think that feminism can cause women to see this guy in a different light even in 1000 years.
17:55 October 16, 2009 by diegoveggie
real freedom is about making a choice. and she chooses to stay home. i don't see what the big deal is. some things in sweden are not talked about, cos everybody gets jumpy if somebody offers a different point of view. freedom from the home can only be cancelled out with freedom from the office.
14:17 October 17, 2009 by Carl
To the person that asked how many housewifes there are in Sweden, the answer is: hardly any. In Sweden the taxes are so high that to live on a single income is only possible for people who inherited big money, or for the upper echelon of high earners. Plus, as the article points out, as a housewife in Sweden you are more or less spat upon socially - there's no lower social rank in Sweden than housewife, and there aren't enough of them to form a book club, and yet all this media attention - bizarre.

In the US a man's tax rate is halved if he marries someone who doesn't work. So over there you can make a lot of money and still pay very little tax if your wife doesn't work, which partly explains why so many americans choose that option.
14:22 October 17, 2009 by nrc71
I personally don't think she speaks for any woman I know, especially not Swedish women, as technically, she isn't Swedish.

Beyond that, I think she is a complete idiot as are the rest of the "cast" of the "show".
14:27 October 17, 2009 by Carl
Oh yeah, and the reason that "wives aren't always as into sex as their husbands" is pretty simple - men have more testosterone than women. Of course there are other factors (for both men and women), but the reason there is a significant difference between sexual desire of the average male and the average female is quite simply the difference in their testosterone levels.
14:38 October 17, 2009 by stuscotland
She is a prostitute end of story no question about it!
14:42 October 17, 2009 by trinaican
If Anna Anka were prime minister of Sweden:

Girls would be sent to schools to learn the basics of reading and writing with special emphasis on adding, subtracting and dividing. They would learn to accurately guess how much money is in a stack by its weight.

To be called a 'woman' one would have had to pass with no less than a B grade (European standard B grade) on general esthetics, the art of throwing up, social class etiquette, how to talk down to the help, how to fill one's days when one has absolutely nothing to do.

Women will have to attend gym class for 3 hours everyday...or face punishment..which could be scrubbing one's own toilet, actually doing a full day's office work or...if you were really bad..being forced to go the whole day without makeup.
01:47 October 18, 2009 by rise
"And the Swedish men are a disgrace to men everywhere."

@ craicen

I guess that makes you far superior than millions of Swedish men. Wow, what a super-human you must be. I truly envy you since I happen to be a Swedish man. Why don't you learn all of us millions of people how to be such a divine man? Please I'm begging you on my bare knees since I cannot believe that you're just prejudiced and full of preconceptions!? Xenophobia, so to speak.
15:19 October 19, 2009 by craicen
@ Rise

The Swedish male as a species died out with the Vikings. Don't worry though you are quickly being replaced anyway and your women rarely even want you, unless she needs someone to clean up after her, change her baby's nappy, push the pram, buy the groceries, well all the thinks that Swedish women no longer do.

Your conquerors will not be the pushovers you are.

Wake up or die out. It is up to you.
19:06 October 19, 2009 by rise
@ craicen

Vikings? Well, at least Sweden have a history. But I am still waiting for your divine prescription of how to be a man. Even though I know I probably won't get any, but only more ignorance and hatred from your side.

What does a country look like that's feeding real men? Is it a country where you could survive with only the man's income, does it have to be a country always at war with another (like the US always are)... or what is your definition?

If the masculinity is based on warfare then Sweden really should qualify since we have been constantly at war for over 800 years (it's only the last 200 that have been calm) - mostly with the Danes and Russians. But also with Poland, Germany, even Britain, Holland, Austria and who haven't we been at war with.

If that made Swedes, "men", you're an uncivilised ape who there isn't any use spending time on.
22:15 October 19, 2009 by SwedishRice
I've noticed in the past 20 years here in the States that the younger women have become less educated, articulate in their communication, and obnoxiously rude and violent when they do not get their way. They do not act like ladie's at all and I would presume that few of them even know what a true lady is.
12:47 October 20, 2009 by spy

I don't want to point out the blindingly obvious but you might prefer a Swedish forum. . .

. . . A happy place where everyone has the same point of view (that just happens to be in line with government policy) and a place where you can discuss with your comrades how your manly qualities don't actually contradict being down-trodden by your wives and overall a place where you can rejoice that you live in the best country in the world.
13:03 October 20, 2009 by craicen

Simply get some balls and act like a real man. It's not dificult to not let your women boss you around and demasculate you. Be your true nature as a man, not some downtrodden wussy.
21:19 October 23, 2009 by rise

So you don't want me here since I'm not joining in in the disillusioned points of view of the Swedish "man"? You want to feel better than the average Swedish man without, a more balanced, interference?

You're quite welcome; feel free to feel ten, no hundred, times better than me and all the rest of the millions of Swedish men. I worship you. Amen.

I'm just wondering if you know many Swedish men since you seem to be an expert in how they are and behaves? And why do you keep spending time with those individuals if they're only sissies - cause you need to have someone around you that can make you feel superior. If that is the case, do you suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder, perhaps?

You give the answer, I'm only asking questions, mind you, and not judging anyone (like you are doing).


Just as I thought - you're an undeveloped cave-man. Who haven't even understood that all of the time I've tried to make a fool out of you. Oh well, I'm leaving you alone now with your holy superiority.
11:16 October 24, 2009 by spy

For all I know you could be logging on from a mental institution, so I don't want to be too mean to you.
23:54 October 24, 2009 by rise
@ spy

A mental institution? Hehehe, you'll never know will you? =)

This is BS, let us drop this childish game.
20:47 October 25, 2009 by craicen

If you act like a man you might get a rise!
08:06 November 15, 2009 by American Avenger
Hooray for Anna Anka telling the FemiNazis to Stick it!

I will say it is the heights of insanity for any man or woman to back up anything stated by a female hate movement like the feminist, or pieces of scum like Karl Marx.


"Is it a country where you could survive with only the man's income, does it have to be a country always at war with another (like the US always are)."

I assume you are talking about the fact the in the US we have went out of our way to KILL Socialist/ Marxist, and we fund our military for that purpose.

Dam Straight on theat one!

Basically because they are some of the most evils pieces of human scum in history. Any time you want to debate on the Commie influence in this country I will be glad to oblige. And yes it takes real men and some times real women, to stand up to communist and political oppression, and face the type of ignorant backlash that comes from foolish leftist thugs.

And in the case of Feminist Thugets.

Personally I do not care if Scandinavian women, want to follow such a hate movement or if they are failures at rasing their own families because of said hate movement. Just as so many of the so called useless American Feminist are.

All I will say is if you embrace a HATE MOVEMENT like the feminist, then YOU are also a Bigot. Yes people feminist are bigots, against men, Family and children. So there is a real good reason they are called Feminazis. Or sometimes Femicommies, because they do the same sort of things.
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