Sweden’s 105-year-old blogger supports Me Too campaign

Sweden's 105-year-old blogger supports Me Too campaign
Dagny Carlsson pictured in June this year. Photo: Anders Wiklund / TT
Sweden's oldest blogger, 105-year-old Dagny Carlsson, has spoken out in support of the global #MeToo campaign which has highlighted sexual harassment and led to allegations in Sweden as well as other countries.

“I think it’s appalling that men can be so rude as to grope people,” she said in an interview with Sweden’s Aftonbladet.

While sexual harassment is far from a new problem, Carlsson, who began blogging at the age of 99 after taking a class in computing, believes the phenomenon has evolved over recent decades, with perpetrators less fearful of facing consequences. The blogger and media personality has previously spoken publicly about her abusive first husband, who once locked her in a wardrobe to prevent her from seeing her friends, and who she separated from in her late 30s.

But she said: “I have no memory of people being so brash in the past. There were people who kept an eye on people's morals — priests and all sorts kept people disciplined and god-fearing, which they don’t do now.” 

The #MeToo campaign was started in response to the allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of raping, harassing, and assaulting multiple women over a period of several years, including a number of well-known actresses.

It has led to multiple investigations into high-profile figures accused of harassment, including in Sweden, where Martin Timell, one of the country's best-known TV presenters, the high-profile journalist Fredrik Virtanen at the Aftonbladet newspaper, and television presenter Lasse Kronér at public broadcaster SVT are among those accused of various offences by former co-workers.

Hundreds of Swedish women, including well-known figures from the worlds of acting, comedy, journalism, and tech, shared their stories under the #MeToo hashtag and called for more to be done to tackle harassment. Several of Sweden's politicians also said they had been harassed in connection with their work, and Foreign Minister Margot Wallström last week said: “This type of call is not enough, it also has to lead to action.”

Carlsson praised the women who had participated in the global campaign and urged victims of harassment to speak out. “You should seek help and speak out, and not dwell on it alone. Report it to the police,” she told Aftonbladet.

And like Wallström, she called for more action in addressing the root causes of gendered harassment by teaching people how to behave, starting in schools.

“Enlighten people and teach them some manners, that’s the best start,” said Carlsson.

She added that while she is pleased women have gained more prominence in the Swedish workforce over her lifetime, it is important for women to be protected and feel safe at work.

READ ALSO: 'We think we live in an equal society but harassment happens here too'