Think outside the box

夏眠中|I shall return.



…, a belief in gender equality remains central to Swedish nationalism and this ideology constitutes a key factor in both left- and right-wing governmental discourses and subsequently in narratives of Swedish femininity as well as of masculinity. Feminist influence in Sweden has been strong within the political parties, and ‘the majority of the Swedish political parties today call themselves feminist’.*2

The 1970s and 1980s feminist organizations advocated for gender and class equality and thus pressured the government to adopt policies intended to strengthen women’s access to the public sphere.






ところが、この思想は、家事や育児(unpaid work)を稼得労働(paid work)よりも「価値が低い仕事」「汚れ仕事」であるとする観念に結びつきます。家事・育児を「やりたくない仕事・他人にやらせたい(アウトソースしたい)仕事」と認識するスウェーデンの女が増えても不思議ではありません。



“There exists a perception of whiteness which benefits Swedish migrants.”

In addition they are regarded as beautiful, and the idea of the sexually liberated Swedish woman from the 1960s is still in force.

“The women navigate between pure whiteness and exotic sexuality,” says Lundström.

This combination attracts successful American husbands, and the Swedish women often end up as stay-at-home mothers.


I’m the first to call myself a feminist. But I tell you – it is just not possible to have a family and work and live a good life in Sweden. It’s not possible to live in a gender equal relationship. You want to be a perfect mother, go about your work really well and have a certain standard of living – and that combination is just impossible to manage! It’s wonderful to be a stay-at-home mom and that is forbidden to say in Sweden. It’s wonderful to have time for your kids, and for yourself. I’m so much happier here [in the US] and so is my husband. (Isabella, 37, psychologist from Sweden, living in the US)


An analysis of Isabella’s statement reveals a contradiction between her Swedish gender ideology and her emotions, anchored in her US American housewife lifestyle. On the one hand, Isabella expresses her frustrations over not being able to live as gender equal as she ought to from a Swedish perspective. On the other hand, her life as a housewife appears contradictory to her since she imagines that her current lifestyle would be a much criticized choice within a Swedish gender ideology.

その解消策となっているのが、メイド(domestic worker)を雇って自分が「主人」「雇用者」になることです。汚れ仕事のアウトソースと、雇用者として働いているという満足感が得られる一石二鳥の方策です(夫の所得で雇っているわけですが)。当初は抵抗感があるものの、「郷に入っては郷に従え」で、アメリカではメキシコ人、シンガポールではフィリピン人やインドネシア人のメイドを雇うことが一般化しているということです。

家事、育児から犬の世話まで低賃金で雇ったメイドに丸投げするのは、スウェーデン人の人権意識や"class equality"イデオロギーには反するようですが、

  • 彼女たちは自分たちとは違う(They are not like us.*4
  • 自分たちは(シンガポールの場合は中国系よりも)「良い」雇用者である(あくまでも自己評価)


  • 夫の稼ぎに頼るのは気に食わない(従属的な立場になった気分)
  • しかし、家事もやりたくない("I didn't come here to do housework"
  • 家事は途上国出身のメイドに任せて自分は「自己実現」に勤しむ
  • 途上国に対する優位を利用して、主婦ではなく主人として振る舞う


By detaching themselves from “dirty work”, the Swedish women were able to present themselves as respectable women – as white (European) women have done throughout history – in both national and transnational contexts. Thus, when renegotiating (Swedish) ideologies of gender equality in a transnational expatriate “contact zone” of racial and class inequality, the Swedish migrant women chose to retain their social and racial privileges within the family sphere; not primarily as housewives but as “mistresses” with “maids”.*5


Equality in the modern Swedish home is maintained by its tax deductible status. Swedish women nowadays don't need to negotiate with their husbands; housework is instead handed over to another woman.

“Values we thought we had given up a long time ago have survived and are appearing again. Maids are back in Swedish homes.”


In 2014 around half a million people regularly hire cleaners in Sweden, compared to 90,000 seven years ago, according to statistics from Skatteverket, Sweden's Tax Agency.


First off, it allows parents in dual income families to spend more time with their kids. Also, it creates jobs for marginalized groups, primarily immigrant women, who might otherwise struggle to gain a foothold on the labour market.


スウェーデンアメリカやシンガポールに近づいているようですが、男女平等イデオロギー(あるいはフェミニズム)と新自由主義に共通性があることを考慮すると、必然とも言えます。「Unpaid workはpaid workよりも価値が低い」という観念は、「人は稼いだ金額で評価される→自由な経済活動(≒金儲け)こそ至上の価値→新自由主義」につながるためです。


One contribution was our critique of the "family wage": the ideal of a male breadwinner-female homemaker family that was central to state-organised capitalism. Feminist criticism of that ideal now serves to legitimate "flexible capitalism". After all, this form of capitalism relies heavily on women's waged labour, especially low-waged work in service and manufacturing, performed not only by young single women but also by married women and women with children; not by only racialised women, but by women of virtually all nationalities and ethnicities.*7

Never mind that the reality that underlies the new ideal is depressed wage levels, decreased job security, declining living standards, a steep rise in the number of hours worked for wages per household, exacerbation of the double shift – now often a triple or quadruple shift – and a rise in poverty, increasingly concentrated in female-headed households.









 「過ぎたるは猶及ばざるが如し」と言いますが("gender equality had gone too far in Sweden")、平等主義を過度に追及すると、不平等(格差拡大)を招いてしまうということです。完璧主義者のスウェーデン人は、「男と女、スウェーデン人と外国人にはまったく違いがない」という非現実的なイデオロギーを完璧に遂行することによって、一旦は築いた「理想の福祉社会」を破壊しつつあるようです。

Several of the Swedes in the US thought that gender equality had gone too far in Sweden. They thought the Swedish gender equality project had turned into a perfection project, requiring you to be both successful and beautiful, with a toned body, a family and children all at once. 




Swedish women in the US were very preoccupied with American men, whereas the Swedish women in Singapore were not the least interested in Asian men. They focused on their Swedish husbands. Asian women, on the other hand, represented a possible rival, since Swedish men found Asian women attractive.




*1:共産主義国家社会主義のような「国体」を成すもの。[参考]"Foreign Minister defends 'feminist' rights strategy"

*2:Lundström and Twine, "White migrations: Swedish women, gender vulnerabilities and racial privileges", European Journal of Women's Studies 2011



*5:Lundström, "I Didn't Come Here to Do Housework", Nordic Journal of Migration Research

*6:フィンランドの第3党Perussuomalaiset(Finns Party)は、「福祉国家を守るために移民を制限せよ」と主張しています。


*8:アジアでは韓国人の白人志向が強いようです。【検索ワードが示す日本のソフトパワー - Think outside the box