(Previously in Swedish on this webbsite 2014)

Margareta Larsson, member of the Swedish Parliament for the party Sverigedemokraterna, expressed yesterday (17 June 2014) in a parliamentary debate that artists who paint female genitalia in schools should be punished with prison sentences.  According to Larsson should the artists be convicted for sexual molestation of a minor. The causes of Larsson’s anger is that the painter Carolina Falkholt  depicted vaginas in colorful works at secondary schools in Halmstad and Nyköping. The paintings have been under great debated. The former Leader of the Left Party, Lars Ohly, replied to Larsson that these view of art and culture that she represents is the same as that prevailed in the 1930s Germany and that it is abhorrent and very remarkable that it is said by a member of Sweden’s  parliament.

I completely agree with Lars Ohly, but I also think that there are similarities with Russia’s ban on “propaganda” for homosexuality aimed to children. The argument is used that you want to protect children when you want to ban something that is both completely normal and harmless – in these cases homosexuality and images of female genitalia, but with which some in society feel uncomfortable.

As for the images, I also can’t understand who should be “protected” from having to see these images. Half of the population (including schoolchildren) have one themselves as the pictures they want to ban show, the other half of the population is hardly upset or frightened to see what the pictures show. And given all the depictions of violence that exist everywhere in society and are widely accepted, images of our bodies should never be particularly upsetting. And it’s also hard to understand how Larsson thinks when she wants to imprison the artist. Falkholt has just completed a paid work at the schools. It should be the school managements, who have bought the art and is responsible for the display of it, who should be punished if someone should be punished.

But Margareta Larsson have of course the right to have this opinion and argue for it. The problem in this case is that she speaks as a member of the parliament.  When she here, in a parliament debate, states that the courts should change the practice in how they should judge, she is guilty of, as part of the legislative power, to try to influence the judicial power, which is forbidden in Sweden. Whether she does this consciously or if she does not understand the seriousness of it, she has proved to not respecting the democratic rules in Sweden.

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