The Gender War  

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ER: Here, in your (ROKS’s) published magazine, it is written, “to call a man an animal is flattering. He is a machine, a mobile dildo, an emotional parasite” Why do you write such a thing in your magazine?

IW: Well, but it is taken from men’s thinking

ER: Yes, but this is indeed what you write about men

IW: Yes

ER: Is this the way you see upon men?

IW: Yes

ER: At this (statement), that men are animals and machines and mobile dildos, do you stand for?

IW: Yes, I stand for

ER: (That) men are animals

IW: Men are animals, don’t you think so? don’t you think so?

[EV= Evin Rubar; IW= Ireen Von Wachenfeld ]:

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Gender War (2005) is a documentary in two parts by journalist Evin Rubar on radical feminism in Sweden and its influence on Swedish politics. It was produced by Nordisk Film and broadcast by Sveriges Television in the series Dokument inifrån on 15 and 22 May 2005. The Gender War was also part of Evin Rubar being awarded the TV award Kristallen and Sveriges Television's equality award the same year.

The documentary focuses on the national organisation for women’s and young women's shelters in Sweden, ROKS, an organisation helping young female victims of sexual abuse called Friends of Bella, former Minister of Gender Equality Margareta Winberg and Professor Eva Lundgren.

Effects

The documentary made a big impact on the debate in the Swedish mainstream media and had several major consequences. Uppsala University decided to make an inquiry into Eva Lundgren's research. Lundgren was freed from the official accusations but received severe criticism in the media; later the university increased her funding in compensation for the unjustified inquiry and stated their support for her in 2007. However, she resigned from her chair and criticized the university for not doing enough to clear her reputation in 2011.

The Riksdag discussed withdrawing funding of ROKS. Gudrun Schyman, spokesperson for the Feminist Initiative, questioned Rubar's main argument in an article in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper on May 24, 2005. Some women's shelters announced that they will be leaving the central organisation ROKS because of the controversy. Ireen von Wachenfeldt announced her resignation as the chairperson of ROKS on July 6, 2005.

The New York Times wrote that the film showed that militant feminism was widespread in Sweden and reached into official circles, and quoted von Wachenfeldt, who said that "men are animals" in the document.

Swedish Broadcasting Commission complaints

The aired program received a record amount of complaints to the regulatory body Swedish Broadcasting Commission (a total of 174). The first complaints did not lead to a conviction and the commission report stated the film is aligned neutrally, but in one respect lacking in the requirement for objectivity.

However, after another complaint by two of the other women that were part of the events described in the first part of the show, this part of the film was convicted of non-neutrality since their version of events was not requested "in time" and was not presented in the show. This decision led the makers of the documentary to file an appeal of the Swedish Broadcasting Commission to the Parliamentary Ombudsman for a conflict of interest, since one of the commissioners in the board, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, had been active in one of the women's shelters connected to ROKS. Their report has not yet provoked a response from the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Gender War" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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