Just call me Scandiman

The gender debate will lose its way if it focuses solely on feminism, women and the battle of the sexes. The Scandinavian man is largely in agreement with the shrill voices, he just needs to find his place, somewhere between the tender and the brutal

Standing atop man’s evolutionary ladder is Scandiman. Homo Scandinavicus is both a monumental person carved from granite, and a delicate flower who softly and compassionately plays the role of the providing father. Standing beside him at the top is the woman. She ought to be aware that this is how he feels. He doesn’t want to start a gender war with her. He wants them to live a good life together.

Scandiman’s soul is shaped by the welfare state but it hasn’t made him lazy and stupid, but rather soft and curious. He is a man of the future. A new and better character formed by pedagogic education and a lack of deprivation. His personality is not formed by competition, but through community.

The welfare state stipulates the terms of his existence. Scandiman cannot escape it. It is a paradigm that, more than anything else in his life, has defined and shaped him. Everything the welfare state lets loose, is a product of it. All Danish art is welfare state art. All Danish music is welfare state music. All men born since the 1960s are, for good or ill, sons of the welfare state. Scandiman is a son of the welfare state. He is formed by the welfare state’s ideology. Not by socialism or by liberalism, but through the negotiated consensus that has been our life’s defining condition since our birth.

Scandiman is a moment in time in a geographical location in a particular political reality. Scandiman is a crystallisation of the values that technological and economic development has normalised. In his essay, the Soul of the Man Under Socialism, Oscar Wilde described the future person as an individual shaped by the state’s security.

“It will be a marvellous thing – the true personality of man – when we see it. It will grow naturally and simply, flower-like, or as a tree grows. It will not be at discord. It will never argue or dispute. It will not prove things. It will know everything. And yet it will not busy itself about knowledge. It will have wisdom. Its value will not be measured by material things. It will have nothing. And yet it will have everything, and whatever one takes from it, it will still have, so rich will it be. It will not be always meddling with others, or asking them to be like itself. It will love them because they will be different. And yet while it will not meddle with others it will help all, as a beautiful thing helps us, by being what it is. The personality of man will be very wonderful. It will be as wonderful as the personality of a child.”

Scandiman is an insufferable gastrosexual clown, but also a magnificent man of the future. A utopian realisation on the highest step of civilisation’s ladder. Only his penis and stomach connect him to biology. He has internalised democracy. Equality is no longer a challenge, but a part of his nature. He is highly annoying and self-righteous. But he is good enough. Scandiman could not dream of hitting his girlfriend. Scandiman thinks it’s the most normal thing in the world that a woman occupies society’s most powerful position.

Scandiman meets a woman. They go to a café and drink wine. “She is exceptionally beautiful,” Scandiman thinks. “Much better than what I normally meet in town. Her intellect is deep, deeper than mine. She is feminine, so you are never in doubt about when she is tough or vulnerable. I look up to her,” Scandiman thinks. “I admire her so much it makes me weak.”

Scandiman beats himself about the head when he realises how many times he let her make decisions during the date. He wants to be a proper and brave man who can achieve the ultimate victory. But Scandiman doesn’t have a killer instinct. Scandiman feels useless and that he will never be good enough for her.

Scandiman’s ambition is to be real man. A man who has strong protective arms and an unmacho gentleness. Someone who is unafraid to share his feelings without prejudice. To be self-conscious without being self-centered and with a will to be better. The Scandinavian man is good, but increasing distance to the biological realm has left a trace. Scandiman must find the balance.

A proper man needs a proper woman to be a proper man toward. That is perhaps the simple secret, that we cannot be good without having someone to be good with.

“Men are pigs.” Scandiman has heard this plenty of times before. And ultimately he knows it is right. He cannot help but register and judge the breasts of every woman he meets. When Scandiman has to choose a queue in the supermarket, he instinctively chooses the one with the most attractive woman behind the till. But Scandiman knows that it is wrong to judge a woman based on her appearance. He fights his biological urges because he has internalised democracy.

Scandiman is novel because he is conscious of his inbuilt sense of injustice and therefore wants to be a better person. Scandiman knows that his jealousy is an expression of his angst for being insufficient. Scandiman is unafraid of being self-critical. He doesn’t want to be burdened by the weight of his masculine mask. He wants to be free to be vulnerable. Scandiman cannot be liberated unless women are too, so he supports her aspirations. He cannot be a proper man alone. Scandiman needs a proper Scandiwoman to be proper with. It is a joint project, not a goddamned gender war.

Being a good person is a noble ambition. The American philosopher Martha Nussbaum said “to be a good human is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control. The ethical life is based on a trust in the uncertainty, and on a willingness to be exposed. Being a good person requires being open to the world.”

All this is easier when you’re a trusting welfare state person. The ethical life, Nussbaum continues, is based more on being like a plant than a jewel. Such is Scandiman. A granite monument and a delicate flower. Such is Scandiman’s ideal woman too.


By Kristoffer Granov

Editor in chief of Atlas Magazine.

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