Sweden is in the news today after its children's channel aired a video featuring dancing cartoon penises and vaginas. All in the name of educating youngsters aged between three and six about anatomy, of course.
The clip may only be a minute long, but a minute is ample time to twist the knickers of a bunch of uptight adults. You need only cast a cursory glance at Barnkanalen's Facebook page to witness the reaction:
“What on earth? What the hell? Is this supposed to be educational?” wrote a user.
“I’ve always wondered how much drugs are being done in the children’s entertainment industry,” wrote another.
Ironically, the YouTube clip—which has now been seen some 3 million times—was initially set as "adult" content for users over 18, until it was later reassessed.
Oh Swedes; I admire your intrepid attitude to nudity and genital awareness! It's something we strive for here in the Americas, yet when it actually comes to saying the words "penis" and "vagina," we can't get over ourselves without giggles, titters, or mild embarrassment.
But let's be real here: preschoolers take more than a cursory interest in their bodies and bodily movements. And the songwriter - Johan Holmström - clearly knows his audience. His previous "hits" include: “Pee, Farting and Pooping,” “I Like Slime,” and “Molluscs in my Pants."
To my mind, cute (but accurate) genital cartoons are a good first step in educating kids, and they set a platform for future discussion about sex and the mechanics of reproduction.
Rather this approach than pretending there is something shamefully taboo and embarrassing lurking between their legs...
I think Sweden is on the right track; sadly, culturally, we may not be quite there yet.
What do you think of the video?
Image Source: YouTube