folk metaphor
Folk speech

Swedish Proverb

“De är inte alla karlar som bär byxor.”

Swedish: All are not men that wear trousers. 

G’s Scandinavian father used to say this to her and her siblings in Swedish while growing up. He immigrated to the United States from Sweden when he was young, and it was a phrase that he heard growing up. It’s a phrase that G repeated (albeit slightly butchered, as she does not speak Swedish) when she grew older, because it was relevant, reminded of her childhood and her father.

G’s father would say this to his five children to encourage them to break from the mold and be different. He said it to emphasize that his daughters could play sports and listen to rock music, and his son could design clothing and play musical instruments. He didn’t believe his kids had to do strictly things designated by society for their respective genders.

I love this phrase, and I think it is especially applicable in this age, where the previously-designated boundaries of gender are being pushed. Girls do not equal pink and boys do not equal blue. I think a variation of this proverb exists in every language and culture—not every woman has to be girly and not every man, manly.

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