June 24, 2011

Feminists Celebrate Midsummer Around Mayholes {featured news}

Midsummer "mayhole" revolution
During this weekend's Midsummer celebration in Sweden, a growing number of feminists will be dancing around a "mayhole" instead of the traditional maypole. Rejecting the latter as a symbol of the sexist phallic penis, the movement seeks to replace it with a feminine symbol.
Among the most important parts of a traditional Midsummer celebration is the decoration and erection of a flower-adorned maypole, around which joyous Swedes, young and old, dance and sing merry tunes. [...]
But this year, a growing chorus of voices rising up against Sweden's traditional Midsummer celebrations, implore Swedes to break with tradition and dance around a vagina instead.

“In the future I want coming generations to say on their trips abroad that ‘In Sweden we celebrate midsummer by dancing around a vagina’,” says Alexander Alvina Chamberland, co-founder of the group Midsommarfitta ('Midsummer Cunt'). (The Local)
Chamberland, a self-proclaimed "femme genderqueer" who has just finished his master's degree in gender studies, adds that the Midsummer celebration in general is too "heteronormative:" "The tradition of girls picking seven different flowers to put under their pillow to dream about their future man is also very heteronormative and patriarchal."

While some experts dispute the interpretation of the maypole as a phallic symbol, others suggest that the pole indeed represents a penis but that the earth symbolizes the woman being fertilized by the pole, meaning that both sexes are actually being represented in the traditional symbol. Learn more here.


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