Someone who eats glass ceilings for breakfast. (2022)

Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard

If the imagery in this cover is anything to go by, I think we can predict a victory for the Magdalena Andersson party tomorrow.

Magdalena is portrayed straight in profile, like in a historical portrait painting or a regent on a coin. She has an averted, “busy” look, which according to media researcher Anja Hirdman “is usually reserved for men or groups from the social elite”. She looks to the right, which we with a Western reading direction interpret as “forward”; towards the future – where she will lead us.

At the same time, there are “feminine” elements in the picture. The warm look. The extreme close-up, which gives an intimate and personal appeal. Light that is soft, not rough and rough as when monumental men are to be depicted in profile. Compare with how Karl Ove Knausgård’s and Abraham Lincoln’s faces are buried in darkness and harsh shadows:

Photo: Sølve Sundsbø, Norstedts

Photo: Dreamworks Pictures and 20th Century Fox

Then we have the title. Landsmodern. Mother of the land. A gender-conscious headline, since the Swedish term mostly used is Landsfader, Father of the land. The title Landsfadern would have needed some kind of prefix to stand out. The… reluctant father of the land? The… bumblebee-fearing father of the land? The umpteenth…?

The word “mother” and Magdalena’s warm, confident gaze defy the so-called “cold yet competent” stereotype, which affected Anna Kinberg Batra. The one who says that a “masculine” leadership style equals competent, but where women who are too “cold” at the same time are not seen as normal, “real” women. This image finds the magical balance. Warmth AND authority.

That’s what I like so much about the Social Democrats’ election poster “No young person should become a criminal”.

Photo: Socialdemokraterna

As @kerstografen wrote; it is unclear whether Magdalena is talking or listening to the young person in the hoodie, but her gaze is both tough and empathetic. Tough love. An approach that feels significantly smarter than the Liberals’ Jan Jönsson’s slogan “The gang’s worst enemy”:

Photo: Liberalerna and Magnus Hallgren

One last comparison! I found a similar picture of Stefan Löfven.

Lost in Stockholm. Photo: Anders Lindén

Also in profile, epic black and white. But feel significantly more insecure? Possibly because Stefan’s gaze is not fixed in the distance, but on something nearby that seems to worry him. Maybe a bumblebee? 🐝