Women looking admiringly at men (2022)

Check out this clip with the Green Party’s spokesperson Per Bolund and Märta Stenevi. And before you move on to the other examples, see if you can guess which gender cliché I’m going to talk about?

Clue: Who is talking, who is listening? Where are their eyes directed as they listen?

Photo: The Green Party (Miljöpartiet)


Per and Märta talk for about the same amount of time. (Sorry, now it suddenly sounded like a math example.) Per for 24 seconds, Märta for 17. About 60–40% speaking time in Per’s favour. But who gives 100% of the supportive, affirming glances? And who can’t seem to tear their eyes off the camera for a second to throw back some star-shine? (Thanks for the tip, @dunkels!)

Women looking admiringly at men. A gender-cliché as old as time and which Virginia Woolf described best (in A Room of One’s Own, 1929): “Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.”

More examples:

1. Sweden’s former Minister of Defence Karin Enström, almost breaking her neck to give towering Carl Bildt a flattering look.

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix, Dagens Nyheter 2013.

2. Former Moderate party leader Anna Kinberg Batra looking admiringly at man in painting.

Photo: Anette Nantell, Dagens Nyheter, 2017.

3. Anna Kinberg Batra in a leafy park, looking back at her predecessor Fredrik Reinfeldt’s heyday in an article entitled “Anna Kinberg Batra: Reinfeldt’s time was the strongest in modern times”.

Photo: Alexander Mahmoud, Dagens Nyheter, 2022.

4. Isabella Lövin looking at Peter Eriksson, even though the article is about her appointment as Deputy Prime Minister. (And the infamous headline “Why didn’t anyone pull out a brush for the minister?” confusingly refers to her, even though the picture itself seems rather to accuse Peter Eriksson of having a horrible hair day.)

Photo: Magnus Wennman, Aftonbladet, 2016.

5. Stefan Löfven and Ibrahim Baylan watched by a couple of unnamed women peering at them through a window.

Photo: Eva Tedesjö, Dagens Nyheter, 2013.

Looks like a poster for some heist movie? The prime minister and the education minister on the run! Don’t just stand there and giggle, catch them!