Sunday, January 22, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Children

A Finnish story asking a bunch of very young children their views on the photos of candidates for the next president of Finland (they have elections right now) is hilarious. The jury consisted of
Otto, 1, Saara, 3, Elsa, 5, Noora, 5, Elmeri, 7, Eemeli, 7, Veikko, 9 and Helmi, 11.
Otto obviously did not say much at all, but even Saara did! As an example of the kinds of comments, let's translate the assessments concerning the Center Party Paavo Väyrynen's electability among these very young judges:
Saara: His eyeglasses are too fancy, not good.
Elsa: No. His nose is really big, too big eyes, ears and a tall forehead. He also has a sad mouth.
Noora: Looks like a president but I don't want him because I like Biaudet. He looks boyish.
Elmeri: Looks ever so slightly good for a president.
Eemeli: Looks fine but not like a president.
Veikko: Not a good president, slightly abstract style in my view.
Helmi: Not quite the presidential type.

It's all meant as something fun and silly, of course. But that's not why I write about it.

The current president of Finland, Tarja Halonen, is a woman, and she is the only president these children remember. This gives us an opportunity to look at the impact of the environment/culture on gender roles in children's minds. And what do we find?

When asked about what the job of a president entails, Elsa, 5, answers: " The president is followed by men who carry her handbag. She decides on all Finnish stuff."

And when asked their opinions about Sari Essayah, a female candidate in the race, Noora, 5, states: "Yes, she could well be a president because she is a girl." To which Elmeri, 7, answers: "No, because we have already had a girl."