Stockholm city have placed ten new lions on Drottninggatan after the terrorist attack where a lunatic stole a truck and used it to mow people down on a pedestrian street, maiming several and killing 4 people including an eleven-year-old girl on her way home from school. The lions are designed as a heavy boulder to prevent cars from driving into pedestrian streets, and clearly, there weren't enough of them before.
Now, in a twist that reminded me of the castrated Lion for the Nordic Battlegroup, some of the new lions in the center of Stockholm city are female. Personally, I think the female lion looks better because I was never a fan of the troll-like designed mane on the lions, and I can see how kids would have an easier time climbing the lioness. See, when these cement lions aren't busy defending pedestrian streets from cars, they are climbed on by adventurous kids. Functionality-wise though, these lions are meant to be heavy and I wonder how much less the lioness weigh. They are also slimmer than the males, so would that make it easier to bypass with a smaller truck? Why aren't there three in a row, like a pack? Wouldn't that make it impossible for a truck to drive though?
I didn't, however, think they added lionesses due to some sort of gender quota in public art. But on Swedish Twitter, where @Sakpol_SE shared the image above of these lions, the discussion has centred on that. "New and more concrete lions have begun to be deployed on the Stockholm pedestrian streets - these days equality and gender correct even here." he tweets, sarcastically. He says he finds it quite comical, the whole "gender thing", as the people who made the call to create female lions would be the ones seriously pre-occupied with gender representation. All over Swedish Twitter people are chiming in on whether this is progressive, a necessary gender representation, or just silly because "who cares about a lion's gender?" The debate is sadly not centred on how to prevent terrorist attacks, which is what brought these lions into the national spotlight in the first place.
Nya och fler betonglejon har börjat placeras ut på Stockholms gågator - numer jämställt och genuskorrekt även här pic.twitter.com/jXzXO4GnMm
— Säkpol_SE (@Sakpol_SE) June 14, 2017
What's missing from the current discussion on Twitter is the fact that the lioness has existed as a concrete animal for well over 15 years. The southern suburbs of Stockholm is where she's normally found. If you play Ingress a lioness is even a portal in Skärholmen. The only thing that's "new" here is that the lioness had made it to the inner city.
The lion's creator, Anders Årfelt, is a sculptor and illustrator born in 1934. He created a concrete sheep in 1993 for Gotland to protect pedestrian streets, and later he created two different types of lions, one for Stockholm and another for Linköping. He also created concrete apples "Säfstaholmsäpplet".
Many cities in Sweden have executed the idea of a concrete animal instead of just a boring block, so in Luleå you will find bears, in Gävle you will find goats, and so on. You can see images of some of our Swedish cities concrete animals at the Wikipedia. And now, even in the center of Stockholm, we have lionesses. Since you can buy tiny copies of the Lion at Designtorget, I wonder if we soon can buy the female version there too.