Boys get more
Young Swedes are great consumers of culture—especially girls. But according to a new report from Ungdomsstyrelsen (The Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs), boys’ interests are what society backs the most. Close to 70 percent of all Swedes ages 13 to 25 spent time on culture during the past 12 months, and if you include activities such as listening to music or watching movies online, then the number goes up to 95 percent.
“This is a positive result,” says Inger Ashing, deputy director general at Ungdomsstyrelsen. “Culture is something very important in the lives of young people.”
And important money is being spent on youth culture, too. The question is whether it's spent wisely. It has been shown that the culture girls are interested in is crafts, drawing, painting and writing, whereas boys are only into music. And music is where most of the money goes.
“Are we supporting the boys at the girls’ expense? It’s something for the decision makers to think about,” Ashing says.
Most of the young practice their cultural interests at home, the report shows. From a European perspective, Swedish youth are very active culturally: They play instruments, sing, write and photograph more than their average European peers. It’s common for Swedish parents to want their children to be interested in sports, but when it comes to culture their support wanes, and is often sexist. Highly educated parents, not surprisingly, are better at cultivating cultural interests in their children.
5.5 million SEK ($900,890,069) is spent on youth culture in Sweden. Most of that money goes to music, which favors boys since music is their top cultural activity. Girls are into crafts, painting, drawing and writing.