[eng] Karin Lindqvist Kax - My reflections on the subject of everyday feminism inspired by the Swedish culture of "lagom"

I’ve started a war.
It is not a great war, it is an everyday minimalistic war - a Swedish lagom war. (Lagom is a Swedish word that translates: something in between, not too big and not too small, just enough. Lagom is in the Swedish people’s soul.)

This is not the black and white dramatic fights of youth, this is the middle-aged stubborn and temperate fight. The long and enduring fight which I believe women do with grandeur. 

My fight sprung out from simple things that happen to my 9-year-old boy in school. The insight came to me when asking him, for the 100th time, if somebody in school had liked his new hair cut or if they had found his new shoes cool. The answer was always no and he was very disappointed. My boy has friends and there are a fair number of grown-ups around. Still, no one had noticed, or taken the time and effort to show him appreciation. I asked myself why. 

Children’s behaviour is often a reflection of that of their parents. Children never do what we want them to, but always what we do. (Unfortunately, my kids are really bad when it comes to cleaning but their vocabulary in cursing is astonishing.) When I was a child we showed each other appreciation and I remember that nice feeling of being proud of wearing a new sweater or getting high scores on a test. To be seen and appreciated is a nice feeling, both for children and adults. It helps them see themselves as part of society, which is vital for maintaining equality, acceptance and fairness. The lack of this in my sons’ school can only be blamed on their parents – shame on us! 

Well, now you might think that this is a relatively small problem compared to other sufferings in the world. Sweden is one of the highest ranked countries when it comes to freedom and equality. 

Yes, in Sweden we have come a long way but there’s still many roads to walk, and there are many bumps ahead. I have so many examples where I have been unequally treated based on my gender. And I see a rapid change towards a society that is more unequal and I find this troublesome. This change is growing specially amongst the younger generations. Why is this happening? There are probably many reasons for this and listing them would take a considerable amount of time. What I can say is that Sweden’s problems differ from many other countries’, our fight is to maintain our standards (and in the best of worlds of course improve them), but it is hard to start a fight for something in a country that takes its privileges for granted. Why fight for something you already have?

I didn’t need to find the cause of this problem. I needed to find a solution. I wanted to stop a bad habit and make the children in my son’s school start to appreciate each other and place themselves in a bigger picture. And that’s why my war starts with my clever little boy as a weapon. 

-If you start, I told him, others will follow. Treat others as you want to be treated, and one day you will change the world. We will wear them down with kindness.

As my son starts to spread appreciation in the classroom I keep telling the adults that work in his school about the importance of being appreciated. I ask the adults to show appreciation so that the children might learn. I have become “that” mother that everybody sighs about: “Oh no, not her again!”. I will keep fighting, tenaciously, for years and years to come. Me and my boy will keep telling people that we like their shoes and that they did a great job. For me it is a human right to be appreciated – to be seen. We don’t have to change the whole world, we just have to change one person at the time. Change will come from the smallest of acts. This is my everyday lagom activism.


I cannot write about feminism without introducing my grandmother – Irma. She was born 1918 and she raised a family of four children whilst also being an entrepreneur. She was brought up under poor family conditions, at the time Sweden was one of the poorest countries in Europe. As a child she cleaned floors in a butcher’s shop for a piece of sausage. My grandmother always loved sausage.
She worked hard and that allowed her to start her own business. She became a master hairdresser, her business bloomed and she could buy herself a holiday home by the sea. She went as a tourist to Greece and Spain. This is quite an achievement for a woman during this time. What a woman she was!

As a teenager, I asked my grandmother how was life during the second World War and with big eyes and big ears I prepared myself for stories of woe and sufferings. But she said: ”The war? I don’t remember that much, I had so many other things to do.” 

The teenager me was quite disappointed with this answer, that was far from what I had expected. Now, being a middle-aged mother with a business of my own and two children I do understand her. When my grandchildren will ask me the same questions about how life was during the great pandemic my answer will probably be the same. History has a funny way to repeat itself.

My grandmother embodies feminism for me and I am sure she never thought about it – at all. She just went for it, grabbed it and lived it. She saw the possibilities. Thanks to her, and others like her, Swedish women have inherited equality and freedom. A gift that women worked very hard to achieve. My grandmother’s story keeps reminding me of that. We must care for it and make it thrive. If we don’t succeed with this task our grandmother’s heritage to our granddaughters will be less freedom and less fairness. As firm as the soldiers guarding the Royal castle in Stockholm we should keep our position. Our freedom comes with a responsibility.


When I was asked to write a piece for this journal I was very much intrigued. There are so many things to say and I have tried to shorten it without losing my point. I wanted to write about my view of how important history is for feminism, both now and in the future. The thought that we are all a part of something continuous is so beautiful and it gives me strength to maintain it. I also wanted to address the problems of a country that is considered to be equal. I think that my country is still not good enough and that there are new problems that we need to handle. Our greatest challenge is to maintain our standard. Finally, I wanted to write about the fight that my son and I are involved in. We are still new at this and he has not yet received any appreciation back, but he keeps on giving it as much as a 9-year-old boy is capable of. I love the strength of the small, everyday acts. The acts that are not too big and not too small, it is lagom, just like us Swedes. 

* Karin Lindqvist Kax 
I am a 40-year old multi-entrepreneur and mother of two boys. I have great passion for folklore history which I often relate to in my work. I think everything is possible and I never outgrew the feeling that I can change the world. 

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