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Friendships between boys and girls are encouraged when children are toddlers, and it is considered normal for boys and girls to have sleepovers when they are 10 years old.In America, a parent who allowed a prepubescent child to spend the night with a friend of the opposite sex would be extraordinarily controversial.During my first week in Denmark, I was extremely surprised at how many couples I saw engaging in public displays of affection.
Denmark’s relaxed attitude toward male-female roles fosters an environment for untraditional relationships.
Many couples are characterized as LAT (living apart together).
Girls are expected to participate in sports at a young age, and boys are encouraged to embrace their sensitivity.
Because these ideas are fostered during childhood, they characterize the way men and women interact throughout their entire lives.
Such qualities characterize Denmark’s broader culture and can be seen quite clearly in everyday life.
When I first arrived in Denmark, I was completely shocked by the way the Danes adhere to traffic laws.All the men seemed to be very tender with their significant others, which is not as common in the United States.The masculine culture of the United States encourages its citizens to view men as “sissies” if they openly express their emotions; this, of course, challenges their very manhood.In contrast with America’s male-oriented gender bias, Denmark’s high level of male-female equality fosters behavior that transcends the gender barriers set by less egalitarian societies.As a feminine culture, Danes have more flexible gender roles, which allows them to be more relaxed when considering romantic relationships.The nation’s egalitarian nature holds everyone to the same esteem—rich or poor, woman or man—and offers the same support to all.