Well, hello there Mr Penis. Top of the day to you, Lady Vagina.
“Here comes Willie at a run, he has no pants,” bops the song. “Twinkle is cool, you better believe it, even on an old lady. It just sits there so elegantly.”
Watch the clip above and welcome to the world as seen by Swedish cartoonist, Johan Holmström, aka the mastermind behind the Snoppen och snippan *musikvideo* – Bacillakuten på Barnkanalen YouTube clip that’s clocked up over 4 million views and counting.
The one-minute long animation was produced for Bacillakuten, a show on Swedish television that aims to educate children aged three to six about the body—but I might be its biggest fan.
Seriously, I can’t decide what I love most: the kitschy jingle, the bouncing balls and fluttering flaps, the fact that “snoppen” and “snippen” are slang for penis and vagina in Swedish. (SO gonna adopt those names around my place.)
And I’m not the only one. My six-year-old’s reaction was classic. Her face turned from befuddlement, to amusement, to sky-high eyebrows and a cheeky dropped jaw when it got to the part where the hot-steppin’ privates fit into the men’s and women’s shapes.
“I like the tushie with the sunglasses,” she added, zeroing in on the most important part.
And isn’t that the best thing ever? I think it’s awesome for kids to grow up with mild amusement/cheeky incredulity for their bodies as a whole—reproductive systems and all. I want my kids to have fond, playful feelings towards their bits and bobs, no matter how society shoves gender inequality, body image weirdness, and sexual norms down their throats.
Hell, as a 30-something grown woman I’ve never thought of my bikini biscuit like this. Instead, when I actually think about it (because, at best, a vagina isn’t thought about at all, right?) I’ve spent lifetime privately loathing my fur burger: plucking it raw, waxing it bald, paying a stranger (that’s a beautician, not a random off the street) $70 a pop to tear it to pieces. Oh, and I’ve never thought of my grandmother’s vagina—let alone considered it elegant. Only now, as a mum of two, do I realise how powerful, magical, and freaking fantastic the many beautiful bearded oysters around me really are.
I love that that thought is out there in the public space. In fact, why not have cute animations for all taboo topics: sex, divorce, menopause, depression, suicide, alcoholism…you name it. I’m 327 per cent sure there’s no issue a cute jingly animation can’t solve—or at least get people thinking and talking about things openly and non-hysterically so we can work it out our damn selves.
But of course, not everyone is as impressed as I am with this cheerful no-pants dance. The channel’s Facebook page received over 200 comments on the clip, some from parents outraged over the video’s contents.
“What on earth have sexual organs got to do with a children’s channel?,” asks one comment. “This cannot be shown to children! Smarten up.”
According to The Guardian, blogger Alex Schulman objected that the cartoon is too sexualised, with the vaginas “prudent, innocent and sweet”, while the erect penises are “wild things”.
Holmström, whose previous songs for the channel include “Pee, farting and pooping,” “I like slime,” and “Molluscs in my pants,” told the British paper he feels sorry for parents who get upset.
“This is a harmless music video,” he added, noting that the clip was released ahead of the full show which is entirely devoted to genitals. “I will be very interested to see what the reaction will be after it comes out.”
Kajsa Peters, the program’s executive producer, said the reaction had been overwhelmingly supportive, adding that “when there is so much discussion and debate maybe that means it’s something society needs.”
Caroline Ginner, project leader for children’s programming at education broadcaster UR, told a Swedish TV website: “Let’s keep the secret that children have vaginas and penises until they are 18. Probably they won’t notice anything in their pants before then, and once they do, then this disgusting thing will be hopefully covered in guilt and shame.”
Weigh in: Would you let your kids watch this clip? Are you a fan, or do the dancing danglers rub you the wrong way?