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Gender roles in focus at photo exhibition

By Cao Chen | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-14 08:16
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Photo by Swedish photographer Tomas Gunnarsson that challenge existing stereotypes of gender and promote gender diversity.[Photo provided to China Daily]

An exhibition showcasing a selection of photos by Swedish photographer Tomas Gunnarsson is being held in Shanghai through Oct 20.

Co-organized by the Swedish Institute and the Consulate General of Sweden, the ongoing exhibition, Beyond the Norm-Images that Change the World, features some of Gunnarsson's photos that challenge existing stereotypes of gender, race, sexual orientation and age.

"As the first country in the world to launch a feminist foreign policy, gender equality is a cornerstone in Swedish foreign policy work," says Lisette Lindahl, Sweden's consul-general in Shanghai.

"Yet, the norms existing in our society create stereotypes that limit people in expressing who they are and following their dreams. This exhibition is to break down these stereotypical images and show that there are no limits to what you are capable of, how you can look or how you can dress based on your gender."

The images exhibited were created in the aftermath of an event in 2012 when the Swedish city of Gavle displayed new posters that aimed to reflect the life and people in the city. Days after the event, a citizen raised concerns about the posters.

After investigating the complaint, government officials found that most of the pictures depicted boys and men engaging in a variety of activities while the girls and women watched on passively. In addition, there were no elderly, citizens of other races, same-sex couples or people with disabilities featured. The city realized that the posters were not a true reflection of society and had the posters taken down.

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