A new clip from an upcoming episode of a Swedish children’s TV show that features singing, dancing genitalia is stirring debate about the merits of using cartoon penises and vaginas to teach young children about bodily functions and gender.
The clip, called Snoppen och Snippan (“the penis and the vagina”) was posted to YouTube on January 5 and quickly racked up 2.5 million views. In it, animated penises and vaginas wearing hats and other clothing float across the screen, singing a song in Swedish. The clip is part of an upcoming episode of the children’s show Bacillakuten.
Johan Holmstrom, the song’s writer, composer, and singer, told the Atlantic that the song was created in response to questions about the body that children send in to the show. Holmstrom said the song was meant to be funny, but also biologically informative for young children.
Naturally, the reactions to the video have been mixed.
People in Sweden, who reportedly hold very progressive views on gender identity and gender roles, were upset with the cartoon’s linking of genitals to gender, reports Vice.
“Obviously, this video wasn’t intended to be transphobic or hurt anyone,” writes Vice’s Caisa Ederyd. “But if Sweden is progressive and mature enough to handle a show about a dancing erection being shown to kids, it’s probably mature enough to do so without throwing in some 50s-esque gender identity tropes – as adorable as that erection looks in a mustache and a hat.”
Cosmopolitan‘s Laura Beck loves the cartoon.
“If my niece and nephew saw a cartoon of a penis donning a chapeau to dance the tango with a vagina in a curly blue wig, they would lose their collective sh**,” writes Beck.
YouTube initially placed an “adult content” warning on the video, meaning those under 18 were not allowed to view it, according to the Local. The restriction was lifted shortly afterward.
Whatever the reactions, Kajsa Peters, project manager for Bacillakuten, wrote on the TV channel’s website that the song was meant to be educational.
“Bacillakuten‘s purpose is to teach children about the body and its functions,” Peters wrote. “We hope that the song will help in this learning. The song is kind of playful learning, which we believe is the best way to reach kids.”
Check out the clip in full above.