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On gender equality, feminism and books with Peppe Öhman

Posted in Interviews with Authors

Hi everyone!

After few months without any interview, I was lucky enough to get in touch with Jeanette ‘Peppe’ Öhman, author of Livet & patriarkatet I reviewed some time ago. Peppe and I spoke about her book, her other projects and upcoming plans. Sounds interesting? You can bet!


 

Peppe, Livet & patriarkatet is very comprehensible book, not overloaded with statistics or technical terms. Was it your intention to create something, which could work as an introduction to the issues of feminism and patriarchy?

Absolutely! I wanted to write something that would be easy to read, and sometimes even funny, for people that have an itching feeling that they are feminists or that our society is not equal, but that needed the arguments in a non-academic format. What I didn’t wanted was to write an academic thesis for people that already know a lot about gender equality.

Do you feel that the fact of using personal stories in your book has a positive, or negative impact on your readers?

I hope that it has a positive impact. To be honest, at first I was a little skeptical about being so private, but my publisher convinced me it was necessity. Today I believe that the combination of personal stories, statistics and facts makes my point stronger.

Livet & patriarkatet contains a lot of questions from readers of your blog Livet & LA. Why have you decided to include them in your book?

I’ve been blogging for more than ten years and I love my blog followers, especially those who comment and ask questions, during the past years many of them have asked really good questions and I assumed that people that would pick up Livet & patriarkatet might have similar questions. Also: Q&A is a good format to make the book a bit lighter in text.

You say it is impossible to be a perfect feminist. Have you earned criticism for this attitude from other, more radical feminists?

I’ve been lucky in that sense, no critic at all. I think most of us agree on that it’s not a feminist’s fault that it’s impossible to be perfect in every action, it’s our patriarchal society that make the notion of a perfect feminist impossible.

You speak about society and feminism in Magnus och Peppes podcast. Is the idea of writing Livet & patriarkatet related anyhow to conversations you’ve had with your husband?

The idea for the book actually came from a friend of mine that works for a publisher. Well, my publisher. Still, in our podcast my husband sometimes plays the devil’s advocate and thereby forces me to think through my arguments. It’s been both frustrating and a great help. Often I find it useful to write down or speak out loud ideas and thought. When I have to formulate them they become clearer to me.

The podcast Mellan raderna that you host together with Karin Jihde is about literature. Which books would you point out as the most interesting/important ones that you’ve read this year and why?

I just discovered Curtis Sittenfeld and loved both ”American Wife” and ”Prep”. Also I really liked Malin Persson Giolito’s ”Störst av allt”, Elin Hilderbrand’s ”The Rumor”, Elizabeth Hand’s ”Generation Loss” and E. Lockhart’s ”We Were Liars”. It’s hard picking out just a few good books.

In Livet & patriarkatet you speak a lot about Finland, your homeland, yet you currently live in L. A., California. Do you plan another book, which will tackle issues in US?

Compared to Finland the US has a lot of problems with gender equality. Two of the biggest ones are of course the lack of a federal parental leave and the pay gap. Also it irritates me that the gender roles are so static. However, there’s a lot happening and it makes me happy to see that for example the entertainment industry in many ways has started a feminist revolution. I’m thinking of the stand up comic Amy Schumer, tv shows like Broad City, Orange is the New Black, Transparent, Veep, Master of None and Crazy ex Girlfriend to name a few.

Finland has it’s own problems with for example violence against women. Still, I think one of Finland’s biggest problems is that many people think we are already done, that we are gender equal, just because Finland was one of the first countries in the world where women were allowed to vote and we had a female president. But to answer your question: I would love to write a novel that takes place in L.A. of course from a feminist point of view.

I can imagine that next upcoming months you will have your hands full with the new addition to your family, however, can you share something from your plans for the year 2017? What can we look forward to?

I would love to start on a new book and to get Livet & patriarkatet translated into English. Also I’m planning a vegetarian cookbook with two friends of mine.

Thank you, Peppe, and good luck!


 

For more information, visit Jeanette’s blog. You can listen to podcast Mellan raderna here & Magnus and Peppes podcast here.

Featured image was kindly provided by Jeanette herself, taken by talented Anna Maria Zunino Noellert.

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