I thought this was a story from the ONION, but apparently it’s for real:
Swedish-based home furnishings giant IKEA has been strongly slammed by a Scandinavian leader for being “sexist” in its self-assembly manuals. The company has been told by Norway’s Prime Minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik, to stop using so many images of men in its instruction leaflets. He reportedly rejected the company’s argument that it did not want to offend Muslims by depicting women building beds, sofas and bookcases. “This isn’t good enough,” he told a local paper. “It’s important to promote attitudes for sexual equality, not least in Muslim nations.”
The store’s colorful and detailed catalogue is printed in over 20 languages and circulates in over 30 countries, including Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Malaysia. …
Assembling an IKEA piece can be just as great a challenge for men as for women, the Norwegian leader had said. “I myself have great problems with screwing together such furniture.”
We had an IKEA when I was growing up in Kuwait. On the nights we were broke, my dad would drive us out to it in our smoking Olds — it really was smoking, I think part of it was perpetually on fire– and deposit my brother and me at the “ball pit.” Then, he and my mother would proceed to stare longingly at furnishings while my brother and I licked plastic and dove to the bottom of the pit, for hours.
No word on whether my parents discussed who would screw together the furniture. You know, worded differently, that sentence could have turned out really, really nasty.