Conference article

Leif och Lena - divisiv pakethumor

Gunilla Byrman

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Published in: Svenskans beskrivning 24. Förhandlingar vid Tjugofjärde sammankomsten för svenskans beskrivning

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 6:4, p. 47-58

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Published: 2001-01-25


ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


Leif and Lena; two brands of soured milk; were launched in spring 1999 by the Swedish dairy Arla. The article analyses the form and content of the texts on the back of the packages.

The results show that the texts adhere to the prevailing advertising genre by virtue of their simplicity. The content; on the other hand; is surprising; since it gives the consumers advice on relationships. The texts are built up as humorously formulated letters with rules on how to behave to achieve success with the opposite sex.

Gender jokes may be categorised as divisive or subversive; the first type sorting people into "us" and "them"; the latter poking fun at social myths; in this case women and men. A gender analysis constructing the subtext shows that women are presented as weak; sulky; angry; and difficult to understand; while men are stingy; clumsy; crude; and difficult to handle. The texts suggest that women; and above all men; must dissemble in order to live up to their partner’s or would-be partner’s expectations. The text loses a lot of its humour when we see the subtext. The unflattering image of men and women exploits people in an offensive way. Someone might object that these are ironic texts which mock stereotyped gender roles; but the overall impression is that the jokes are not sufficiently exaggerated or funny for an ironic interpretation to be the obvious choice.


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Arlas hemsida:

Bing; Janet; 1999: Gendered Jokes: Building boundaries or subverting sexism. Department of English; Old Dominion University:

Byrman; Gunilla & Hultén; Britt; 2000: ”Varför många företagsledare bär damunderkläder”. Inledning till en diskussion om genus och sakprosa. Manus under arbete: Växjö och Stockholm.

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Hansen; Erik; 1965: Reklamesprog; Köpenhamn.

Hellspong; Lennart & Ledin; Per; 1997: Vägar genom texten. Handbok i brukstextsanalys. Studentlitteratur; Lund.

Mr Funny Bone Internationell:

Leifs och Lenas hemsida:

Leifs och Lenas brevrådgivning:

Pettersson; Gertrud; 1974: Reklamsvenska. Studier över varumärkesannonser från 1950- och 60-talen. Lundastudier i nordisk språkvetenskap serie A nr 27. Studentlitteratur; Lund.

von Wright; Moira; 1998: Genus och text. När kan man tala om jämställdhet i fysiskläromedel? Projektet Jämställdhet. Skolverket; Stockholm.

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