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Life without male and female, boys and girls, men and women. Just people....

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Sweden’s New Gender-Neutral Pronoun: Hen

A country tries to banish gender.

Leklust catalog, Sweden
Leklust catalog, Sweden

By most people’s standards, Sweden is a paradise for liberated women. It has the highest proportion of working women in the world, and women earn about two-thirds of all degrees. Standard parental leave runs at 480 days, and 60 of those days are reserved exclusively for dads, causing some to credit the country with forging the way for a new kind of nurturing masculinity. In 2010, the World Economic Forum designated Sweden as the most gender-equal country in the world.

But for many Swedes, gender equality is not enough. Many are pushing for the Nordic nation to be not simply gender-equal but gender-neutral. The idea is that the government and society should tolerate no distinctions at all between the sexes. This means on the narrow level that society should show sensitivity to people who don't identify themselves as either male or female, including allowing any type of couple to marry. But that’s the least radical part of the project. What many gender-neutral activists are after is a society that entirely erases traditional gender roles and stereotypes at even the most mundane levels.

Activists are lobbying for parents to be able to choose any name for their children (there are currently just 170 legally recognized unisex names in Sweden). The idea is that names should not be at all tied to gender, so it would be acceptable for parents to, say, name a girl Jack or a boy Lisa. A Swedish children's clothes company has removed the "boys" and "girls" sections in its stores, and the idea of dressing children in a gender-neutral manner has been widely discussed on parenting blogs. This Swedish toy catalog recently decided to switch things around, showing a boy in a Spider-Man costume pushing a pink pram, while a girl in denim rides a yellow tractor.

The Swedish Bowling Association has announced plans to merge male and female bowling tournaments in order to make the sport gender-neutral. Social Democrat politicians have proposed installing gender-neutral restrooms so that members of the public will not be compelled to categorize themselves as either ladies or gents. Several preschools have banished references to pupils' genders, instead referring to children by their first names or as "buddies." So, a teacher would say "good morning, buddies" or "good morning, Lisa, Tom, and Jack" rather than, "good morning, boys and girls." They believe this fulfills the national curriculum's guideline that preschools should "counteract traditional gender patterns and gender roles" and give girls and boys "the same opportunities to test and develop abilities and interests without being limited by stereotypical gender roles."

Earlier this month, the movement for gender neutrality reached a milestone: Just days after International Women's Day a new pronoun, hen (pronounced like the bird in English), was added to the online version of the country’s National Encyclopedia. The entry defines hen as a "proposed gender-neutral personal pronoun instead of he [han in Swedish] and she [hon]."The National Encyclopedia announcement came amid a heated debate about gender neutrality that has been raging in Swedish newspaper columns and TV studios and on parenting blogs and feminist websites. It was sparked by the publication of Sweden's first ever gender-neutral children's book, Kivi och Monsterhund (Kivi and Monsterdog). It tells the story of Kivi, who wants a dog for "hen's" birthday. The male author, Jesper Lundqvist, introduces several gender-neutral words in the book. For instance the words mammor and pappor (moms and dads) are replaced with mappor and pammor.

to read the rest:

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/04/hen_sweden_s_new_gender_neutral_pronoun_causes_controversy_.html


by on May. 3, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Replies (21-30):
BeachMommy07
by on May. 4, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Wonderful so will the bathrooms be for BOTH men and women too? (insert sarcasm here)

rfurlongg
by on May. 4, 2012 at 8:13 AM
2 moms liked this
From my understanding it is not about eliminating sex (male / female) but about neutralizing gender. Gender are social constructs, the "boxes" we put people in. Boys like cars, girls like dolls etc...

It will be an interesting social experiment, but I believe it will take at least a generation to see the begining results of this experiment.
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singlemom1208
by on May. 4, 2012 at 8:17 AM
I think it's silly and they have "legal" names. Wtf?!

Quoting muslimahpj:


Quoting 1Giovanni:

Am I the only one thinks this is a bad idea. I mean there is a reason why there is men and women. I like being a women, have no issues with my gender.

No, Im right there with you.

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yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on May. 4, 2012 at 8:22 AM
1 mom liked this

 Well YUCK.  I liked being a girl and I like being a woman.  I enjoy being married to a man and I am very satisfied with my 2 perfect little boys. 

Why would people even consider doing this?  Males and females are vastly different and those differences compliment each other....two halves to make a whole..

candlegal
by Judy on May. 4, 2012 at 8:34 AM

so do I and actually the U.S. has been working on this same thing for many years.  It is just happening slower here and hopefully won't be in my lifetime.

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 Well YUCK.  I liked being a girl and I like being a woman.  I enjoy being married to a man and I am very satisfied with my 2 perfect little boys. 

Why would people even consider doing this?  Males and females are vastly different and those differences compliment each other....two halves to make a whole..


singlemom1208
by on May. 4, 2012 at 8:37 AM
That stuck out to me too. Socialism is a scary thing.

Quoting wickedfiress:

I don't have an issue with them removing the stereotypical imagery from advertisements, or removal of segregated shopping areas for clothing.

What struck me as odd is the part about having to "legally recognize" a name as 'gender neutral'.... so is there a law there stating that Michael is a boys name, and you can not name your daughter that? Or that Lisa is a girls name and you can't name your son that?  Unless it's one of the "legally recognized unisex" names?  What?

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Tanya93
by on May. 4, 2012 at 8:39 AM

no thank you

romalove
by Roma on May. 4, 2012 at 8:42 AM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting rfurlongg:

From my understanding it is not about eliminating sex (male / female) but about neutralizing gender. Gender are social constructs, the "boxes" we put people in. Boys like cars, girls like dolls etc...

It will be an interesting social experiment, but I believe it will take at least a generation to see the begining results of this experiment.

 Men and women are biologically different and to not recognize those differences is to give women a physical disadvantage.  Can women compete with men in sports?  Maybe here and there one can, but in general, their musculature (and ours) are sufficiently different to put us at a huge disadvantage. 

The goal should be that men and women are unique and different but equal in all of their differences.

This is just stupidity.

SLTmom
by Silver Member on May. 4, 2012 at 8:44 AM
I think the world can move toward gender equality without resorting to the ridiculous.
_Bama_
by on May. 4, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Good lord.....

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