Sweden Moves Towards Gender Neutrality [Support Thread]

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Holy shit! What is this thing? Where am I?
Is this thread real?
You guys do realise that this thing has not changed ANYTHING except that there is now a "hipster" stereotype of parents that get a bit upset when their child gets called him or her.

The ONLY thing this word have managed to do is give us a new slurr to call people that look a bit inbetween genders. Hell it's barely even used for that. I might aswell add that the word has been around for aslong as I can remember and I can hardly see how adding it to the swedish dictionary is big news in anywho, why or way.
Oh, and you should probably thank/blame Yohio for this entire thingy, since this whole thing did mysteriously pop-up around the same time he did.

Dirty Hipsters:

Also, "hen" seems a rather poor choice for a gender neutral word. If they were looking for a word that resembled "han" and "hon" then why not "hin" or "hun"?

That just.. doesn't sound right in Swedish.

Aramis Night:

*snip*

Biology did create the original social conditioning, and the chemical broth that men and women are individually subjected to create very different minds. However, I would argue that social conditioning plays a huge role. Humans have not evolved very much in 1,000 years (as evolution takes a much longer period of time), yet society has changed immensely over that time period. If human social factors are mainly caused by biology, then society should be more or less the same (with the exception of an ever rising level of technology). And this is certainly not the case.

We can also see the importance of social conditioning through various cultures. Tribes in Eastern Africa, for example, have a rite of manhood in which severe scarring is done to the back in order to imitate the scales of the crocodile. Self-injury is completely against every natural biological instinct, yet the people regard it as a point of pride to receive such scars. That is, the social pressure of attributing manliness to this scarring overcomes the biological urges of self preservation (not saying that this scarring is bad, just using it as an example).

And I agree with the fact that no person can "decide" for another person whether they should indulge in his/her own nature. However, that choice is currently being made for people. Girls are encouraged to do girly things, while boys are encouraged to do manly things. Girls are supposed to be sensitive and caring, while boys are supposed to bottle up emotions and compete with one another. While these undoubtedly do have biological roots based on the chemical facts of testosterone and estrogen, society amplifies their effect. Driven by images and a social standard of "beauty," women are driven to starving themselves far beyond what is biological healthy (or even biologically attractive). Driven by social standards of scoring=manliness, men spend tons of effort to pursue and sleep with women. While desiring sex is biologically driven, the social stigma of being a male virgin (or a female non-virgin) is definitely not.

By declaring a gender neutral term, the government can reduce these effects, or at least provide an optional identity. However, whether or not this will be effective at all will have to be seen.

Genocidicles:

I also think it's ridiculous one school took away the toy cars because the boys preferred them. Letting the kids choose is fine, but taking away their choice because it's 'normal' is fucking stupid.

"Think of the children, we must protect them from themselves and things that might harm their minds or bodies" -- random politically correct overprotective person.

It's the same kind of protection thinking that ruined playing baseball at recess 16 years ago when I was in 5th or 6th grade(can't remember which).

Kids like me, then, who had their own baseball bats and baseballs, brought them to school(because there was no rule against it, since they were seen as items for recreation at recess), and got together on one of the school's baseball fields and pitched to each other during recess.

That was until one kid got hit by a ball in the leg and got a bruise. From then on out, we were told that we weren't allowed to bring sporting equipment to school, that the school would provide a safe alternative. The next day we were given a insanely thin and light plastic bat and hollow plastic ball(so bad it was almost comical if it wasn't so sad), probably something the school bought for at most 50 cents together at a dollar store back in the day. The ball was so light that if you stand the normal space between batter and pitcher, no matter how hard we threw the ball, it would only make it half the distance on the best throw. Heck, even throwing the ball into a light breeze would practically blow the ball right back into our hands. So, we tried having the batter throw the ball up and hitting it that way, and also with that, no matter how hard the ball was hit, it wouldn't even make it the distance to the pitcher.

Because of this, the fun of baseball at recess officially died. Oh, and it also killed basketball at recess too, they replaced the basketballs with small inflatable beach balls.

Because of stupid political correctness and protectionism(as I'm going to call it), the phrase "officially died" will be used in tandem with many things that use to be fun and normal and really harmed no one(offense and injuries every once in awhile don't count as being a need for change and protection).

Edit: Oh, and on the topic. This would be confusing for English speakers, because "hen" is of course a female chicken/bird.

The notion is a bit silly I feel. I don't quite get the intention or what perceived injustice this plans to rectify. Just seems needless.

Desert Punk:
This is utterly silly. and the removal of toys is stupid to boot.

Also I got a good laugh out of the "No other opinions!" disclaimer at the bottom.

Ilikemilkshake:

ANYWAY... I don't have much to add about the topic other than it makes me pretty happy and I wish something like that would be done here in Britain.

The english version is saying 'one' or 'they'

Gendered Example: "If he agrees, he is more than welcome to stay."
Genderless Example: "If one agrees, they are more than welcome to stay."

I hate to be that guy, but that is actually grammatically incorrect. "They" would be describing a plural subject, whereas "one" would be a singular subject. I can't honestly think of a clean way of using a gender-less example of that sentence. So, I can see that actual use for having a gender neutral word simply for grammatical reasons.

OT: While, as I said above, this does some useful for politically correct Grammar Nazis, but in terms of actually achieving equality in terms of legal and social rights and respect, this isn't exactly the way to go. There are differences between the sexes, and ignoring that is just downright stupid. All people deserve tolerance, the same rights, and the same amount of respect you'd give anyone(until proven to deserve more or less), but we shouldn't assume everyone is exactly the same. I can understand the reasoning behind deconstructivism, but I don't see it as a viable solution.

And also, I really hope I read it correctly in that you only wanted people to at least be calm and respectful in their posts, even if it was a dissenting opinion. If you really just don't want any dissenting opinion at all, I don't think that's the point of a discussion topic, to only talk about how great this idea sounds. It just seems like we'd be patting ourselves on our own backs, even if we were lying.

The whole "but men and women are DIFFERENT, why do we need a genderless pronoun!" kneejerk moan is extremely silly and doesn't get any more clever the more times people bust it out.

There are plenty of situations in which the gender of the individual being discussed is unknown, irrelevant, or theoretical. For those situations it's convenient to have a grammatical construction that reflects that, rather than defaulting to male or resorting to awkward convoluted phrasing.

I like gender. I like that I can identify strongly with one gender(as opposed to sex, which is biological) and that my partner can identify strongly with one gender.
The only problems arise when gender is used as a basis of bias and debasement. We should focus on eliminating these problems, not on eliminating gender. Gender brings richness into the world, and difference, which should be celebrated, not feared.
These steps feel like me a measure to homogenize culture and people.

Abomination:

Casual Shinji:
Gender neutral words and toys!? Wha-... why?

When did it happen that being called 'he' or 'she' is suddenly not done?

Looks like worldpeace can only be achieved by forcing everyone to be the same. No distinction, no flavor, just a saltless grey society.

We must force an Equilibrium.

Then we can use math to shoot each other.

Good on Sweden for introducing a gender neutral word? I'll pass though, prefer to be called male.

Perfect, I thought about referencing that movie, as that is what this move made me think of!

Prosis:

Aramis Night:

*snip*

Biology did create the original social conditioning, and the chemical broth that men and women are individually subjected to create very different minds. However, I would argue that social conditioning plays a huge role. Humans have not evolved very much in 1,000 years (as evolution takes a much longer period of time), yet society has changed immensely over that time period. If human social factors are mainly caused by biology, then society should be more or less the same (with the exception of an ever rising level of technology). And this is certainly not the case.

We can also see the importance of social conditioning through various cultures. Tribes in Eastern Africa, for example, have a rite of manhood in which severe scarring is done to the back in order to imitate the scales of the crocodile. Self-injury is completely against every natural biological instinct, yet the people regard it as a point of pride to receive such scars. That is, the social pressure of attributing manliness to this scarring overcomes the biological urges of self preservation (not saying that this scarring is bad, just using it as an example).

And I agree with the fact that no person can "decide" for another person whether they should indulge in his/her own nature. However, that choice is currently being made for people. Girls are encouraged to do girly things, while boys are encouraged to do manly things. Girls are supposed to be sensitive and caring, while boys are supposed to bottle up emotions and compete with one another. While these undoubtedly do have biological roots based on the chemical facts of testosterone and estrogen, society amplifies their effect. Driven by images and a social standard of "beauty," women are driven to starving themselves far beyond what is biological healthy (or even biologically attractive). Driven by social standards of scoring=manliness, men spend tons of effort to pursue and sleep with women. While desiring sex is biologically driven, the social stigma of being a male virgin (or a female non-virgin) is definitely not.

By declaring a gender neutral term, the government can reduce these effects, or at least provide an optional identity. However, whether or not this will be effective at all will have to be seen.

To respond to your first paragraph: Your making the assumption that we have been behaving as well as our brains will allow at every point in human history. I see it more as we are trying to catch up to our biology. I believe we are actually behind the curve in our social attitudes vs. our biology rather than the other way around. Like you said, we haven't changed much in evolutionary terms in the last 1000 yrs. The fact that we can point backwards through further than the last 1000 yrs and point to people who were clearly rather intelligent even by today's standards is my evidence(Plato and Aristotle are a couple great examples).

To your 2nd paragraph: Problem with your idea's about self preservation is it's not the highest biological instinct of our species. Its a close 2nd to sex/procreation. Rites of manhood were a way to show that one was worthy of taking on a wife and the body modification was a show of a willingness to self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice is an important trait for a male to possess to demonstrate mate value as it illustrates a willingness to give to their female/offspring of themselves to insure their continued survival.

To your 3rd paragraph: Gender is a binary. The only way you can argue that it isn't, is if you're focusing on people's junk to determine sexual identity. This is not a satisfactory method of gender identification in more ambiguous cases where the genital's may be altered by physical abnormality. Rather than focus purely on genital's i believe it would be better to simply examine the brain's of any such subject to determine actual gender. I know this will likely offend some of the "choice" crowd and thats not really my intention, but none of us get a choice in what we are. Only in who we are.

As to your point about how we apply social conditioning based on gender role expectations, well yes we do. People tend to make assumption's not because they are lazy or uncaring necessarily but because it is a mental shortcut using the law of averages to determine how to best raise their children. Inevitably, some people will make mistakes in that regard. But people are socially evolving past that. Fewer and fewer parents feel the need to correct their children for moving outside those gender pretexts with each generation. We are moving in the right direction, but its going to take time for everyone to get with that program. It doesn't require new words or gender neutral rules. It is already happening. There is no need to force it. Authorities coming in with this is only going to cause people to 2nd guess this and slow our progress while we deal with backlashes against authority.

Speaking as a man who sometimes has to write letters to people whose identity is unknown I wholly welcome this development.

I just think it would have been better if we'd gone with "citizen [last name]" instead. Just think about it. Think about how cool your name would sound.

That's not how it works.

It's if you don't know if the person is a male or female. Instead of saying "him or her", you say "hen".

We won't start calling guys hen all of a sudden.

Well isn't this ridiculous. I'm sorry but as much as these Tumblr pseudo-activists would like you to believe there aren't, there are definitely two genders and it's normal to be one or the other. Yeah, it's cool and nice and all that shit for a country to officially recognise that there are outliers but I reckon it's a little unnecessary. To me it just screams "teenager looking to be different".

krazykidd:
So what? This is a positive thread only? No place for criticision or opinion? Thus no discussion? Really ? Well that makes this thread pretty ...boring . I was looking for flame wars , but peoples opinion would be nice. Anyways, i think this is silly but since this is a "positive" thread i'll just leave it at that . If i had something positive to say it would be i applaud them on having the courage and will to support change .

Man in a thread like this you can either have a flame war or you can have everyone become a hive mind. It appears, like most threads that hit ten pages, to have spiralled wildly into something barely even recognisable.

The Unworthy Gentleman:

Man in a thread like this you can either have a flame war or you can have everyone become a hive mind. It appears, like most threads that hit ten pages, to have spiralled wildly into something barely even recognisable.

It is true that this thread has progressed far beyond the scope of the mere introduction of a gender neutral word. But as with anything worthy of examination, it is inevitable that the motivations for it are considered. However i would like to point out that this thread has made it into controversial territory at 10 pages and managed to remain fairly civil. Given how these threads do often wind up becoming vicious battlegrounds, I see this as a positive discussion even if we don't all agree. I would not object to another 10 pages as long as that trend continues and i would be curious to see where it goes if it does manage to continue that far.

This is ridiculous, they can't force new pronouns in a language.
EDIT: turns out they've already existed, oh well.

klaynexas3:

Desert Punk:
This is utterly silly. and the removal of toys is stupid to boot.

Also I got a good laugh out of the "No other opinions!" disclaimer at the bottom.

Ilikemilkshake:

ANYWAY... I don't have much to add about the topic other than it makes me pretty happy and I wish something like that would be done here in Britain.

The english version is saying 'one' or 'they'

Gendered Example: "If he agrees, he is more than welcome to stay."
Genderless Example: "If one agrees, they are more than welcome to stay."

I hate to be that guy, but that is actually grammatically incorrect. "They" would be describing a plural subject, whereas "one" would be a singular subject. I can't honestly think of a clean way of using a gender-less example of that sentence. So, I can see that actual use for having a gender neutral word simply for grammatical reasons.

OT: While, as I said above, this does some useful for politically correct Grammar Nazis, but in terms of actually achieving equality in terms of legal and social rights and respect, this isn't exactly the way to go. There are differences between the sexes, and ignoring that is just downright stupid. All people deserve tolerance, the same rights, and the same amount of respect you'd give anyone(until proven to deserve more or less), but we shouldn't assume everyone is exactly the same. I can understand the reasoning behind deconstructivism, but I don't see it as a viable solution.

And also, I really hope I read it correctly in that you only wanted people to at least be calm and respectful in their posts, even if it was a dissenting opinion. If you really just don't want any dissenting opinion at all, I don't think that's the point of a discussion topic, to only talk about how great this idea sounds. It just seems like we'd be patting ourselves on our own backs, even if we were lying.

Well, I hate to be that guy...
Actually, scratch that, I love being that guy:
http://www.cracked.com/blog/7-commonly-corrected-grammar-errors-that-arent-mistakes/
bla bla, 600 years of "they" being used this way by authors and non-authors alike, bla bla, assaulting ducks, bla bla, unknown assailant, bla.

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=89
Less ducks being assaulted, but a better overall essay on how using "they" for singular subjects of unknown gender is perfectly alright.

klaynexas3:

Desert Punk:
This is utterly silly. and the removal of toys is stupid to boot.

Also I got a good laugh out of the "No other opinions!" disclaimer at the bottom.

Ilikemilkshake:

ANYWAY... I don't have much to add about the topic other than it makes me pretty happy and I wish something like that would be done here in Britain.

The english version is saying 'one' or 'they'

Gendered Example: "If he agrees, he is more than welcome to stay."
Genderless Example: "If one agrees, they are more than welcome to stay."

I hate to be that guy, but that is actually grammatically incorrect. "They" would be describing a plural subject, whereas "one" would be a singular subject. I can't honestly think of a clean way of using a gender-less example of that sentence. So, I can see that actual use for having a gender neutral word simply for grammatical reasons.

Not really, the correct sentence would be "If one agrees, one is more than welcome to stay." Just keep it in the indefinite singular article.

I'm really not a fan of this move by Sweden, not the grammar part, but children's education, books and toys. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
I, for one, think that gender and difference and variety are the spice of life. I am completely against the homogenization of culture, which I am afraid may happen in Sweden now. It may not be a bad thing...hell, it may even be a good thing, but it will definitely be a boring thing, and I do not want to see a more boring world!

Swede here.
I thought it was only one school that started forcing the students to adress everyone as "hen". If anything this is just a fad campain that won't go anywhere. Wouldn't even know how to bend the word. "Hennes" is already the bent form of "hon"(her car = hennes bil). It would probably be bent as "hens", but that just sounds like "höns"(chicken).

No, I don't support it and I haven't met any other Swede who has thought it was a good idea. Gender equality is great, in most cases, but neutrality won't help for shit and even if people doesn't like it men and women are different in many ways.

Also, it seems like many Swedes are picking on Stockholm in this thread. I live there and have never heard this word in use. We don't live in a protective bubble. We laugh as much at this word as you do. Stop moving here, it's crowded.

My husband and I agreed last year that if Romney became president, we would move there. But Sweden just sounds better and better every day... I think we might just save up and move there anyway <.<;;

EDIT: To the person above me: We'll choose some place less crowded :P

Winterfel:
Holy shit! What is this thing? Where am I?
Is this thread real?
You guys do realise that this thing has not changed ANYTHING except that there is now a "hipster" stereotype of parents that get a bit upset when their child gets called him or her.

The ONLY thing this word have managed to do is give us a new slurr to call people that look a bit inbetween genders. Hell it's barely even used for that. I might aswell add that the word has been around for aslong as I can remember and I can hardly see how adding it to the swedish dictionary is big news in anywho, why or way.
Oh, and you should probably thank/blame Yohio for this entire thingy, since this whole thing did mysteriously pop-up around the same time he did.

(Another swede here.)
You're pretty spot on (you are a swede I assume?)

The general opinion (at least where I live) is that "hen" is a silly thing by silly, overzealous parents. While I can see the use for a term for when you don't know the gender, the only time I've actually used it was when joking about Yohio during Melodifestivalen (the video).

This is the first time I've heard anything about the word actually getting introduced into schools and kinda worries me since one of the things I appreciate about Sweden is the fact that we don't do things are, well, stupid.

It's a word for when you don't know someone's gender or the gender isn't important, a lot of people who are up in arms seem to be making it out to be more than that.

Another Swede here. And well, barely anyone but feminists (like active feminists, that are really full-front about issues with gender and gender roles and those things) actually use "hen" seriously. Most people just say "him" "her" "it" "that" "him or her" instead and just sneeze at the word. Some use it as a joke like "Heh, now there's a real hen" about masuline looking women or feminime men.

There was an article about some stupid like changing the word "man" to "en". "Man" here is both used as "Markus är en man" = "Markus is a man" and "Man kan bli törstig" = "One can get thirsty". They wanted to change it because of reinforcing gender roles or something stupid. Thankfully it never caught on.

SecretNegative:

There was an article about some stupid like changing the word "man" to "en". "Man" here is both used as "Markus är en man" = "Markus is a man" and "Man kan bli törstig" = "One can get thirsty". They wanted to change it because of reinforcing gender roles or something stupid. Thankfully it never caught on.

:-/

Sorry, but it is sexist if the generic word for "person" is "man" in your language. Also it kinda breaks my heart to see that it was just taken and ironically used as another way to reinforce gender roles. Things like that make me wonder why I stick up for humanity.

EDIT: I'm actually disappointed at all the Swedes who think this is "silly". I was given to understand you guys were better than this at the whole "progressiveness" business.

OhJohnNo:

SecretNegative:

There was an article about some stupid like changing the word "man" to "en". "Man" here is both used as "Markus är en man" = "Markus is a man" and "Man kan bli törstig" = "One can get thirsty". They wanted to change it because of reinforcing gender roles or something stupid. Thankfully it never caught on.

:-/

Sorry, but it is sexist if the generic word for "person" is "man" in your language. Also it kinda breaks my heart to see that it was just taken and ironically used as another way to reinforce gender roles. Things like that make me wonder why I stick up for humanity.

EDIT: I'm actually disappointed at all the Swedes who think this is "silly". I was given to understand you guys were better than this at the whole "progressiveness" business.

Calling shit progressive does not make it progressive. It is out right silly, and is going on try to hard, like you need to act, and make change, just because. What ever cause they are doing, is getting torpedo to oblivion. Also isn't Sweden the country that went for all this gender equality, ridding of gender identity shit, and then turn to find out that women were picking their gender roles anyway.

OhJohnNo:

:-/

Sorry, but it is sexist if the generic word for "person" is "man" in your language. Also it kinda breaks my heart to see that it was just taken and ironically used as another way to reinforce gender roles. Things like that make me wonder why I stick up for humanity.

It's only sexist if you go out of your way to get offended by these things. The French language for instance is extremely masculine but you don't see women riot, because they don't care. For people it's just how the language is and they don't over-think it.

Honestly it's stupid and silly in one way, trying to remove gender... Should I perhaps start to apologize for having a dick?

In another way it's good, it opens up for letting kids choose what they want to play with because I believe that leads to more acceptance of being "different" and then maybe a bit less hate in the world :-)

I do however refuse to be called "hen" I have a dick and called male and the sex I'm interested in has vaginas and called women. There's a few hermaphrodites and some claim to be sexless but the vast majority is either male or female, and word play can not change that... We are how ever equals (in most ways) and no one should be called/treated "bad/stupid/etc" for what they have between their legs.

Oh and for the interested most of the times "hen" could be exchanged for other "sexless" words, (de, dem, dom, den, det for example)... Only time it couldn't be changed is when talking about "hen" as a word....

generals3:

It's only sexist if you go out of your way to get offended by these things. The French language for instance is extremely masculine but you don't see women riot, because they don't care. For people it's just how the language is and they don't over-think it.

Oh, it's not offensive. It's more just baggage left over from another time, with different attitudes and prejudices.

Don't get me wrong, it's no more consciously sexist than is any Cracked article about how Theodore Roosevelt was "manly". But it does enforce gender roles.

XDravond:
There's a few hermaphrodites and some claim to be sexless but the vast majority is either male or female, and word play can not change that...

Surely you should respect their wishes to be called what they want? "Hen" would be a good development for them.

OhJohnNo:

Oh, it's not offensive. It's more just baggage left over from another time, with different attitudes and prejudices.

Don't get me wrong, it's no more consciously sexist than is any Cracked article about how Theodore Roosevelt was "manly". But it does enforce gender roles.

No it does not.

I dare to say Sweden is quite progressive in gender equality (in fact, we have quite a bit too many overzealous people regarding this issue) and yet we still have those things. It's kind of like how "man" or "mankind" is short for "humanity" and "humankind". It's just words that doesn't mean anything.

Saying it "reinforces" gender roles is just plain silly.

OhJohnNo:

:-/

Sorry, but it is sexist if the generic word for "person" is "man" in your language. Also it kinda breaks my heart to see that it was just taken and ironically used as another way to reinforce gender roles. Things like that make me wonder why I stick up for humanity.

EDIT: I'm actually disappointed at all the Swedes who think this is "silly". I was given to understand you guys were better than this at the whole "progressiveness" business.

Eh, it's only sexist if you make it sexist. Any sophisticated culture could distinguish between the word "man" as used to mean, well, man and "man" used to refer to a similar meaning as the english "one". For example, our word for "the lawn" could actually mean "the lawn." It could be referring to a mythical creature. (Roughly a garden gnome). But you would have to be "less intellectually advantaged" to not understand the difference when used in a sentence.

As for your disappointment, well. It is a silly word that not only has no need but also doesn't fit into the language. How would you bend it for example? The way we currently bend the words for man and female is: (Male) Han, Hans, Honom. (Female). Hon, hennes, henne. How does one "bend" Hen? I've seen it bent as "Hen, hens, henom" but that is the masculine way of bending it. And having a gender neutral word is kind of negated by having it be bent in the masculine fashion. It becomes a more pretentious way of saying "Han".

Atrocious Joystick:

OhJohnNo:

:-/

Sorry, but it is sexist if the generic word for "person" is "man" in your language. Also it kinda breaks my heart to see that it was just taken and ironically used as another way to reinforce gender roles. Things like that make me wonder why I stick up for humanity.

EDIT: I'm actually disappointed at all the Swedes who think this is "silly". I was given to understand you guys were better than this at the whole "progressiveness" business.

Eh, it's only sexist if you make it sexist. Any sophisticated culture could distinguish between the word "man" as used to mean, well, man and "man" used to refer to a similar meaning as the english "one". For example, our word for "the lawn" could actually mean "the lawn." It could be referring to a mythical creature. (Roughly a garden gnome). But you would have to be "less intellectually advantaged" to not understand the difference when used in a sentence.

As for your disappointment, well. It is a silly word that not only has no need but also doesn't fit into the language. How would you bend it for example? The way we currently bend the words for man and female is: (Male) Han, Hans, Honom. (Female). Hon, hennes, henne. How does one "bend" Hen? I've seen it bent as "Hen, hens, henom" but that is the masculine way of bending it. And having a gender neutral word is kind of negated by having it be bent in the masculine fashion. It becomes a more pretentious way of saying "Han".

That last part is certainly a valid concern - as much as I admire the sentiment, it seems like they should have put more thought into this.

It also doesn't help that I don't know any Swedish, or anything that resembles any Swedish, so I'm kind of out of my depth here. :p I'm also quite tired, so I'll drop my point here.

SecretNegative:
*snippism*

For the record, I have always thought "mankind" seemed a bit of an odd term.

Atrocious Joystick:
Eh, it's only sexist if you make it sexist. Any sophisticated culture could distinguish between the word "man" as used to mean, well, man and "man" used to refer to a similar meaning as the english "one". For example, our word for "the lawn" could actually mean "the lawn." It could be referring to a mythical creature. (Roughly a garden gnome). But you would have to be "less intellectually advantaged" to not understand the difference when used in a sentence.

As for your disappointment, well. It is a silly word that not only has no need but also doesn't fit into the language. How would you bend it for example? The way we currently bend the words for man and female is: (Male) Han, Hans, Honom. (Female). Hon, hennes, henne. How does one "bend" Hen? I've seen it bent as "Hen, hens, henom" but that is the masculine way of bending it. And having a gender neutral word is kind of negated by having it be bent in the masculine fashion. It becomes a more pretentious way of saying "Han".

Indeed, just like words like "lift" or "mean" in english, multiple meanings but the same exact word but how many think the "what I mean is..." is in any way related to a different use such as "to be mean". To use another example from swedish, few people, who didn't just hit puberty, ever give much thought to the fact that we use the word "sex" for both sex and the number six.

As you, and many other have pointed out, the word "hen" will never get anywhere since it simply can not be bent in any reasonable way and when used in place of "han" or "hon" it just kind of sounds stupid. I've only seen "hen" used in place of han or hon in cases where the gender of whomever (actual or more often hypothetical person) was being talked about was unknown.

Another swede here, and I'm very positive of the word, I know a lot of people that think it is forced, a few that out right hates it but also a lot of people that just thinks it is a nice addition to our language because whether you like it or not it covers a missing spot in our language and I saw a list the other day that demonstrates this very well.
Gender neutral words have always existed, just not a good comparison to he and she.

Pojkvän (Boyfriend)
Pappa (Dad)
Bror (Brother)
Han (He)

Flickvän (Girlfriend)
Mamma (Mom)
Syster (Sister)
Hon (She)

Partner (Partner)
Förälder (Parent)
Syskon (Sibling)
Hen old concept, new word!

and it really isn't about changing your personal gender identity, I find it to be a respectful reinforcer of my personal identity actually, if a person doesn't know what gender I am I must say I'd find it more offensive if I was assumed to be a man just because the other person lacks a good neutral alternative.

Sounds silly to me. Then again, if it's only applied when the gender is unknown, it would always sound silly to me because everything in my language has a sex, 2 versions of the same word, one for men, one for women. Even inanimate objects have "genders". GRAMMATICAL EQUALITY!

Well there you go, I just fixed everything. Forget the HEN thing, just change the whole language to accomodate 89928734 new words.

SecretNegative:
I dare to say Sweden is quite progressive in gender equality (in fact, we have quite a bit too many overzealous people regarding this issue) and yet we still have those things. It's kind of like how "man" or "mankind" is short for "humanity" and "humankind". It's just words that doesn't mean anything.

If it doesn't mean anything, why are so many men and boys flipping shit over the idea of masculine words NOT being the grammatical default? So many comments here getting agitated about the idea, and saying things like a few posts above you, "Should I perhaps start to apologize for having a dick?"

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