Sweden Moves Towards Gender Neutrality [Support Thread]

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Teshi:
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?"

It's not about the word itself. In English, the word equivalent to "hen" is "they," as in: If a person jumps of a cliff, they will likely die. No one is complaining about that. If this was all about the word, no one would care, although since Swedish has its own version of "they," it's unnecessary anyway.

I can sympathise with those who are opposed to the idea of changing words. It'd be like insisting that "history" be changed to "theirstory" to remove the masculine implication. Bottom line, it doesn't make any difference, it's just inconvenient to change something because a certain group of people feel that it somehow discriminates them. You can make equally valid and equally pointless arguments about something like "wife-beater."

What Sweden is doing is attempting to eradicate the differences between the genders, pretending that genders are merely a social construct that can be eradicated by having boys play with dolls in toy catalogues, as if biology suddenly doesn't apply any more.

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.

Yeah your right. How dare those Swedes think for themselves and not by into this nonsense, they should be trying to conform to what you think is right.

....not

The pathway to Hell is paved with good intentions...

Might have been said already, but the Finnish language have never had a word for "he / han", or "she / hon" - we have always used the word "Hän" which would mean in English then "it" or "one" whichever was discussed, or as they are implementing in Sweden now, the word "Hen"

So it's hard to understand what the fuss is about, considering all of Finland have survived so long without a "he/she" word. :)

I really don't see the point of this and think what is wrong with saying him/her are those who proposed this ashamed of their gender? I feel this course of action is stepping around a pothole to then fall off a cliff. I'd be more offended if you didn't acknowledge my gender. Yes gender equality is good, but there ARE differences between genders (brain chemistry for one thing). There should be no issue if your doing something whether you are a man or a woman but equality is only achieved when it doesn't matter not when trying to sidestep the issue by using a different set of words.

Now with the word 'hen' to me that means a gathering of women after all we have hen party's and stag do's so I have to say from an english speaking perpective not the best word to use for gender neutrality.

I may get a warning for this post but I'd rather promote discussion than have a topic full of yes-men (ok here we might need a gender neutral word for this particular word, though I like toady).

Teshi:

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?"

See, it's here that you made your first mistake, you assumed I necessarily want masuline words to be the standard, which si completly wrong. I have no issue addres´sing the clock as a she, or mankind for that matter. In Swedish, we usually say something like "Humans have always been dangerous since she discovered fire" and thus having a standard human being a she. Do I have trouble with this? Nope. Would I have if we'd change it because of gender roles? Yes.

Personally, I can't stand this sort of excessive naval gazing from the "-ism" Taliban. I find it breathtaking anyone could be so arrogant as to believe they have a right to impose their niche beliefs on an entire language or society. Still, checking out the links, it is clearly one of those "point and laugh at the extremists" news items that crops up and can be safely ignored.

Chatney:
What Sweden is doing is attempting to eradicate the differences between the genders, pretending that genders are merely a social construct that can be eradicated by having boys play with dolls in toy catalogues, as if biology suddenly doesn't apply any more.

Frostbyte666:
Yes gender equality is good, but there ARE differences between genders (brain chemistry for one thing).

I feel like I'm picking on a couple of posts in response to a whole thread of bad, misinforming posts, but since that's pretty much all I can do in an 11 page monstrosity like this.

No.

Firstly, that's a misuse of the term "gender". If there were differences in brain chemistry or "biology" between men and women, those would be differences between the "sexes". Gender refers to the social dynamics which exist around sex, it does not refer to sex itself.

Secondly, there is one, and only one, meaningful chemical differences between the bodies of men and women, which is that men tend to have higher levels of androgenic hormones. Androgenic hormones don't affect "brain chemistry", they affect the actual development of the brain, although not in ways which are, at this point, particularly quantifiable. We know, for example, that male brains tend to be larger, but this is simply a side-effect of the steroidal function of androgenic hormones. It explains (to an extent) why men seem to be more prone to dementia, but little else.

The notion of hormone-driven neurological differences which translate into behavioral trends, however, is at present completely unproven. It's a popular idea and one which has many supporters (among both scientists and lay people), but it is not in any way scientifically demonstrable at this point. Even the age old assumption that testosterone is linked with aggression is highly, highly disputed and has never been repeatably demonstrated.

..While it is likely that there are some behavioural effects to varying levels of androgenic hormones, the idea that these fit neatly into discreet sexually dimorphic sex differences is highly simplistic. We all have varying levels of androgenic hormones, if these differences exist they will be a natural continuum across our society. Not all men and women will exhibit the same behavioral trends, they will certainly not exhibit identical tendencies towards complex or social behaviors. One of the problems with measuring "aggression" for example, is that it's simply too complicated in terms of how it is socially expressed. Even if testosterone could be shown to link to "aggression", that would not create any kind of behavioral expectation.

So in short, noone, in the 21st century, deserves to be treated as if they have anything in common with anyone else on the basis of their sex. There is no basis in either science or ethics for such a thing.

evilthecat:
Firstly, that's a misuse of the term "gender". If there were differences in brain chemistry or "biology" between men and women, those would be differences between the "sexes". Gender refers to the social dynamics which exist around sex, it does not refer to sex itself.

That's a semantic argument. The secondary meaning of the word gender refers to sex. Even if you were to establish that gender was completely inappropriate in this context, you've proved nothing. I could spend twenty minutes going through your grammar and spelling mistakes and that'd be equally fruitless.

evilthecat:
Secondly, there is one, and only one, meaningful chemical differences between the bodies of men and women, which is that men tend to have higher levels of androgenic hormones. Androgenic hormones don't affect "brain chemistry", they affect the actual development of the brain, although not in ways which are, at this point, particularly quantifiable. We know, for example, that male brains tend to be larger, but this is simply a side-effect of the steroidal function of androgenic hormones. It explains (to an extent) why men seem to be more prone to dementia, but little else.

The notion of hormone-driven neurological differences which translate into behavioral trends, however, is at present completely unproven. It's a popular idea and one which has many supporters (among both scientists and lay people), but it is not in any way scientifically demonstrable at this point. Even the age old assumption that testosterone is linked with aggression is highly, highly disputed and has never been repeatably demonstrated.

..While it is likely that there are some behavioural effects to varying levels of androgenic hormones, the idea that these fit neatly into discreet sexually dimorphic sex differences is highly simplistic. We all have varying levels of androgenic hormones, if these differences exist they will be a natural continuum across our society. Not all men and women will exhibit the same behavioral trends, they will certainly not exhibit identical tendencies towards complex or social behaviors. One of the problems with measuring "aggression" for example, is that it's simply too complicated in terms of how it is socially expressed. Even if testosterone could be shown to link to "aggression", that would not create any kind of behavioral expectation.

For someone who seems to be aware of the highly contested nature of this science, you sure do seem to think yourself somewhat of an expert on the subject. Moreover, what are you even talking about? Your entire post seems to be aimed at a straw man found in neither of the quotes you opened this response with.

Also, you've not succeeded in explaining away the biological differences between the sexes. Last I checked, genetics was still part of biology. It doesn't matter what these differences are, it's really only interesting from an academic perspective or for the sake of medical science and such.

evilthecat:
So in short, noone, in the 21st century, deserves to be treated as if they have anything in common with anyone else on the basis of their sex. There is no basis in either science or ethics for such a thing.

You write that as if someone's suggested otherwise. Feminists and feminist-sympathisers tend to see everyone else as having that belief; because we accept that the genders have differences, we must think that they deserve unequal treatment. That's is a faulty assumption and we're not responsible for what you understand, only for what we say.

So

Basically

Sweden finally has an "It/es" which will most likely just be used to refer to inanimate objects as opposed to the prior Germanesque "er/sie" system?

I'm not sure if I should say "What took them so long" or if I should say it's too far, because of some weird gender thing where it depreciates a person's humanity by merely making them an "It". I can certainly see some pros and cons here, but it seems to carry the implication that it could be used to refer to a person.

And to be frank *I* would feel a bit insulted if I was called "it" because it carries the implication (at least in the English language) that I'm as human as a coffee cup, but then again, maybe Sweden has a significant enough transexual population that this is needed for people who identify as neither (but even then I find it a bit dehumanizing).

I tried to use the word but it just sounds silly when I say it. And as I see it language is about comfortably conveying meaning in the best way. If it doesn't feel natural to say then I don't say it.
I don't say "Tjena" "Grabben" "Gumman" or "Läget" unless I'm being a touch ironic about the use.

Here's roughly how my brain processes it
Male is Han
Female is Hon
M->F becomes Hon
F->M becomes Han
That person/Those people over there - De
That thing - Det
You - Du (Or your name)

And so on and so on, there is no need in my mind for an extra pronoun.
This "Hen" thing is a nice idea but just a little silly.

Chatney:
That's a semantic argument. The secondary meaning of the word gender refers to sex.

No. It doesn't. It only works like that if you are actively claiming that "gender" proceeds directly from sexual differences, which is an incredibly silly thing to argue at this point in time.

There is nothing about "gender" which refers to sex. They are entirely different things, which is why "gender studies" does not encompass the study of sex differences, and why a "sex-role", for example, is a completely different thing from a "gender-role". I recognize that in colloquial usage the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but if you're trying to actually make a point they are not interchangeable. If you use the the wrong term, it completely changes the meaning of what you're saying.

Chatney:
For someone who seems to be aware of the highly contested nature of this science, you sure do seem to think yourself somewhat of an expert on the subject.

More so than people who wheel out grandiose notions of "biology" or "brain chemistry" to support ludicrous social premises, because that's not really contested outside of the pages of Heat magazine.

Chatney:
Moreover, what are you even talking about? Your entire post seems to be aimed at a straw man found in neither of the quotes you opened this response with.

Well, because of the way you phrased your criticism, it doesn't actually mean what you think it means.

"What Sweden is doing is attempting to eradicate the differences between the genders, pretending that genders are merely a social construct that can be eradicated by having boys play with dolls in toy catalogues, as if biology suddenly doesn't apply any more."

What you said here is that the "genders" (the social and behavioural categories of male and female) proceed directly from "biological" sexual differences. There are absolutely no scientific grounds for believing that, in fact it's almost certainly untrue. If it were true, then the last half-century of enormous social change around gendered practices could not have happened.

So is that what you meant, or did you mean to say "sexes", in which case you might need to substantiate precisely how Sweden is attempting to claim that sexes are a social constructs. It has been done, but it's quite a radical position even in academia and I'd be interested to hear about how the Swedish government is attempting to push such a view.

Chatney:
Also, you've not succeeded in explaining away the biological differences between the sexes.

Why would I be trying to do so?

The idea of "sex" actually describes a series of "biological" distinctions between human beings, by using the word "sex" at all you acknowledge that those differences exist. The point is that these cannot be translated cleanly and distinctly into social identification. Anyone claiming they can is either working on flimsy evidence or, more likely, just making shit up.

Thus, if you want your argument to make coherent sense, you need to do one of the following:

a) (if you were actually talking about sex) show how Sweden is attempting to deny the existence of biological sex.
b) (if you were actually talking about gender) to show how any of these "biological" sex differences relate to gender.

If you simply assume that the two things are the same, well, that's not a scientifically supported position in any way shape or form.

Chatney:
Feminists and feminist-sympathisers tend to see everyone else as having that belief; because we accept that the genders have differences, we must think that they deserve unequal treatment. That's is a faulty assumption and we're not responsible for what you understand, only for what we say.

No.

I have not mentioned inequality. I'm sure you believe deeply that you are a champion of social justice and equality. Everyone does.

I'm interested in precisely how you are getting to the notion that the "genders" have quantifiable differences. Because phrased like that it's true, but not in the way you're suggesting at all.

Huh.

This reminds me of the most strawman ("strawwomyn"?) critiques of feminism.

I don't think it actually makes a difference whether you have gender-neutral pronouns, it doesn't necessarily reflect a more equal society. Bear in mind that most European languages don't have a neutral gender (at least, the Romance languages don't, I know German and English do...) but to artificially introduce this is weird, like Mussolini banning the formal 3rd person because he found it "effeminate". ("lei" also means "she" in Italian)

Tagalog (Filipino) and Spanish both have a gender-neutral formal pronoun ("po" and "usted" respectively) and I don't think that this necessarily reflects gender equality in those societies.

Besides, Sweden. Meh.

Kopikatsu:
I think the English language needs a gender neutral pronoun, too. Less embarrassing when addressing someone over the phone whose voice you can't identify, or when speaking to someone that's androgynous, or whatever.

Esotera:

As for English, we already have gender neutral pronouns, although they're rarely used. It can also get a bit confusing when you state 'they' instead of 'he' or 'she' as it implies you're talking about more than one person...

'It' and 'They' are way too clunky to be used as singular pronouns, I think. Plus offensive. I don't think most people would take kindly to be referred to as an 'It'.

Hm, it has the connotation of being either non-human or an object, so I can see why it would be insulting.

OT: Good news and stuff, maybe next we should have unisex bathrooms and disregard clothing rules. I can see bathrooms easily turned into law, but no idea about the clothing stuff...

Benny Blanco:
Huh.

This reminds me of the most strawman ("strawwomyn"?) critiques of feminism.

I don't think it actually makes a difference whether you have gender-neutral pronouns, it doesn't necessarily reflect a more equal society. Bear in mind that most European languages don't have a neutral gender (at least, the Romance languages don't, I know German and English do...) but to artificially introduce this is weird, like Mussolini banning the formal 3rd person because he found it "effeminate". ("lei" also means "she" in Italian)

Tagalog (Filipino) and Spanish both have a gender-neutral formal pronoun ("po" and "usted" respectively) and I don't think that this necessarily reflects gender equality in those societies.

Besides, Sweden. Meh.

Well, one of the purposes of legislation is to set the example, or the standard for what is desired. We have laws against murder, the example is to not kill people (There's a joke in here, tee-hee), but people will still commit murder. The point being the state says "This is what we want our people to be like, we want to move in this direction", even if it's not happening immediately, think of it like long term goal setting.

evilthecat:

Chatney:
What Sweden is doing is attempting to eradicate the differences between the genders, pretending that genders are merely a social construct that can be eradicated by having boys play with dolls in toy catalogues, as if biology suddenly doesn't apply any more.

Frostbyte666:
Yes gender equality is good, but there ARE differences between genders (brain chemistry for one thing).

I feel like I'm picking on a couple of posts in response to a whole thread of bad, misinforming posts, but since that's pretty much all I can do in an 11 page monstrosity like this.

No.

Firstly, that's a misuse of the term "gender". If there were differences in brain chemistry or "biology" between men and women, those would be differences between the "sexes". Gender refers to the social dynamics which exist around sex, it does not refer to sex itself.

Secondly, there is one, and only one, meaningful chemical differences between the bodies of men and women, which is that men tend to have higher levels of androgenic hormones. Androgenic hormones don't affect "brain chemistry", they affect the actual development of the brain, although not in ways which are, at this point, particularly quantifiable. We know, for example, that male brains tend to be larger, but this is simply a side-effect of the steroidal function of androgenic hormones. It explains (to an extent) why men seem to be more prone to dementia, but little else.

The notion of hormone-driven neurological differences which translate into behavioral trends, however, is at present completely unproven. It's a popular idea and one which has many supporters (among both scientists and lay people), but it is not in any way scientifically demonstrable at this point. Even the age old assumption that testosterone is linked with aggression is highly, highly disputed and has never been repeatably demonstrated.

..While it is likely that there are some behavioural effects to varying levels of androgenic hormones, the idea that these fit neatly into discreet sexually dimorphic sex differences is highly simplistic. We all have varying levels of androgenic hormones, if these differences exist they will be a natural continuum across our society. Not all men and women will exhibit the same behavioral trends, they will certainly not exhibit identical tendencies towards complex or social behaviors. One of the problems with measuring "aggression" for example, is that it's simply too complicated in terms of how it is socially expressed. Even if testosterone could be shown to link to "aggression", that would not create any kind of behavioral expectation.

So in short, noone, in the 21st century, deserves to be treated as if they have anything in common with anyone else on the basis of their sex. There is no basis in either science or ethics for such a thing.

You just brought up 3 distinct differences with men and women in regards to our brains. Quantities of androgenic hormone, brain development and brain size. So clearly you do agree that we have brains that are dissimilar from those of the opposite gender. Putting aside all of the mountains of as yet incomplete data sets science is still trying to puzzle out in regards to what this all translates to(and the resulting theories that are still being considered and awaiting further research to either prove or disprove), you are aware and acknowledge that differences do exist. Do you honestly believe that these differences serve no function? I'm willing to consider that possibility, but i admit to finding it an unlikely one. Nature usually has reasons for what it does even if just to experiment.

Now i'm not arguing that these brain differences will necessarily be a causative link to traditionally masculine/feminine behaviour at this stage(maybe, but too early to know for sure). But the physical brain differences themselves do separate us into a nice neat sexual binary. These are defining physical characteristics of our brains that separate us and is reflected in mature brain size. It isn't the result of choice or social conditioning, it simply is. Even those with ambiguous sexual characteristics fall into one or the other when it comes to mature brain size.

Is any of this even a remote justification to treating people differently. Of course not. But i do suspect that many in the "gender is a social construct" crowd are afraid that when scientists do start figuring out more of how these physical brain differences affect human behaviour,they fear that perhaps some discoveries will lead to further generalizations being made against them based on gender which will set them and their hopes for equality back. I don't believe that any such discoveries will do anything except illustrate tradeoffs between genders that are not so extreme as to be insurmountable on either side. We already have numerous physical differences in many other places in our bodies that only affect our relative general aptitudes and often with trade offs with exceptions on both sides overcoming them. And even with all our other physical differences that we acknowledge, we are still moving towards equality.

evilthecat:
...

All right, Don Quixote, I seriously doubt you're worth my time.

seydaman:
OT: Good news and stuff, maybe next we should have unisex bathrooms and disregard clothing rules. I can see bathrooms easily turned into law, but no idea about the clothing stuff...

Unisex bathrooms? Are you mad?!

Have you seen the queues outside women's bathrooms? Why do you want men to suffer that too?!

Aramis Night:
You just brought up 3 distinct differences with men and women in regards to our brains. Quantities of androgenic hormone, brain development and brain size.

Err..

Androgenic hormones (the only one of your example which might theoretically count as "chemistry") are primarily produced in the gonads. It's not a difference in the brain at all. My point is that any differences which do exist between the sexes have to be explainable as the direct product of androgenic and estrogenic hormones. "Gender" is not one of those things.

Aramis Night:
So clearly you do agree that we have brains that are dissimilar from those of the opposite gender.

No, I agree that brains are often dissimilar from those of the opposite sex, but I'll get onto that in a minute.

Just as two men producing different levels of androgenic hormones during development will also have brains which are in some ways dissimilar. It is not a simple binary switch, in this regard. There are many factors which can cause two people's brain development to be dissimilar, none are accorded the social importance of sex/gender.

Aramis Night:
Do you honestly believe that these differences serve no function?

That depends what you mean by "function"..

If what you're saying, however, is that social trends must be explainable through reference to untested assumptions about relatively small neurological differences, then no. I don't accept that and neither should you.

Not every difference between the behavior of human beings manifests simply in the brain. I'm not going to say you couldn't one day find the root causes of certain behavioral trends in the general population, but pretending you can connect the specific social and behavioral roles of men and women to these very slight developmental differences in the brain is ludicrous.

Aramis Night:
But the physical brain differences themselves do separate us into a nice neat sexual binary. These are defining physical characteristics of our brains that separate us and is reflected in mature brain size. It isn't the result of choice or social conditioning, it simply is. Even those with ambiguous sexual characteristics fall into one or the other when it comes to mature brain size.

No. Just.. no..

God, in his infinite wisdom, did not sit on a cloud somewhere and decide that there would be these two categories of people and that they would have different brain size.

What actually happens is that brain size correlates to body size, because the the same mechanism which cause bodies to grow larger also cause their brains to grow larger. In this case, the relatively high levels of androgenic hormones (which are steroids) in the male body lead to increased growth in both the brain and the body in general.

This does not mean that all men have similar brains or that all women have similar brains. It means that men's brains tend to be in proportion with their larger bodies. However, there are many other reasons why people may grow large bodies, which is why some women are still very tall or massive. Those women will generally have brains proportionate to their body size, which does not mean they have "male" brains.

Brain size is not a definitive male trait.

Chatney:
All right, Don Quixote, I seriously doubt you're worth my time.

..Is what I would say if I couldn't answer. Fair enough.

evilthecat:

Aramis Night:
You just brought up 3 distinct differences with men and women in regards to our brains. Quantities of androgenic hormone, brain development and brain size.

Err..

Androgenic hormones (the only one of your example which might theoretically count as "chemistry") are primarily produced in the gonads. It's not a difference in the brain at all. My point is that any differences which do exist between the sexes have to be explainable as the direct product of androgenic and estrogenic hormones. "Gender" is not one of those things.

Aramis Night:
So clearly you do agree that we have brains that are dissimilar from those of the opposite gender.

No, I agree that brains are often dissimilar from those of the opposite sex, but I'll get onto that in a minute.

Just as two men producing different levels of androgenic hormones during development will also have brains which are in some ways dissimilar. It is not a simple binary switch, in this regard. There are many factors which can cause two people's brain development to be dissimilar, none are accorded the social importance of sex/gender.

Aramis Night:
Do you honestly believe that these differences serve no function?

That depends what you mean by "function"..

If what you're saying, however, is that social trends must be explainable through reference to untested assumptions about relatively small neurological differences, then no. I don't accept that and neither should you.

Not every difference between the behavior of human beings manifests simply in the brain. I'm not going to say you couldn't one day find the root causes of certain behavioral trends in the general population, but pretending you can connect the specific social and behavioral roles of men and women to these very slight developmental differences in the brain is ludicrous.

Aramis Night:
But the physical brain differences themselves do separate us into a nice neat sexual binary. These are defining physical characteristics of our brains that separate us and is reflected in mature brain size. It isn't the result of choice or social conditioning, it simply is. Even those with ambiguous sexual characteristics fall into one or the other when it comes to mature brain size.

No. Just.. no..

God, in his infinite wisdom, did not sit on a cloud somewhere and decide that there would be these two categories of people and that they would have different brain size.

What actually happens is that brain size correlates to body size, because the the same mechanism which cause bodies to grow larger also cause their brains to grow larger. In this case, the relatively high levels of androgenic hormones (which are steroids) in the male body lead to increased growth in both the brain and the body in general.

This does not mean that all men have similar brains or that all women have similar brains. It means that men's brains tend to be in proportion with their larger bodies. However, there are many other reasons why people may grow large bodies, which is why some women are still very tall or massive. Those women will generally have brains proportionate to their body size, which does not mean they have "male" brains.

Brain size is not a definitive male trait.

Chatney:
All right, Don Quixote, I seriously doubt you're worth my time.

..Is what I would say if I couldn't answer. Fair enough.

I allowed you to define the parameters of the discussion based on your own observation's and now you are attempting to backpedal out of it. I was willing to settle on your 3 distinctions rather than bring up some of the other known distinctions(number of neurons, ratio of white/grey matter to name a couple). Honestly even one observable distinction is enough to prove that a gender binary does exist. It just seems that now your attempting to twist the observations to prove otherwise when these were your observations in the first place.

While androgenic hormones are not produced in the brain, the fact of what happens to some brains (greater hormone exposure) and less to others is a brain difference. I never made a case as to how it affects it. It is simply a distinction relative to gender that i allowed you to frame without argument.

As to what i mean by "function", I made it clear that i do not know. Not sure how i could have worded that more clearly that i'm not jumping to conclusion's. On the other hand i'm also not choosing to be dismissive by labeling a possible outcome as "ludicrous". science has no room for such biases outside of theory. And typically theories like that tend to be bad ones.

And i'm sorry but bringing up god in a discussion about science is a little out of place don't you think. Biology is not a matter of faith. However now that you have tipped your hand as to the desperation you are willing to go to defend your position by invoking god, i'll just stop discussing this here as i see your position is one your simply unwilling to look past and rationality is not something you are willing to limit yourself to. Good luck to you and your agenda.

evilthecat:
snip

Your ideas are fringe and politically motivated. The idea that "gender" refers strictly to social roles is a modern interpretation and not as universal as you like to think.

"I'm sure you believe deeply that you are a champion of social justice and equality. Everyone does."

The fact that you think so says a lot about your limited view of the world.

Being a Swede, I will never use the word hen. Ever. Unless I'm joking about how silly it is.

It's just a silly word and I don't care.

Darken12:
I would like to thank OhJohnNo for bringing this up to my attention. You deserve all the credit.

I have selected an array of websites that tell the same story from different angles, and focusing on different issues. You may peruse these at your leisure:

From Slate. From Care2. From The Economist.

The highlights reel, for those without the time or inclination to read the full articles:

    * Sweden has incorporated a pronoun ("hen"), which is intended to be gender-neutral (as opposed to "han" and "hon", which are the feminine and masculine pronouns).
    * Sweden does not intend to eliminate masculine and feminine pronouns from use, but to incorporate the gender-neutral pronouns as an alternative when gender is irrelevant (as is in almost every facet of life).
    * Other advances towards gender neutrality include a reformation of pedagogy, the education system, children toys and children books.

This is a cause for celebration for those of us who seek the systematic destruction and deconstruction of gender in society, and these news fill my heart with much-needed hope and joy. It is my sincerest hope that this ushers a new wave of change and progress in the world.

Since I know how these types of threads go and I don't want to see it locked because people can't tolerate divergent opinions, I have one thing to politely request of everyone:

If you vehemently disagree with gender deconstructivism and its goals and you cannot phrase your disagreement politely, neutrally or within the board rules, please hit the back button or close the tab. You are completely free to start your own thread on the matter to bemoan these terrible news.

This thread is intended by me as a positive take on the matter. It is not intended to condemn or derogate these practices, but to show my support. This is a positive thread. Please keep counter opinions or disagreements in polite and measured tones. Thank you.

you know what.....thats just fucking stupid.

Sweden, the nutbar of europe. just put on a hot dog hat and a gender neutral diaper and run around welling "JEELY BEAN MANIA!!!" because that makes as much sense as anything thats ever done in that country.

Also, everyone who has ever learned anything in school knows that true equality is the embrace of differences, not the annihilation of identity.

White_Lama:
Being a Swede, I will never use the word hen. Ever. Unless I'm joking about how silly it is.

It's just a silly word and I don't care.

ironically in english, HEN is a female chicken.

then again, i guess calling everyone 'cock' just wouldnt fly at all.

Ohkaaaay. I am confused. I mean beyond how anyone could possibly think this is a good idea that wont result in what all efforts of politically correct speech always end up doing in creating division and even more hostility than what it was trying to fight, but I do not understand how this would somehow destroy gender in society and why anyone in their right mind would actually want to. Removing a word from public documents is not some how going to alter gender, the functions they serve or its place in society. It is not going to lead magically to some more "enlightened" world because to even attempt to do this requires extensive layers of delusion in order to keep this going.

Here, you really want to make the world a better place? Present an idea that causes people to grow skin thicker than Kleenex so we can call things what they are instead of crafting overly intricate unneeded layers of ineffectual language trying to pretend like differences dont exist because of the cataclysmic tragedy that would result at someone somewhere getting their feelings hurt. THAT would be something worth supporting, and the species would be so much better off for it.

Darken12:

    * Sweden has incorporated a pronoun ("hen"), which is intended to be gender-neutral (as opposed to "han" and "hon", which are the feminine and masculine pronouns).

You know, i really woudl love them to do that here. At least in English you got "it". Here we only have a "He" and "she". so a table would be a "he". This is why i often call inanimate objects he or she here, it just doesnt... translate right.

Jegsimmons:

White_Lama:
Being a Swede, I will never use the word hen. Ever. Unless I'm joking about how silly it is.

It's just a silly word and I don't care.

ironically in english, HEN is a female chicken.

then again, i guess calling everyone 'cock' just wouldnt fly at all.

Yes, in fact if you pop up Northern England, "Hen" is a pretty old school term on endearment for women, similar to "love", "doll" etc. in London. Coincidently this the very sort of harmless, historic liguistic peccadilo that the "-ism" Taliban want to excise from English through social bullying. Is that chap up there honestly arguing that unisex toilets should be legally impelled? I mean really? Quite funny how a tiny minority hijack the language of development("progressive", "advancement") to call for the repressive and aggressive legal imposition of a niche philosophy on to an entire nation's means of communication. I think this is probably the biggest failing of the far left (which is where this nonsense is generated), misguided, zealot-like belief in one's one intellectual and moral superiority leading to a dicatorial desire to impose your unimpeachable beliefs on society. Bigotry is bigotry.

Personally, I think it's best to look at the fruits of a society, culture, or country's actions and track record. According to the first paragraph of the Slate article, I'd say that Sweden seems to be doing something right.

From Slate:
"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."

I would like to see more data on children being raised in "gender neutral" ways once they are grown, to see if it actually reduces things like sexism and conflict between genders. I'll try to be humble enough to admit that I don't *know* what the effects of raising a new generation in a "gender neutral" society would be, so it will be interesting to find out from my perspective.

So far Sweden seems to be doing very well in quality of life, health care, gender equality and dozens of measures of citizen health and happiness. If they wish to embark on this bold new experiment, why not. Also - why would we mind having a gender neutral pronoun for people who want to use one? As people from Finland have been pointing out, they've been using a gender neutral pronoun in their language for quite some time now. Finnish society seems to be functional despite this. ;)

Res Plus:

Jegsimmons:

White_Lama:
Being a Swede, I will never use the word hen. Ever. Unless I'm joking about how silly it is.

It's just a silly word and I don't care.

ironically in english, HEN is a female chicken.

then again, i guess calling everyone 'cock' just wouldnt fly at all.

Yes, in fact if you pop up Northern England, "Hen" is a pretty old school term on endearment for women, similar to "love", "doll" etc. in London. Coincidently this the very sort of harmless, historic liguistic peccadilo that the "-ism" Taliban want to excise from English through social bullying. Is that chap up there honestly arguing that unisex toilets should be legally impelled? I mean really? Quite funny how a tiny minority hijack the language of development("progressive", "advancement") to call for the repressive and aggressive legal imposition of a niche philosophy on to an entire nation's means of communication. I think this is probably the biggest failing of the far left (which is where this nonsense is generated), misguided, zealot-like belief in one's one intellectual and moral superiority leading to a dicatorial desire to impose your unimpeachable beliefs on society. Bigotry is bigotry.

Well,i dont think any nation in europe has a guaranteed right to free speech, so they cant ever say "fuck you" to a politician, something i like doing on a regular basis.

But im tired of everyone trying to make everyone equal, when they only be equal in the sense they have all the basic human rights everyone else does, go too far to make people equal and everyone gets shit on and society falls apart or worse, cultural backlash and you start getting gang or race wars and an increase in hate crimes.
Until society accepts that everyone is on different ground and not where near equal, on a cultural, biological, intellectual, ect basis and actually work WITH them instead of against the OTHER people, then we can have a truly free and equal society.

I don't really see this catching on.
Most people have a gender, So I would think people will still use the gendered pronoun.

That is unless I misread this and it's a plural pronoun, then I can see it catching on.

Aramis Night:
I was willing to settle on your 3 distinctions rather than bring up some of the other known distinctions(number of neurons, ratio of white/grey matter to name a couple).

Larger brain = more neurons. Is that really hard?

The "ratio" of white matter to grey matter is about the same in males and females, meaning that males, in actuality, have more white matter and grey matter (if anything, they tend to have a slightly higher proportion of white matter). The often-misquoted study responsible for this weird internet misunderstanding never claimed otherwise, instead it claimed that the areas responsible for "general intelligence" in women were more heavily composed of white matter.

There are quite a lot of controversial areas in this research, most notably the attempts which have been made to to apply it to cognitive ability, which are generally just outright wrong. It was claimed, for example, that this research would explain the gender gap between men and women in subjects like mathematics and languages, ignoring the fact that these particular "gender gaps" only exist in the United States and a small number of other countries.

This is actually a good example of what I'm getting at, in terms of the basic problem of assuming that a sexual differences translate directly into gender differences, even when very basic evidence exists to the contrary. Knowing how a brain is structured is very important when you're trying to treat a brain injury, it's (as of yet) completely insignificant, however, when it comes to explaining sociocultural trends.

Aramis Night:
Honestly even one observable distinction is enough to prove that a gender binary does exist.

See above.

Aramis Night:
I never made a case as to how it affects it. It is simply a distinction relative to gender that i allowed you to frame without argument.

This is really not difficult.

a) "Women, on average, spend 2.6 hours a day on housework, whereas men spend 2.1 hours."

..is a gender difference.

b) "Men's brains are approximately 10% larger, on average, than those of women"

..is a sexual difference.

Now, are you seriously making the case that statement A is directly caused by statement B. Because that's what it sounds like you're saying, and if it is then it is absolute rubbish. If that's not what you're saying, then please explain how what you are saying is in any way relevant to this discussion.

Aramis Night:
On the other hand i'm also not choosing to be dismissive by labeling a possible outcome as "ludicrous". science has no room for such biases outside of theory. And typically theories like that tend to be bad ones.

I guess we can't discount the possibility that astrology is true, either, but that doesn't make it a valid scientific premise. "Ludicrous" is not the same thing as impossible, but what it means is that, within the current paradigm of how we understand the laws of the universe to work the notion simply does not make sense to a degree which makes it a comical thing for anyone to seriously believe.

The notion that a person's path in life is influenced by the constellations which appeared in the sky when they were born is silly, just as the notion that the crude process which produce sexual differences carry detailed sociocultural data is silly. If at some point some of the original assumptions involved become explainable, maybe we can reconsider it. Until then, I'm afraid such assumptions do have a place in science.

Aramis Night:
And i'm sorry but bringing up god in a discussion about science is a little out of place don't you think.

I'm pointing out that you basically did just that.

"Nature" is not a person. It doesn't "choose" anything. It doesn't "decide" anything. It doesn't have "reason" for anything. We cannot inflect things about it by trying to understand its "reason" or "motive". If you insist on treating nature as if it is a conscious being, I will continue to compare your beliefs on this subject to religious beliefs, because they basically are. It's still crude magical thinking.

Just because a given social phenomena exists does not mean that nature "intended" for it to exist, or "designed" it in just such a way, particularly not when most of the phenomena under discussion are not particularly transhistorical or transcultural.

Periodic:
Your ideas are fringe and politically motivated. The idea that "gender" refers strictly to social roles is a modern interpretation and not as universal as you like to think.

Well, let me know when you manage to publish to journal while misusing the word gender.

Bonus points if you claim to be "politically neutral" whilst doing so. ;)

Periodic:
The fact that you think so says a lot about your limited view of the world.

In what sense?

Everyone thinks that the social order they support is equal, natural or fair. Even people who openly want to restrict women's social rights and confine them to the domestic sphere will absolutely insist that they're acting in the best interests of women by doing so and that the society they produce will be genuinely equal as it will recognize some kind of natural role complementary.

Personally, my feeling is that if you genuinely think everyone who says they support social justice or equality must be telling the truth that probably speaks something as to the limitations of your view of the world. People will happily propose things they have not actually considered the implications of and then deny those implications furiously by pretending that they somehow don't equate to those logical outcomes, or that those logical outcomes actually meet the criteria for equality, or fairness, or justice, or freedom, or any other valued concept.

It's shit, but it happens. Very few people in this world genuinely believes that they're evil or antisocial people just because they do, say or support evil or antisocial things.

I don't know about this. I heard about this being tried in Norwegian kindergarden as as well. I don't know becuse if you telling someone a story it helps that you can distinguish between female and male. I don't really know how this would be implemented but the way I understood it would make that hard.

evilthecat:

Aramis Night:
I was willing to settle on your 3 distinctions rather than bring up some of the other known distinctions(number of neurons, ratio of white/grey matter to name a couple).

Larger brain = more neurons. Is that really hard?

The "ratio" of white matter to grey matter is about the same in males and females, meaning that males, in actuality, have more white matter and grey matter (if anything, they have slightly higher proportion of white matter). The often-misquoted study responsible for this weird internet misunderstanding never claimed otherwise, instead it claimed that the areas for "general intelligence" in women were more heavily composed of white matter.

There are quite a lot of controversial areas in this research, most notably the attempts which have been made to to apply it to cognitive ability, which is just outright wrong. It was claimed, for example, that this research would explain the gender gap between men and women in subjects like mathematics and languages, ignoring the fact that these "gender gaps" only exist in the United States and a small number of other countries.

This is actually a good example of what I'm getting at, in terms of the basic problem of assuming that a sexual differences translate directly into a gender differences, even when there is absolutely no way that could possibly be true, as in this case. Knowing how a brain is structured is very important when you're trying to treat a brain injury, it's (as of yet) completely insignificant, however, when it comes to explaining sociocultural trends.

Aramis Night:
Honestly even one observable distinction is enough to prove that a gender binary does exist.

See above.

Aramis Night:
I never made a case as to how it affects it. It is simply a distinction relative to gender that i allowed you to frame without argument.

This is really not difficult.

a) "Women, on average, spend 2.6 hours a day on housework, whereas men spend 2.1 hours."

..is a gender difference.

b) "Men's brains are approximately 10% larger, on average, than those of women"

..is a sexual difference.

Now, are you seriously making the case that statement A is directly caused by statement B. Because that's what it sounds like you're saying, and if it is then it is absolute rubbish. If that's not what you're saying, then please explain how what you are saying is in any way relevant to this discussion.

Aramis Night:
On the other hand i'm also not choosing to be dismissive by labeling a possible outcome as "ludicrous". science has no room for such biases outside of theory. And typically theories like that tend to be bad ones.

I guess we can't discount the possibility that astrology is true, either, but that doesn't make it a valid scientific premise. "Ludicrous" is not the same thing as impossible, but what it means is that, within the current paradigm of how we understand the laws of the universe to work the notion simply does not make sense to a degree which makes it a comical thing for anyone to seriously believe.

The notion that a person's path in life is influenced by the constellations which appeared in the sky when they were born is silly, just as the notion that the crude process which produce sexual differences carry detailed sociocultural data is silly. If at some point some of the original assumptions involved become explainable, maybe we can reconsider it. Until then, I'm afraid such assumptions do have a place in science.

Aramis Night:
And i'm sorry but bringing up god in a discussion about science is a little out of place don't you think.

I'm pointing out that you basically did just that.

"Nature" is not a person. It doesn't "choose" anything. It doesn't "decide" anything. It doesn't have "reason" for anything. We cannot inflect things about it by trying to understand its "reason" or "motive". If you insist on treating nature as if it is a conscious being, I will continue to compare your beliefs on this subject to religious beliefs, because they basically are.

Larger brains do not necessarily mean more neurons. Neurons are more dense in certain areas of the brain than in others. If there is a difference in the relative sizes of those areas within a brain than it would have an effect on the number of neurons on a brain as a whole even if the brains were the same size. Larger brains simply have a greater overall likelihood of increased amount of neurons if they are identical. But one observation does not guarantee the other. For someone who likes to call out others for any jumping to conclusions, you sure aren't shy about doing the same.

The cerebral cortex alone in humans has 19 billion neurons in women and 23 billion in men on average. And even accounting for the 10% increase in the size of men's brains overall, it would not account for such a large increase. Men have a 10% increase in brain mass but a relative 20% increase in neurons in the cerebral cortex. If it was merely a similar 10% increase in neurons relative to brain size we would be looking at 19 billion in women and 21 billion in men on average. Also we have more neurons in our cerebral cortex than an elephant which has a much larger brain and only around 11 billion neurons. Size isn't as relevant as you believe.

And on the subject of my use of the term nature: i was using it in the abstract which i'll admit, is a bad habit. I do not believe that nature has a consciousness or is a single force that makes decisions. But since we are bringing up god and nature as beliefs, i'll just leave this here: http://www.naturalnews.com/023055_brain_God_the.html . Also this because i happen to like this as well and its loosely related: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGpLbQ1RLgo

So here we have an example of a clear distinction in the brains of some individual that leads to rather obvious differences in our behaviour on a fundamental social conscious level. And this is a distinction that is even more minor than those found between the sexes, and you're really going to just refuse to acknowledge the possibility that maybe there is a relationship between brain distinctions and behaviour?

My position on sexual brain differences is "needs more study", yours is "How dare you imagine a possible cause and effect relationship." I find your position to be anti-intellectual and dangerous. I'm sure you see my position as equally dangerous, and that puts at an impasse. I'm not afraid to follow the truth even if it leads to the conclusion that i'm so inevitably flawed as to be worthless. I'm not so burdened by ego that it robs me of objectivity. My sense of self worth is based on what i do, not what i am. I actually find myself to be a better person when i do what i do, despite what i am.

As i stated before, no matter what the results of the research are, it won't retroactively prove men or women from being any different from what we already are.It won't change the social outcomes or be used to march one gender or another off to the gas chambers or slaughterhouses. It wont suddenly justify 2nd class citizen treatment. It is only a possible explanation of why we ever developed differences in the first place.

I've little care for matters such as these, I think that they neither hurt nor improove anyone´s lifestyle. I guess cool for sweeden, but I'm sure they'd live either way.

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