Sweden Moves Towards Gender Neutrality [Support Thread]

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trollnystan:

Sunrider84:
Swede here, and I don't approve of something as silly as "Hen". Equality and deconstructivism isn't the same thing. We should strive for equality of rights, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't make distinctions between the two. Men and women aren't the same, and that's a bloody good thing.

Sorry old friend, gonna disagree with you on "hen".

It is NOT to be used INSTEAD OF "han" or "hon", it's to be used to compliment them. As in:

P1: "The doctor told me I have to stop drinking alcohol =("

P2: "Really? Why did hen say that?" <-- Speaker does not know gender of doctor

P1: "He said something bullshitty about my liver being shot."

P2: "Wow, he sure sounds like a douche!" <-- Speaker now knows gender of doctor

If you start referring to people whose gender you KNOW as "hen", that's a bit weird. Unless of course they themselves consider themselves intersex or something, but that's a whole different can of worms.

There are plenty of languages that have had a gender-neutral pronoun (Finnish for example) and some that have ONLY had gender neutral pronouns (Persian for example) for centuries; none of these cultures deny the existence of male and female and try to blend us all into a homogeneous gloop.

Having said all that, I still don't use hen in my everyday language because I'm not used to it. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the option being there!

There are men, there a women, there are people who consider themselves none of the above. "Hen" does not take this away - except in the hands of crazy people - it simply makes communication a little easier. IMPO that is.

I realize what the point of it is. Why I'm opposed to it is because of situations like this.
http://www.aftonbladet.se/wendela/article12531124.ab

I realize it could be summarized as the "slippery slope", and I hate using that sort of argument, but at least you'll understand where I'm coming from with this. Taking the whole crossroad sign debacle we had a while back into consideration, I'd say Sweden is generally crazy enough to follow through with such abhorrent ideas. Were it not for that, I'd probably support it same as you.

EDIT: By the way, where have you been lately? We haven't spoken in ages. =(

Oh, so I can have an alternative to calling a single person "them" if I don't know the gender? Great, I support this.

It's only meant to complement him/her, what's the issue? It's like a temporary value for when you don't know what the actual value is. If my sister says "My friend gave me a rad deal on this old car", now I can say "Oh, that was nice of hen." instead of "Oh, that was nice of them."

I guess we could use it for gender-neutral folks as well, nothing beats efficiency.

I think it'll be a generation or two before we see any real effect out of this idea. But I am curious as to what happens. I'll get around to reading the articles later. I disagree with this idea of a support thread. Where's the discussion value if you aren't allowed to raise dissenting opinions?

joshuaayt:
Oh, so I can have an alternative to calling a single person "them" if I don't know the gender? Great, I support this.

It's only meant to complement him/her, what's the issue? It's like a temporary value for when you don't know what the actual value is. If my sister says "My friend gave me a rad deal on this old car", now I can say "Oh, that was nice of hen." instead of "Oh, that was nice of them."

I guess we could use it for gender-neutral folks as well, nothing beats efficiency.

I think you might have misunderstood. 'Hen' is a swedish word. We already have 'them', 'they', 'one' and 'that-person-over-there-yeah-that-one'./

I'm a firm supporter of removing gender from anything where it isn't relevant. That is what gender-neutrality means to me, and I think it's a much more laudable goal than gender-equality (which basically cuts society down the middle and makes the often unfounded assumption that the groups should be equal on all accounts). Having a word to use when gender is indeterminate instead of the proscribed masculine "he" or the awkward "he or she" seems like a good idea to me.

I guess it's good news that the government adopted the practice, but of course language doesn't evolve by government mandate and I wonder whether Sweden is really going to use this much. We have gender-neutral words in English and multiple people in this thread have commented on how clunky and awkward they are, which is why they're not used much (also, I'm not seeing a wave of gender-neutrality in the English speaking world because we have these words). I'm sure inventing new words that nobody has ever heard or reappropriating words that already have other meanings will be even more awkward. I wonder if Sweden will be any different (and it very well might be).

I'm also not really opposed to "hen" completely replacing "han" and "hon", but I think that will just be even more awkward.

I'm in favor of a lot of the efforts occurring in Sweden on the subject of gender-neutrality, but I think sometimes they take it way too far. For instance, eliminating free playtime because then people naturally fall back into gender roles is one of the stupidest things I ever heard. We should strive to give people the freedom to choose who they want to be without imposing gender roles on them. But eliminating their freedom and imposing your own made-up roles on them is no better.

Gender neutrality shouldn't be about ignoring natural differences between the genders. It should be about recognizing where they don't matter and then not imposing differences anyway. A true gender neutral person wouldn't see (most) boys preferring cars to Barbies while (most) girls are the other way around. They would see different people who have different preferences (without gender even being a consideration).

I read the thread title and thought "We do, then why do I see more and more bickering on the chronicle sections of pretty much every magazine claiming the opposite".
Regarding the word hen I love it, not because you don't have to point out the gender of the person you're talking about but because it's one of those things that annoys people.

Darken12:

* Other advances towards gender neutrality include a reformation of pedagogy, the education system, children toys and children books.

Thing is my mother is a preschool teacher and she claims that this has taken the form of half-arsed, unclear lecture just like when it was decided that the education (including preschool) was going to be more entrepreneurial.

OhJohnNo:

ImmortalDrifter:

OhJohnNo:
Gods, are people in this thread actually supporting the concept of gender roles?

I don't support "gender roles". I do support genders though :D

Oh no, I wasn't referring to you. But when it seems like a significant number of people in the thread actually believe that separate can be equal, I get worried.

Well here's the funny thing. They can be. "Gender Deconstruction" is inherantly sexist. You view genders as inequal so you intend to destroy them. If you viewed genders as equal then the pronoun wouldn't matter because they would already be equal right? I believe in individuality (regardless of the ensuing paradox) and gender is a part of what defines who we are. Does that mean that either gender is locked into "roles" or whatever? Of course not. I grew up looking to my mom as the breadwinner. She went to college, got a job, ripped stereotypes in half like fucking phonebooks, and she still prefers to be called a she. She didn't need to hide behide neutral gender rhetoric to be awesome, she did it while being a goddamn woman. That is my opinion, feel free to disagree. But I have too much respect for women (and men, fuck the police) to disenfranchise them with defensive labels they don't need.

Good Day to you sir :D

OhJohnNo:

ImmortalDrifter:

OhJohnNo:
Gods, are people in this thread actually supporting the concept of gender roles?

I don't support "gender roles". I do support genders though :D

Oh no, I wasn't referring to you. But when it seems like a significant number of people in the thread actually believe that separate can be equal, I get worried.

No I think we believe different can be equal. Getting along despite our differences, and coming to an understanding. Not getting rid of differences or words that discribe differences all together.

Swede here as well and to be honest I find the whole thing rather silly. The introduction of a gender neutral pronoun is not what I'm opposed to, if people want to use it all the power to them. I also know at least one person who's had inner conflicts about which gender to identify with and would rather be refered to as 'hen'. Again, this I'm perfectly fine with.

What did follow the whole debacle was a mob of uptight, self-righteous and self-appointed guardians of equality that treated the word as holy and would downright harass you or accuse you of being sexist if you neglected to use it. As if general useage of it will solve all sexist problems. With that said there's been ridicolous over reactions from the other side as well, people have thrown major fits just because their kids were being taught the word. (though some daycares apparently forced the kids to use it, which I don't agree with)

The whole thing just blew waaaaay out of proportion, but that's Sweden in a nut shell. Find an issue that's actually really trivial and then just devote all your energy to that instead of focusing on real problems, in an effort to seem like you really care about some issue (sexism in this case). Because if there's something a Swede is really scared of it's seeming like he or she is not politically correct.

As someone mentioned, there's several other languages that already have gender neutral pronouns, if they would have just said something like "Here's this nifty new word, use it if you want to!" and not tried stuffing it down peoples' throats, things would have just gone smoother. And less annoying. Just to emphasize though: I'm not opposed to this word, I think people just treat it as something it's not.

Yeah, I prefer to use it over the old equivalent. "Han/Hon/Det" (He/She/It).
I like hen because it's a short, simple way to sum up three words in three letters. Also, it bothers the shit out of my Right-wing Christian teacher who hates the homo/feminazi lobby for ruining his Churches.

Darken12:

If you vehemently disagree with gender deconstructivism and its goals, 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 as a positive take on the matter. It is not intended to condemn or derogate these practices, but to show our support. This is a positive thread. If you oppose these practices, please create your own thread for that. Thank you.

OP decides to politely inform people that they're not interested in an argument about gender equality, and the usual retreading of feminist, anti-feminist and nonsense, and the usual flamewar quagmire, and are only interested in positive discussion.

>Gets people whinging about this decision, rather than doing what was suggested and making their own thread. (Which says more about how much they care about the discussion of the topic than the soapbox to flame from).
>Gets people giving accusations of "No dissenting opinions allowed" (Which is worthy of ridicule. They can have them. They could even make their own thread and express them, as was suggested, and even say that they're only interested in negative views)
>Gets implications that there's no discussion value (Because the theory behind language's impact on society is not at all a large topic with much room for discussion and enlightenment *facepalm*)

Good work guys. You've managed to turn a request to avoid the moaning and flaming into your motivation to moan and flame.

OT: It's interesting. I guess it's kind of like using the word "They" in english to describe a group or individual. It reminds me of when I was doing French in high school, and we ended up on a discussion about the lack of an adequate second person plural. Which was kind of funny since the closest term was probably the slang "Youse", which is kind of scummy. The last article has an interesting point about how it's linguistically similar to the English usage of singular "They".

I like the idea of the toy stores mixing things up indiscriminately, not so sure about the schools removing items because they feel the children act in gendered ways with them, and I thought that the children's novel was rather silly, until I read the interview excerpts, which were much more enlightening.

If the English language originally borrowed the term "They" from Danish, and the "Scandinavian Language family", as it says in the economist piece, why isn't there a longer history of a term like this, or is it just that these languages are quite distinct?

trollnystan:

Sunrider84:
Swede here, and I don't approve of something as silly as "Hen". Equality and deconstructivism isn't the same thing. We should strive for equality of rights, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't make distinctions between the two. Men and women aren't the same, and that's a bloody good thing.

Sorry old friend, gonna disagree with you on "hen".

It is NOT to be used INSTEAD OF "han" or "hon", it's to be used to compliment them. As in:

P1: "The doctor told me I have to stop drinking alcohol =("

P2: "Really? Why did hen say that?" <-- Speaker does not know gender of doctor

P1: "He said something bullshitty about my liver being shot."

P2: "Wow, he sure sounds like a douche!" <-- Speaker now knows gender of doctor

If you start referring to people whose gender you KNOW as "hen", that's a bit weird. Unless of course they themselves consider themselves intersex or something, but that's a whole different can of worms.

There are plenty of languages that have had a gender-neutral pronoun (Finnish for example) and some that have ONLY had gender neutral pronouns (Persian for example) for centuries; none of these cultures deny the existence of male and female and try to blend us all into a homogeneous gloop.

Having said all that, I still don't use hen in my everyday language because I'm not used to it. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the option being there!

There are men, there a women, there are people who consider themselves none of the above. "Hen" does not take this away - except in the hands of crazy people - it simply makes communication a little easier. IMPO that is.

Oh thank goodness someone's speaking sense. We've had the argument of how you refer to someone who's gender you don't know for ages, and then a country comes up with a word that solves that problem? Well, clearly they believe males and females are physically identical then!

But hey, go ahead and claim that a gender neutral word clamps down on your individuality, despite the fact you've probably used the word "they" for that exact same purpose dozens of times before. I don't know how I feel about the other moves they're trying to make towards gender neutrality, and I do have my doubts about how successful it's likely to be when a government tries to institute a new word, but... Acting like it's going to cause harm is just silly.

Eh, "Hen" isn't really used in Sweden.

Some people have taken to using it. Mostly media people and upper class people with too much time on their hands. The only time I've ever heard it used is on the radio or written in an article and it's just really distracting both because it is really obvious it is being used as a political point. Not as the potential word to use for a person whose gender is unknown or supposedly hidden. And also because it will without a doubt lead to any comments (in the case of an article) leading to a bunch of people hatin'.

Truth is we have a very vocal minority that likes to pull stunts like this and like to do so that everybody can see and hear. Because they are special little flowers and everybody needs to know that this next social project is like super important you guys. I guess you could compare them to the Christian right in some countries.

ImmortalDrifter:

OhJohnNo:

ImmortalDrifter:

I don't support "gender roles". I do support genders though :D

Oh no, I wasn't referring to you. But when it seems like a significant number of people in the thread actually believe that separate can be equal, I get worried.

Well here's the funny thing. They can be. "Gender Deconstruction" is inherantly sexist. You view genders as inequal so you intend to destroy them. If you viewed genders as equal then the pronoun wouldn't matter because they would already be equal right? I believe in individuality (regardless of the ensuing paradox) and gender is a part of what defines who we are. Does that mean that either gender is locked into "roles" or whatever? Of course not. I grew up looking to my mom as the breadwinner. She went to college, got a job, ripped stereotypes in half like fucking phonebooks, and she still prefers to be called a she. She didn't need to hide behide neutral gender rhetoric to be awesome, she did it while being a goddamn woman. That is my opinion, feel free to disagree. But I have too much respect for women (and men, fuck the police) to disenfranchise them with defensive labels they don't need.

Good Day to you sir :D

Actually, I don't want to destroy the concept of gender because I view the genders as unequal. I want to destroy them so that people can do or be whatever they want regardless of how they were born.

Genders shouldn't be "equal", they should be one. All gender stereotypes should disappear - buying and wearing dresses should not be viewed as a female activity, it should be viewed as an activity, period, with no societal restrictions of any kind.

Hmmm well I'm not sure about this on one hand creating a gender neutral term can advance the use of language and could help make thing equal on the other hand I can see this being used to deny the differences between the sexes and being misused.
So until we see how this goes I'll just say it's interesting and congratulations on trying something new:

ImmortalDrifter:

OhJohnNo:

ImmortalDrifter:

I don't support "gender roles". I do support genders though :D

Oh no, I wasn't referring to you. But when it seems like a significant number of people in the thread actually believe that separate can be equal, I get worried.

Well here's the funny thing. They can be. "Gender Deconstruction" is inherantly sexist. You view genders as inequal so you intend to destroy them. If you viewed genders as equal then the pronoun wouldn't matter because they would already be equal right?

Actually, no. The problem is the terminology. You're conflating "gender" (Which is to do with identity) and "sex" (Which is to do with biology). Those suggesting this aren't being sexist. They believe the sexes are equal, and should be treated equally, and that the gender roles assigned by society to people of different sexes creates an inequality between the way that people of different sexes are treated.

Wanting to remove gender isn't sexist. Period. Although that's kind of not even related to the point of the move. If you check the actual articles, it's more like using the term "They" when you're describing a person, instead of "He" or "She". To borrow from The Economist article, it's like this in English:

plural and mixed: Everyone has their own opinion.

unknown: Someone left their book here.

unimportant: Anyone who works here should know they'll have to work hard.

As opposed to this:

plural and mixed: Everyone has his own opinion.

unknown: Someone left his book here.

unimportant: Anyone who works here should know he'll have to work hard.

Where people tend to use their own gender subconsciously, and generally isn't an adequate descriptor, especially when describing a specific person of unknown gender, wherein you're going to be in error quite often. Some people may take that to the extreme (Like refusing to use gendered pronouns at all), but that would be an unfair criticism to apply to what is essentially "They".

knight steel:
Hmmm well I'm not sure about this on one hand creating a gender neutral term can advance the use of language and could help make thing equal on the other hand I can see this being used to deny the differences between the sexes and being misused.
So until we see how this goes I'll just say it's interesting and congratulations on trying something new:

HEYHEYHEY I ALREADY POSTED THAT VIDEO... or rather a link to it. Can you do me a kindness and tell me how to embed videos in posts please?

Geo Da Sponge:
Oh thank goodness someone's speaking sense. We've had the argument of how you refer to someone who's gender you don't know for ages, and then a country comes up with a word that solves that problem? Well, clearly they believe males and females are physically identical then!

But hey, go ahead and claim that a gender neutral word clamps down on your individuality, despite the fact you've probably used the word "they" for that exact same purpose dozens of times before. I don't know how I feel about the other moves they're trying to make towards gender neutrality, and I do have my doubts about how successful it's likely to be when a government tries to institute a new word, but... Acting like it's going to cause harm is just silly.

It is not the word in itself that is stirring up all the anger in most people in Sweden, had it only been a word for someone to use should they feel it appropriate in the context then it would be fine. The thing is that most people that use "hen" are either political profiles or extreme feminists (the latter which are the ones who made the word synonymous with angry rant topic).

We are no longer at the point where you can utilize the word if you want, we are at the point where you are a misygonist piece of s**t should you use him/her rather than "hen" when speaking to someone who's even remotely feministic.

Captcha: Meat and drink. Ain't that just totally rad after ranting about Swedish (extreme) feminism.

ImmortalDrifter:

knight steel:
Hmmm well I'm not sure about this on one hand creating a gender neutral term can advance the use of language and could help make thing equal on the other hand I can see this being used to deny the differences between the sexes and being misused.
So until we see how this goes I'll just say it's interesting and congratulations on trying something new:

HEYHEYHEY I ALREADY POSTED THAT VIDEO... or rather a link to it. Can you do me a kindness and tell me how to embed videos in posts please?

Well if you just click "edit post", you can see how he did it. You take the bizarre combination of letters and numbers at the end of a youtube vid (after the "v=") and put "youtube=" before it. Then, you put [ ] or < > around it.

Works like a charm!

Sunrider84:

trollnystan:

SNIPPED

I realize what the point of it is. Why I'm opposed to it is because of situations like this.
http://www.aftonbladet.se/wendela/article12531124.ab

I realize it could be summarized as the "slippery slope", and I hate using that sort of argument, but at least you'll understand where I'm coming from with this. Taking the whole crossroad sign debacle we had a while back into consideration, I'd say Sweden is generally crazy enough to follow through with such abhorrent ideas. Were it not for that, I'd probably support it same as you.

I actually don't think that article is that bad. I mean, changing the pronoun in the song is a bit weird, although I see where they're coming from, but it's not as if they're forbidding the children from saying han or hon, or completely erasing genders. As long as they acknowledge a child's gender when the child wants it acknowledged (I'm a boy/girl!" "Why, yes you are! Now put your penis/vulva away and go play with your friends." Yes, I've worked in a daycare, this happens -_-;) and stop using han and hon completely JUST BECAUSE - 'cos in my opinion having gendered pronouns is a handy as having a gender-neutral one - I'm not gonna go into a tizzy over it.

If it turned into a "You must use the word hen when appropriate or you're A BAD PERSON!!!!1!one!" situation THAT would make me angry. And you don't want to see me angry...[1] Simply using it in the kids presence however isn't bad; it gives them an option in their own communication, to use or not to use. Saying "Let's go find your friends to play with" to a boy instead of "Let's go find the boys to play with" isn't bad either, or not dividing things up into girl things and boy things. There was a boy at the daycare I worked for that liked to dress up in pink tutus and wear fairy wings; my male (gay) colleague smirked and said, "He's obviously gay." I thought, "No, he's a kid who likes to dress up and likes fantastical things. If a girl came in wearing blue overalls and carrying a toy toolset to fix an imaginary car, would you automatically call her a lesbian?"

Sorry, minor rant there.

Slippery slope arguments are dangerous, so let's see where this takes us first - after all, it's probably less than 2% of Sweden's population that use the word hen everyday - before we put on our shit-kicking boots ;)

Geo Da Sponge:

Oh thank goodness someone's speaking sense. We've had the argument of how you refer to someone who's gender you don't know for ages, and then a country comes up with a word that solves that problem? Well, clearly they believe males and females are physically identical then!

But hey, go ahead and claim that a gender neutral word clamps down on your individuality, despite the fact you've probably used the word "they" for that exact same purpose dozens of times before. I don't know how I feel about the other moves they're trying to make towards gender neutrality, and I do have my doubts about how successful it's likely to be when a government tries to institute a new word, but... Acting like it's going to cause harm is just silly.

Why thank you! It's not often I'm told I speak sense, haha ;) I agree that the government should probably stay out of it; let language develop naturally, don't make rules about it - although an unofficial, not a requirement kind of guideline to use the word in official documents when appropriate wouldn't hurt - that just gets up in everyone's nose hairs.

EDIT: forgot a "not" up there...

[1] No really; I start crying, flailing, and screaming incoherently-- it's not a pretty picture. Snot everywhere. I try not loose my temper very often.

OhJohnNo:
Genders shouldn't be "equal", they should be one. All gender stereotypes should disappear - buying and wearing dresses should not be viewed as a female activity, it should be viewed as an activity, period, with no societal restrictions of any kind.

Buying and wearing dresses was popularized by females, it became a "female activity" after females started doing it en-masse.
Gender stereotypes arose AFTER trends started occurring among genders on a world-wide scale, not before. All stereotypes have some level of truth behind them, otherwise such stereotypes would have never risen in the first place.

The dominant chunk of the beauty industry today revolves around a mostly-female consumer base...males also make up a portion, but they are in minority when it comes to the amount of money/effort spent on purchasing products like makeup, creams, hair products, jewellery, etc.

So when a certain activity is associated with the genders (or population type), then it is perfectly acceptable to vocalize that stereotype/trend, it's happening on a MASSIVE scale and there's no point trying to beat around the bush.

Most chinese people are eating chinese food, women tend to buy tampons, males have dicks, OH NO I GENERALIZED, someone shoot me :P

People didn't just pull stereotypes and gender roles out of their asses, jeez.

Aaron Sylvester:

OhJohnNo:
Genders shouldn't be "equal", they should be one. All gender stereotypes should disappear - buying and wearing dresses should not be viewed as a female activity, it should be viewed as an activity, period, with no societal restrictions of any kind.

Buying and wearing dresses was popularized by females, it became a "female activity" after females started doing it en-masse.
Gender stereotypes arose AFTER trends started occurring among genders on a world-wide scale, not before. All stereotypes have some level of truth behind them, otherwise such stereotypes would have never risen in the first place.

The dominant chunk of the beauty industry today revolves around a mostly-female consumer base...males also make up a portion, but they are in minority when it comes to the amount of money/effort spent on purchasing products like makeup, creams, hair products, jewellery, etc.

So when a certain activity is associated with the genders (or population type), then it is perfectly acceptable to vocalize that stereotype/trend, it's happening on a MASSIVE scale and there's no point trying to beat around the bush.

Most chinese people are eating chinese food, women tend to buy tampons, males have dicks, OH NO I GENERALIZED, someone shoot me :P

People didn't just pull stereotypes and gender roles out of their asses, jeez.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I know how the stereotypes started. I also don't really care. I want them gone.

Swny Nerdgasm:
I still don't get what people have against just plain old gender equality. Why should we strive for the total eradication of gender lines?

I agree wholeheartedly. The goal should be equality. Not neutrality.

Loonyyy:
Actually, no. The problem is the terminology. You're conflating "gender" (Which is to do with identity) and "sex" (Which is to do with biology). Those suggesting this aren't being sexist. They believe the sexes are equal, and should be treated equally, and that the gender roles assigned by society to people of different sexes creates an inequality between the way that people of different sexes are treated.

Wanting to remove gender isn't sexist. Period. Although that's kind of not even related to the point of the move. If you check the actual articles, it's more like using the term "They" when you're describing a person, instead of "He" or "She". To borrow from The Economist article, it's like this in English:

plural and mixed: Everyone has their own opinion.

unknown: Someone left their book here.

unimportant: Anyone who works here should know they'll have to work hard.

As opposed to this:

plural and mixed: Everyone has his own opinion.

unknown: Someone left his book here.

unimportant: Anyone who works here should know he'll have to work hard.

Where people tend to use their own gender subconsciously, and generally isn't an adequate descriptor, especially when describing a specific person of unknown gender, wherein you're going to be in error quite often. Some people may take that to the extreme (Like refusing to use gendered pronouns at all), but that would be an unfair criticism to apply to what is essentially "They".

Well funnily enough I did read this articles. I loved the one that ostensibly burst into misandristic femanazi hoo-ha. (Male ego HUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUE)

Speaking for myself at least I always use the nongenderspecific out of habit. "They" never seemed to be out of place when I used it. If this was being introduced as a language mechanic then I wouldn't care in the slightest. But apparently it involves taking toys away from kids and encouraging an almost Fascist policy with "Politcal Correctness". Come to think of it I think you're conflating "gender"(the self assessed identity relating to sex) and "gender role" (the stereotype surrounding genders) I have no problem with the term (though it does seem redundant) I have a problem with the "Movement" that surrounds it. As many other posters (notably Swedes) have said the mire that surrounds the word is just rediculous.

OhJohnNo:

ImmortalDrifter:

knight steel:
Hmmm well I'm not sure about this on one hand creating a gender neutral term can advance the use of language and could help make thing equal on the other hand I can see this being used to deny the differences between the sexes and being misused.
So until we see how this goes I'll just say it's interesting and congratulations on trying something new:

HEYHEYHEY I ALREADY POSTED THAT VIDEO... or rather a link to it. Can you do me a kindness and tell me how to embed videos in posts please?

Well if you just click "edit post", you can see how he did it. You take the bizarre combination of letters and numbers at the end of a youtube vid (after the "v=") and put "youtube=" before it. Then, you put [ ] or < > around it.

Works like a charm!

Holy crap. I feel silly now. Thank you!

Loonyyy:
Good work guys. You've managed to turn a request to avoid the moaning and flaming into your motivation to moan and flame.

That's kinda what happens when you make a silly request like that...

This isn't on the people complaining about that, this is on the OP. If he hadn't made this request half the complaints in this thread wouldn't exist (and no, they wouldn't be replaced by other complaints. Do you honestly believe anyone with something to say is going to refrain because of some silly extra note in the OP?)

A request like that is simply inviting complaints.

If people want to complain they will complain, regardless of whether you like it or not. Adding in a request explicitly asking dissenting opinions to not be voiced means you not only get those dissenting opinions but you also get a ton of people arguing against you for free and open discussion.

trollnystan:
I actually don't think that article is that bad. I mean, changing the pronoun in the song is a bit weird, although I see where they're coming from, but it's not as if they're forbidding the children from saying han or hon, or completely erasing genders. As long as they acknowledge a child's gender when the child wants it acknowledged (I'm a boy/girl!" "Why, yes you are! Now put your penis/vulva away and go play with your friends." Yes, I've worked in a daycare, this happens -_-;) and stop using han and hon completely JUST BECAUSE - 'cos in my opinion having gendered pronouns is a handy as having a gender-neutral one - I'm not gonna go into a tizzy over it.

If it turned into a "You must use the word hen when appropriate or you're A BAD PERSON!!!!1!one!" situation THAT would make me angry. And you don't want to see me angry...[1] Simply using it in the kids presence however isn't bad; it gives them an option in their own communication, to use or not to use. Saying "Let's go find your friends to play with" to a boy instead of "Let's go find the boys to play with" isn't bad either, or not dividing things up into girl things and boy things. There was a boy at the daycare I worked for that liked to dress up in pink tutus and wear fairy wings; my male (gay) colleague smirked and said, "He's obviously gay." I thought, "No, he's a kid who likes to dress up and likes fantastical things. If a girl came in wearing blue overalls and carrying a toy toolset to fix an imaginary car, would you automatically call her a lesbian?"

Sorry, minor rant there.

Slippery slope arguments are dangerous, so let's see where this takes us first - after all, it's probably less than 2% of Sweden's population that use the word hen everyday - before we put on our shit-kicking boots ;)

My thoughts have already been summarized after my previous reply, so I'll point you towards them instead of rehashing it again. (I can do that if someone calls what I'm doing here a cop-out, I just don't see the need to have several posts say the same things over and over).

MBergman:
What did follow the whole debacle was a mob of uptight, self-righteous and self-appointed guardians of equality that treated the word as holy and would downright harass you or accuse you of being sexist if you neglected to use it. As if general useage of it will solve all sexist problems. With that said there's been ridicolous over reactions from the other side as well, people have thrown major fits just because their kids were being taught the word. (though some daycares apparently forced the kids to use it, which I don't agree with)

The whole thing just blew waaaaay out of proportion, but that's Sweden in a nut shell. Find an issue that's actually really trivial and then just devote all your energy to that instead of focusing on real problems, in an effort to seem like you really care about some issue (sexism in this case). Because if there's something a Swede is really scared of it's seeming like he or she is not politically correct.

As someone mentioned, there's several other languages that already have gender neutral pronouns, if they would have just said something like "Here's this nifty new word, use it if you want to!" and not tried stuffing it down peoples' throats, things would have just gone smoother. And less annoying. Just to emphasize though: I'm not opposed to this word, I think people just treat it as something it's not.

Larcenist:
It is not the word in itself that is stirring up all the anger in most people in Sweden, had it only been a word for someone to use should they feel it appropriate in the context then it would be fine. The thing is that most people that use "hen" are either political profiles or extreme feminists (the latter which are the ones who made the word synonymous with angry rant topic).

We are no longer at the point where you can utilize the word if you want, we are at the point where you are a misygonist piece of s**t should you use him/her rather than "hen" when speaking to someone who's even remotely feministic.

These two, as I said, sum up my opinions nicely. While I realize I'm working off anecdotes here (what else can you expect? We're influenced by our experiences after all), I've been faced with these situations often, which is probably why I come off as someone vehemently opposed to the idea when this is not the case. I agree with your "let's go find your friends" example, and I don't mind it whatsoever.

And yes, slippery slope arguments are dangerous, which is why I said I don't like using it, but again, considering how ridiculous the entire situation with our crossing signs became, I get a bad taste in my mouth whenever I read something about this topic.

As a final note, judging your colleague by just one comment might be a bad idea, but he sounds like a jackass, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. I dressed up in girl's clothes a couple of times when I was a kid too. I grew up with three sisters and my mother, as my dad was often absent for work. Most kids do this, it doesn't mean shit for their sexuality.

[1] No really; I start crying, flailing, and screaming incoherently-- it's not a pretty picture. Snot everywhere. I try not loose my temper very often.

OhJohnNo:

Actually, I don't want to destroy the concept of gender because I view the genders as unequal. I want to destroy them so that people can do or be whatever they want regardless of how they were born.

Genders shouldn't be "equal", they should be one. All gender stereotypes should disappear - buying and wearing dresses should not be viewed as a female activity, it should be viewed as an activity, period, with no societal restrictions of any kind.

I don't know many men that enjoy dresses... and the ones that I do know don't really give a crap that it's viewed as a female activity. I live in a community with a large number of polyneisians! Hooray for man-skirts! :D Too be honest though dresses seem to be on the way out entirely. Women have taken to wearing pants, men haven't taken to wearing dresses....

I can't really think of any gender exclusive activities. There are stereotypical "man" and "woman" activities, but they are frequently not as dominated by one gender as the stereotype would have you believe. Ironically, the ones who do break this stereotype are often the most admired among said community. (Gamer Gurlzzzzz huehuehue) Too be honest this whole thing doesn't seem to be wrong as much as blown wayyyyy out of proportion.

ImmortalDrifter:

Ilikemilkshake:
It will probably inhibit discussion, there's only so much you can say on the positive side of things when you don't have any dissenting opinions to work with but to those saying it's stupid to have a 'positive only' thread, I'm really not seeing it.

If I made the Mass Effect appreciation thread and said, "please if you want to moan about the ending or anything else there are plenty of other threads for that, just talk about what you loved about the game here." What would be wrong with that? Sometimes you just don't want the thread getting hijacked and then locked.

Allow me to explain :D

First of all my friend you pointed out the glaring issue with positive only thread in your first sentence. There is really nothing to be gained from threads where everyone alreay has the same opinion. Your Mass Effect thread is different because you are asking others for their opinions on what they liked. One person may like what another person doesn't. One person may like the Citadel design in ME1 but not ME2. Point is you are ASKING FOR THEIR INPUT. This thread is saying HEY EVERYONE! TALK ABOUT THIS THING THAT HAPPENED SPECIFICALLY THE WAY I WANT YOU TO. (and already did) There isn't room for people to say anything unique, offer insight, or anything that may be seen as dissenting by the OP. Which is to say, nothing the OP didn't already say. These are the threads that deserve to be locked. There is no point in redundancy.

If all he wanted was a bunch of people congratulating him and Sweden for their support of this specific idea, then allow me to add this video which will remove the need for this thread. Enjoy.

http://youtu.be/oyFQVZ2h0V8

That's a good point. I understand the sentiment behind wanting a positive discussion though, I can't remember the last time I saw a thread regarding any issue close to feminism that didn't descend into utter chaos. Honestly I think it should've been worded differently although I'm not sure how exactly..

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'm aware of those words but they don't work quite as well because they ('They' and 'One') have more than one meaning. It's too clunky. A dedicated word would be much better. Also I'm not just talking about making up a word, I mean trying to introduce the idea of gender neutrality as a whole. That's why I said I said I wish it would be done in my country, not in my language.

It's been around for a while, but isn't really used since it sounds really silly. It sounds like calling someone a hen. The English word. I think han/hon works just fine.

Hagi:

Loonyyy:
Good work guys. You've managed to turn a request to avoid the moaning and flaming into your motivation to moan and flame.

That's kinda what happens when you make a silly request like that...

Sure.

This isn't on the people complaining about that, this is on the OP. If he hadn't made this request half the complaints in this thread wouldn't exist (and no, they wouldn't be replaced by other complaints. Do you honestly believe anyone with something to say is going to refrain because of some silly extra note in the OP?)

I disagree. I think it is entirely on those making the complaints. And no, I don't think they'd be replaced by other complaints, since, as is obvious, they're already slipping in.

A request like that is simply inviting complaints.

And the CoC is simply inviting me to call other users trolls, to disrepect people, to be a jerk, etc. My comparison's grossly exaggerated, but I think you get the point. Asking people to keep it polite and on topic shouldn't be a problem, and that they were asking for it because people can't keep it civil is just absurd. And the comparison to other sentiments should be obvious. However, I won't derail further by going into that(Especially since that's a gender war all of it's own). If those people make the complaints, it's on them. The OP has washed their hands of it.

If people want to complain they will complain, regardless of whether you like it or not.

Of course. I don't think that should stop someone from hoping people are willing to be reasonable though.

Adding in a request explicitly asking dissenting opinions to not be voiced means you not only get those dissenting opinions but you also get a ton of people arguing against you for free and open discussion.

Sure. But at least you've good grounds to complain when people have no interest in discussing the topic than bringing their tired gender-wars into your thread.

And anyone who makes the criticism about free and open discussion is being foolish. As pointed out in the OP: They're entirely welcome to make their own thread, or even make their own thread that's about the gender war they want to start. Which might save this one an early grave from the lock of doom.

ImmortalDrifter:

Well funnily enough I did read this articles. I loved the one that ostensibly burst into misandristic femanazi hoo-ha. (Male ego HUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUE)

Speaking for myself at least I always use the nongenderspecific out of habit. "They" never seemed to be out of place when I used it. If this was being introduced as a language mechanic then I wouldn't care in the slightest.

I think the problem here is that, from what I inferred, the Swedish language doesn't have a corrolary for singular "They", and that's what they were referring to introducing.

But apparently it involves taking toys away from kids

Actually it doesn't. That's no part of the policy, and was done by a school. And I too, strongly disagree with that.

and encouraging an almost Fascist policy with "Politcal Correctness".

That's not what Fascist means. Authoritarian might be a better word. But again, that's not part of the proposal.

Come to think of it I think you're conflating "gender"(the self assessed identity relating to sex) and "gender role" (the stereotype surrounding genders)

I'd like you to prove that. I used gender role to refer to the stereotypes surrounding genders which are a part of society that impact on personal gender identity. So the words appear in close proximity, because the way a person identifies and expresses their gender is related to the roles that society expects of their sex. My point was that to call it sexist is flat out wrong.

The gender-deconstruction position didn't say anything about the sexes needing to be eliminated, or focussing on sex, but rather on the social construct of gender. Hence, you've conflated the two, in an attempt to label the opposition as sexist, which is hardly a classy move. If you can detail how people trying to eliminate the idea of gender are discriminating on the basis of sexual biology, I'll consider it. You play a similar rhetorical game when I address this and attempt to call me out for conflation. Even if you had a point, and I don't think you do, as it stands, you'd still have to address the fallacy in your argument. Tu Quoue.

I have no problem with the term (though it does seem redundant) I have a problem with the "Movement" that surrounds it. As many other posters (notably Swedes) have said the mire that surrounds the word is just rediculous.

If there's already a non-gender specific singular, it's redundant, and someone more familiar with Swedish would be the best to assess that.

And yes, the mire around it is a bit ridiculous. But that's not to do with the word or the policy.

Jan Guillou, one of Sweden's most well-known authors, referred to proponents of hen as "feminist activists who want to destroy our language."

Looool ok buddy.

I don't see what the big deal is. It's a word. People can use it or not use it. It's not going to abolish all gender distinctions and transform everyone into gray unisex blob people. Mostly it's for referring to people whose gender is unknown (as someone else noted, "My doctor said X," "Why did hen say that?"), oblique references to a generic/hypothetical person ("If a citizen wishes to do X, hen should have a right to do it!"), or for the subset of trans* folks who prefer to be referred to by gender-neutral pronouns.

My guess would be that pronouns are technically a closed class (ie a word group that does not readily accept new members) in Swedish. Like, in English, pronouns and prepositions are closed classes, while nouns and verbs are open. So no one bats an eye when you talk about skateboarding or texting or googling or blogging, but the moment you try to introduce a word like zie or hir, everyone loses their goddamn minds. Hell, there are still linguists complaining about *~*~how horrible*~*~ the singular they is.

Compare Japanese: pronouns are an open class, while verbs are closed. Japanese has tons of pronouns (srsly) that carry all kinds of different connotations, and the distinction between nouns and pronouns is fuzzy at best. ("Otaku" was/is a pronoun, for instance. Sorta.) It's actually pretty remarkable how much meaning pronouns convey in Japanese compared to how devoid of meaning they are in English. New verbs, on the other hand, almost never enter Japanese. (Notable exception: "google." How bout that!) Instead, they're formed by using a noun with the verb "do."

(This all ties into that fact that pronouns are "foundational" in a way in English, in that they're part of the language's basic structure, so they tend to change at a glacial pace. Pronouns [and entire subjects] can be dropped in Japanese if they can be inferred from the context though, so they're a lot more mutable and interesting.)

Aaanyway. I don't know nothing about Swedish, so I don't know if that aspect of the language works similar to how it works in English. But as for English, I get the historical/linguistic reasons that something like this is a "big deal" to some people (even though most of them just freak out without understanding why they're so mad about new pronouns.) But, as you can prolly guess from this post's smug, dismissive tone... I think it's stupid. It's just a word. Who gives a shit. Referring to people of unknown gender/readers/etc by a gender-neutral pronoun rather than a male one is an important goal. Allowing genderqueer/androgyne/neutrois folks a pronoun they can actually feel comfortable with is damn important. Linguistic prescription is noooot important.

tl;dr: Burn language, crush gender.

Loonyyy:

Hagi:

Loonyyy:
Good work guys. You've managed to turn a request to avoid the moaning and flaming into your motivation to moan and flame.

That's kinda what happens when you make a silly request like that...

Sure.

This isn't on the people complaining about that, this is on the OP. If he hadn't made this request half the complaints in this thread wouldn't exist (and no, they wouldn't be replaced by other complaints. Do you honestly believe anyone with something to say is going to refrain because of some silly extra note in the OP?)

I disagree. I think it is entirely on those making the complaints. And no, I don't think they'd be replaced by other complaints, since, as is obvious, they're already slipping in.

A request like that is simply inviting complaints.

And the CoC is simply inviting me to call other users trolls, to disrepect people, to be a jerk, etc. My comparison's grossly exaggerated, but I think you get the point. Asking people to keep it polite and on topic shouldn't be a problem, and that they were asking for it because people can't keep it civil is just absurd. And the comparison to other sentiments should be obvious. However, I won't derail further by going into that(Especially since that's a gender war all of it's own). If those people make the complaints, it's on them. The OP has washed their hands of it.

If people want to complain they will complain, regardless of whether you like it or not.

Of course. I don't think that should stop someone from hoping people are willing to be reasonable though.

Adding in a request explicitly asking dissenting opinions to not be voiced means you not only get those dissenting opinions but you also get a ton of people arguing against you for free and open discussion.

Sure. But at least you've good grounds to complain when people have no interest in discussing the topic than bringing their tired gender-wars into your thread.

And anyone who makes the criticism about free and open discussion is being foolish. As pointed out in the OP: They're entirely welcome to make their own thread, or even make their own thread that's about the gender war they want to start. Which might save this one an early grave from the lock of doom.

They're also completely free to voice their criticism in this thread.

Because... you know... there's a pretty clear and obvious difference between the CoC and a silly request from another user.

See the CoC is by the people who actually own these forums and all the threads in it. This is their place. So it's their rules.

The OP does not own this thread. That's the entire purpose of a forum, a place where anyone can voice and share their opinion and thoughts on any topic. You can start a discussion on any topic but you don't control that discussion, as soon as the topic starts it's out of your hands.

The OP's request goes against the entire point and spirit of a forum. Therefore I can see it as nothing other than a silly request of which the sole purpose, probably unintentional, is to serve as flame-bait.

And he's not asking people to stay polite, that'd be fine. He's explicitly asking people not to voice opinions contrary to his own, that's just stupid and asking for all the complaints he's getting.

Jesus, this really is the generation of the spineless and the oversensitive

"We rather not want to have equality with the freedom of our individualism, let's just dump everyone into a grey social blob where no differene is allowed. PRAISE SOCIAL JUSTICE"

Sunrider84:

My thoughts have already been summarized after my previous reply, so I'll point you towards them instead of rehashing it again. (I can do that if someone calls what I'm doing here a cop-out, I just don't see the need to have several posts say the same things over and over).

MBergman:
What did follow the whole debacle was a mob of uptight, self-righteous and self-appointed guardians of equality that treated the word as holy and would downright harass you or accuse you of being sexist if you neglected to use it. As if general useage of it will solve all sexist problems. With that said there's been ridicolous over reactions from the other side as well, people have thrown major fits just because their kids were being taught the word. (though some daycares apparently forced the kids to use it, which I don't agree with)

The whole thing just blew waaaaay out of proportion, but that's Sweden in a nut shell. Find an issue that's actually really trivial and then just devote all your energy to that instead of focusing on real problems, in an effort to seem like you really care about some issue (sexism in this case). Because if there's something a Swede is really scared of it's seeming like he or she is not politically correct.

As someone mentioned, there's several other languages that already have gender neutral pronouns, if they would have just said something like "Here's this nifty new word, use it if you want to!" and not tried stuffing it down peoples' throats, things would have just gone smoother. And less annoying. Just to emphasize though: I'm not opposed to this word, I think people just treat it as something it's not.

Larcenist:
It is not the word in itself that is stirring up all the anger in most people in Sweden, had it only been a word for someone to use should they feel it appropriate in the context then it would be fine. The thing is that most people that use "hen" are either political profiles or extreme feminists (the latter which are the ones who made the word synonymous with angry rant topic).

We are no longer at the point where you can utilize the word if you want, we are at the point where you are a misygonist piece of s**t should you use him/her rather than "hen" when speaking to someone who's even remotely feministic.

These two, as I said, sum up my opinions nicely. While I realize I'm working off anecdotes here (what else can you expect? We're influenced by our experiences after all), I've been faced with these situations often, which is probably why I come off as someone vehemently opposed to the idea when this is not the case. I agree with your "let's go find your friends" example, and I don't mind it whatsoever.

And yes, slippery slope arguments are dangerous, which is why I said I don't like using it, but again, considering how ridiculous the entire situation with our crossing signs became, I get a bad taste in my mouth whenever I read something about this topic.

As a final note, judging your colleague by just one comment might be a bad idea, but he sounds like a jackass, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. I dressed up in girl's clothes a couple of times when I was a kid too. I grew up with three sisters and my mother, as my dad was often absent for work. Most kids do this, it doesn't mean shit for their sexuality.

Ha, no refer away! Why would that be a cop-out? Silly internet peoples!

The crossing sign thing was AWFUL, I agree. They could have done a much better job of it. For one thing the original sign was a cute little pun, for another they could have just made her look more like the lady on the public toilets, put some up here and there all quiet like and most people wouldn't have give a shit. But they needed to politicise everything, not to mention the dreadful design they finally chose for her.

The new design is better, but still it's too late; shitstorm flew through and filled everything with shit and rage.

Things would be so much better if politicians stopped latching onto good (or awful) ideas others might have just to try to bolster their own ratings. ARGH. Hate politics.

And yes, my colleague was an asshole. He talked shit about everybody behind their backs.

My brother grew up surrounded by sisters and also wore dresses as a kid when playing dress-up, but he's never been interested in boys; well, apart from that time he was at sea for 6-8 months in the navy without shore-leave when his all-male crewmates started to look damn fine-- but we don't talk about that.

It's cool that the Swedish language has such a small difference between their two gender pronouns that a healthy neutral one could happen. Hen seems pretty well between han and hon.

English doesn't really have such easy splits, and any new neutral word will, at least for awhile, be quite clunky. I'm vehemently opposed to "they" being used because of possible ambiguity in plurality, and "it" would be opposed by most people (but would be my choice if I had absolute say).

As for what we should do in the English language (socially, at least, since I don't think anything should be done on the legal front to control language)...On the one hand, like the words actor/actress and waiter/waitress, I don't see an issue with one term being neutral and the feminine term being specific. Or vice-versa. I see no issue with language assuming gender so long as it is the norm to do so.

On the reverse side, my writing professor suggested that, in our essays, we alternate genders when using hypothetical examples, because saying "he or she" or "him and her" would get very old very fast. She wasn't opposed to using a single gender throughout, but felt that it flowed better. She, like me, discourages using "they" as a singular. In common language, this is a bit more difficult to do, but I think it works well enough as long as no one gets overly defensive about their assumed gender being wrong when there was no way for the other person to know ahead of time.

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