Sweden Moves Towards Gender Neutrality [Support Thread]

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Wont Swedish children just find something else to stereotype themselves into? "Swag" is gender neutral isn't it? Don't quite understand this.

Loonyyy:

Darken12:

One day, I'm going to find a way to address a controversial topic in a way that does not sire a flame war. There must be some way I can phrase it.

I think it's a noble effort, but doomed to failure.

I am beginning to think the same.

Helmholtz Watson:
...which seems quite hypocritical on your part to say that the rest of us can't "tolerate divergent opinions" while at the same time demanding that only certain opinions are permitted to be posted on this thread.

You are free to post divergent opinions, provided you do so in a polite and non-inflammatory manner, as per the board rules.

This is actually spelled as clearly as I possible can in the post you quoted, so I honestly cannot imagine how I can make it any clearer.

Darken12:

You are free to post divergent opinions, provided you do so in a polite and non-inflammatory manner, as per the board rules.

This is actually spelled as clearly as I possible can in the post you quoted, so I honestly cannot imagine how I can make it any clearer.

So in other words, you just wanted to remind all of us that this forum has rules to follow? Ok....

To reiterate what I said before though, I oppose the idea that left-wing people in Western Europe should get to pressure other cultures into conforming to what Western Europe thinks is the "proper" form of grammar for the hundreds of languages that are spoken around the world. It's cultural imperialism by another name.

Helmholtz Watson:
So in other words, you just wanted to remind all of us that this forum has rules to follow? Ok....

Given how previous topics such as this one have devolved into flame wars and required moderator lockdown, apparently the community needs to be reminded of the board rules in bright blue text. I wouldn't go through all this trouble if it wasn't necessary.

Helmholtz Watson:
To reiterate what I said before though, I oppose the idea that left-wing people in Western Europe should get to pressure other cultures into conforming to what Western Europe thinks is the "proper" form of grammar for the hundreds of languages that are spoken around the world. It's cultural imperialism by another name.

How...? Where...? How did you derive that conclusion? Where are you getting that information from? Sweden has done something that affects only its country and that other countries are free to imitate if they agree with it (which I hope they do). No idea where you're getting that they're forcing other cultures into conforming.

Aramis Night:
But where does this leave a boy who wants to play with boy toys and has no interest in girl's/gender neutral toys? From what i've seen this tends to make kids want what they want even more. Kid's tend to be reactionary. However they are not without preferences. If children choose to value boy toys over female/gender neutral toys, then it doesn't seem that there is any reason to not allow the girls to play with them as well if they choose rather than limiting the toys that a boy can choose to play with. This would also negatively affect the ability of girls to also choose to play with whatever toy they wish.

I know my gf would definitely have taken issue with that. She used to prefer boy toys(i can't seem to make that come out right). She is the greatest example of a woman i know. It didn't make her into something else or cause any developmental problems. I despised girl toys and found most gender neutral toys to be bland. They just weren't interesting (except for maybe those ovens). I was all about transformers and other toy robots. Oh and video games. Well still with the video games. Spent most of today in another closed beta for an upcoming game. Yeah... toys.

My parents tried to keep me away from video games. They actually banned me from ever being in anyone's house if they knew that there was a video game system there. And they always would check. They would beat me for being in a place with an arcade. It never stopped me. And this was back in the NES days. I got beaten a lot over this. And not soft beatings like parents are afraid to give their kids now. I'm talking wooden paddles with holes in them. Being beaten in the shower with a wet leather belt. Being whipped with the buckle side of the belt. And not just a couple hits. On average about 10-20 hits at a time. Didn't deter me in the slightest. How far are these social engineers in sweden willing to go? This won't change anything.

I agree with you that it won't change kids' preferences. And I'd said I didn't think removing the toys was the best way to deal with the problem. But the problem is that boys have very little social freedom to interact with "girl" things, while girls do have some degree of social freedom to interact with "boy" things.

So I don't think saying "Fuck your cars, play with dolls" is going to fix anything, and indeed likely would make things worse. (I can imagine even in this preschool, there's enormous social pressure for boys to publicly denigrate the "girl" toys if that's all they're allowed access to.) But it's not about forcing boys to like "girl" things or prevent girls who like "boy" things from playing with them. It's about giving access to "girl" things for boys who do like them and creating a safe space for boys to play with them to play with them without fear of parental disapproval or ostracization by/from peer groups. Again, I don't think it's the right course of action and I don't think it will be effective in achieving its goals, but I do think something else should be done to try and improve the situation.

Landshark1:
According to my English Teacher, if you refer to someone as "one", then you can't use "their" as a way to show possesion (i.e If one was to eat their pie...), you're supposed to use "his or her" (i.e If one was to eat his or her pie...). This is what leads to the clunkiness of using one all the time, and that it would be self defeating as a gender neutral pronoun. And is Hen supposed to be the Swedish equivalent of "It"? "It" really isn't a gender neutral word, more like an anti-gender word.

"One's" is a perfectly valid possessive in most contexts. It just lacks a strong form. ("Her chair is hers." "One's chair is one's.") The first "one's" is technically valid. The second "one's" is technically invalid.

The problem with "one" as a general gender-neutral pronoun in everyday speech is that it's really formal. "One needs to reevaluate the ramifications of their actions" sounds fine, "One really oughta think that through" sounds silly. I'd use "one" in formal writing, but I'd never use it in a bar. It's also rather indirect... I dunno if there's a grammatical reason, but something like "A lawyer must make sure one's arguments are succinct" sounds weird to me.

Saying that you must use "his" or "her" instead of "their" with "one" is really just a grammatical aversion to the idea of a singular "they," since you're still mixing different pronouns by using "his" or "her" in that context anyway. I wrote a whole rant about it on page 3, but prescriptive linguistics is dumb and useless. It's an attempt to force strict, formal, immutable rules on something that is amorphous, varied, and constantly changing. (Really, codifying "standard" language rules is just about placing undue prestige on one dialect above all others, essentially awarding even more social benefits to the higher strata of society, but that's a whole other rant.)

Singular "they" is grammatically useful and politically important to those of us who don't want to go back to the days when it was normal and acceptable to, for instance, write shit like "A doctor should endeavor to build rapport with his patients" and "A secretary should be sure she takes accurate notes." I think your teacher should get off their high horse about the word. (And I don't care about the *~*~ramifications*~*~ of still conjugating the verbs a plural, whoooo caaaaares.)

excalipoor:
You people have no idea how lucky you are to have masculine and feminine pronouns. They make explaining certain situations so much more convenient.

But on the other hand, if you don't know the gender of the person, it becomes more difficult...

It would be easiest if you had pronouns for referring to different kinds of people, I suppose, for ones you know the gender of, the ones you don't, the ones who are older than you, younger, people you don't like etc.

Why stop at gender?

excalipoor:

Lieju:
In school I was told that girls just aren't good at math, and other kids spread rumours that I was cheating because I got good grades in math.

Which decade are we talking about here? Because I saw none of this shit in the nineties.

Also, as a kid my favorite color was red, and my best friend was a girl whose favorite color was blue. When we played house, she was the dad. Because fuck gender roles. She did suck at math though.

I grew up on the nineties.
The attitudes towards gender-roles felt like it was from the 50's, though.
I mean, we were told to dress 'properly' for the Independence day celebrations in junior high/high school, and for girls this meant dresses, of course.

Luckily I had a mother who was okay with me being me. Despite trying to get me to use make-up and dresses, but she gave up pretty easily. I never did forgive her for making me wear a dress to school, though, and didn't budge when it came to my graduation and confirmation.

Darken12:

Given how previous topics such as this one have devolved into flame wars and required moderator lockdown, apparently the community needs to be reminded of the board rules in bright blue text. I wouldn't go through all this trouble if it wasn't necessary.

Its the nature of the beast, people like to argue with one another, they like conflict. To give you an example of what I'm talking about, take a look at this video where Nicholas Cage plays a screenwriter and proposes the idea that a story be written where there is no conflict so that it can reflect "real life"(swearing is involved, just fyi)....

In other words, generally speaking people like conflict and if this forum was nothing but reaffirming opinions, it would be nothing but an echo chamber.

Darken12:

How...? Where...? How did you derive that conclusion? Where are you getting that information from? Sweden has done something that affects only its country and that other countries are free to imitate if they agree with it (which I hope they do). No idea where you're getting that they're forcing other cultures into conforming.

I was referring to your earlier comment in which you stated that...

"It is my sincerest hope that this ushers a new wave of change and progress in the world"

...which to me, came off as if you wish that others were forced to adopt this idea as well. Hence my comment about how I don't care much for some neo-European cultural imperialism. If Sweden wants to do this, fine. However, don't expect the rest of the world to conform to this mentality unless you plan on "pressuring" them to bastardize their language.

Darken12:

bananafishtoday:
*snip*

Wow, that was way more elaborate than what we did. We just beat the crap out of each other and shouted angrily until our voices got hoarse.

But yeah, it really doesn't matter what toy is overvalued, there's always a fad that sweeps through the playground and causes strife like that.

I don't know, I can probably yell for a while yet :P

Thanks to BFT for the info, I couldn't be arsed translating the article lol.

It still doesn't really change anything from my POV though - I was having a discussion at uni the other day (funnily enough, talk around the edges of gender in education) - and my opinion was that a school can't positively reinforce gender values, they can only negatively reinforce them, my point being that the majority of a a childs gender identity (especially at the young age we're talking about here) is made up from what they experience in the home.

Bringing that thought back to the article, wouldn't it be more appropriate to educate parents of gender neutrality instead of what that school is doing? It seems sort of defeatist that the system feels that kids feel safer in a school environment than they would in a home environment. The way they're doing it just feels like a big experiment to me - and that's not cool imo. I just think there has to be a better way to do this.

bananafishtoday:

Aramis Night:
But where does this leave a boy who wants to play with boy toys and has no interest in girl's/gender neutral toys? From what i've seen this tends to make kids want what they want even more. Kid's tend to be reactionary. However they are not without preferences. If children choose to value boy toys over female/gender neutral toys, then it doesn't seem that there is any reason to not allow the girls to play with them as well if they choose rather than limiting the toys that a boy can choose to play with. This would also negatively affect the ability of girls to also choose to play with whatever toy they wish.

I know my gf would definitely have taken issue with that. She used to prefer boy toys(i can't seem to make that come out right). She is the greatest example of a woman i know. It didn't make her into something else or cause any developmental problems. I despised girl toys and found most gender neutral toys to be bland. They just weren't interesting (except for maybe those ovens). I was all about transformers and other toy robots. Oh and video games. Well still with the video games. Spent most of today in another closed beta for an upcoming game. Yeah... toys.

My parents tried to keep me away from video games. They actually banned me from ever being in anyone's house if they knew that there was a video game system there. And they always would check. They would beat me for being in a place with an arcade. It never stopped me. And this was back in the NES days. I got beaten a lot over this. And not soft beatings like parents are afraid to give their kids now. I'm talking wooden paddles with holes in them. Being beaten in the shower with a wet leather belt. Being whipped with the buckle side of the belt. And not just a couple hits. On average about 10-20 hits at a time. Didn't deter me in the slightest. How far are these social engineers in sweden willing to go? This won't change anything.

I agree with you that it won't change kids' preferences. And I'd said I didn't think removing the toys was the best way to deal with the problem. But the problem is that boys have very little social freedom to interact with "girl" things, while girls do have some degree of social freedom to interact with "boy" things.

So I don't think saying "Fuck your cars, play with dolls" is going to fix anything, and indeed likely would make things worse. (I can imagine even in this preschool, there's enormous social pressure for boys to publicly denigrate the "girl" toys if that's all they're allowed access to.) But it's not about forcing boys to like "girl" things or prevent girls who like "boy" things from playing with them. It's about giving access to "girl" things for boys who do like them and creating a safe space for boys to play with them to play with them without fear of parental disapproval or ostracization by/from peer groups. Again, I don't think it's the right course of action and I don't think it will be effective in achieving its goals, but I do think something else should be done to try and improve the situation.

The problem i have with so much of this is that it seems to assume that much of what determines male/female preference is based on social influences rather than biology. At some when the gender binary was being established for what would evolve to become us, there had to have been a point where we were blank slate's without social conditioning. And yet we evolved along the lines we did. Why? Because biology guided the social conditioning, not the other way around.

No one wants to acknowledge it because it violates our very idea of personal free will, but hormones alone can radically change us. Our brains are radically altered to process information differently merely because we were dowsed with either large amounts of estrogen or testosterone while in utero. Science is still studying these complexities. I was actually pretty impressed when they tackled this in a later episode of House M.D. But much like the character they used to illustrate the scenario in the show, we each have a choice about whether we should indulge our natures or not. However it has to be an individual's choice. You can't make that choice for anyone else, and neither can a government.

Lieju:
But on the other hand, if you don't know the gender of the person, it becomes more difficult...

It would be easiest if you had pronouns for referring to different kinds of people, I suppose, for ones you know the gender of, the ones you don't, the ones who are older than you, younger, people you don't like etc.

Why stop at gender?

I'm not saying Finnish should attempt to implement genders into itself, I just find myself forming completely illegible phrases when I'm trying to explain something fast. In spoken Finnish, even 'it' and 's/he' are often the same.

"Se sano sil sitä ja sitä ja se sano et nii ja se vastas et näi ja se teki sit sillee, ja se otti sit sen ja se ei ollu sen semmosempi se."

Try to make sense of that, I dare you.

Lieju:
I grew up on the nineties.
The attitudes towards gender-roles felt like it was from the 50's, though.
I mean, we were told to dress 'properly' for the Independence day celebrations in junior high/high school, and for girls this meant dresses, of course.

Luckily I had a mother who was okay with me being me. Despite trying to get me to use make-up and dresses, but she gave up pretty easily. I never did forgive her for making me wear a dress to school, though, and didn't budge when it came to my graduation and confirmation.

Huh. Well, all I can say is that I never saw anyone forced to wear a dress. The only dresscode we ever had was that boys definitely, absolutely take their fucking hats off during ceremonies. In elementary school I don't remember "properly" ever being described as anything more than "neat and clean". In high school we had plenty of girls wearing suits and ties for the fancier occasions, because why not.

Right now I have a 15yrs old little sister who very much does her own thing, and I don't see or hear anyone trying to tell her to do otherwise. Except for our granny, who'd love for her to dress "nicer". We don't pay much attention to her. And while my sister dresses like a slob, she's also a straight-A student. Math included!

I've tried to stay away from these gender discussions, partly because most of these discussions are centered on the Anglosphere, but mostly because as someone living in southern Finland, they seem totally absurd to me. I can't speak for the rest of the world, and I don't know where around Finland you're from, but in my daily life I just don't see the kind of active oppression going on as is described in so many of these threads. I just don't.

Well, it's certainly better than the confusing English practice of using "they" as a gender neutral pronoun for a single person.

As a Swedish man I find this whole thing quite silly.

I am however ok with the gender neutral pronound, it's only sad that they choose such a feminine sounding word for it.

Darken12:
*snip*

It's a "tryhard" solution to a non-existent problem. My reasoning being that the problem isn't the problem, the attitude surrounding the perceived problem, is the problem.

I believe people are people, everyone is responsible for their own actions, livelyhood and life in general. No special treatment and no requirements made of one gender over the other. This is my core.
I also realize, that this is not possible, because we're so biologically driven that our attitudes keep the vast majority of people in certain roles. It's subtle, not overt, so it doesn't mean jobs need to be gender specific.

An example would be doctors in Russia, where the majority are women. They are paid far less than western country doctors who are primarily men, who also have a higher social status in this field.
The simple reason is that men are driven to one-up other men, to present themselves superior and subconsciously fight to the top for sexual procreation, while women have no biological drive for this and no need to make it a competition.
Since they have no need or biological, inherent wish to achieve power, their workplace comes to a standstill and doesn't need higher paychecks or rewards to entice the women there to do better. (Obviously, there are always exceptions, and women in a workplace with a lot of men feel that they have to compete, because the men do).
Please note that this doesn't make women the weaker gender or someone to be pitied. The thing is that unless you can give a man incentive, praise, reward and status, you can't really get him to do his work at peak performance. Women, from a biological standpoint, do not have this base need.

The point is that I, as a gender egalitarian, think there's such a significant difference between genders that there's no reason to go out of our way to please political correctness and make up new words, just because.
Now, it might seem inherently sexist, demeaning and even misogynistic of me to state that, but the thing is that we should embrace our gender differences and accept that there are some key points that we can't just lawyer our way out of.
As long as people still respect other people for their choices and actions, things will be fine and gender won't be the issue.

(This is why I'm against feminism and especially radical feminism, because they seek to one-up men and change things for their benefit, not equality.)

Adding gender neutrality to a language is largely pointless. It creates confusion and the only benefit to it is that someone can pretend to be neutral in about a hundred sentences throughout their lifetime, without even respecting the thought behind it. This is not progress.

Helmholtz Watson:
So wait... currently Sweden didn't have any words like "they", "them", or "that person"? Odd, but as an English speaker I guess I support them making their language convenient for people to communicate with one another.

I suppose I should be glad people think "they" is a single pronoun, because I've been trying to make it one for several years now. Nonetheless, your English teacher will bitchslap you if use it that way, and so will any companies you might want to hire you. Also, and perhaps more importantly, while "they" and "their" sound pretty natural when used as singulars, "them" doesn't sound right.

Which leaves us with "it". Except "it" isn't gender-neutral, it's neuter. It's for things without a gender or, more poetically, things without a soul, since you can call an animal "it". There's also a secondary problem that there's no difference between the subject, object, and possessive forms, which gets monumentally clunky when used in succession. For example, if I'm talking about a hyperintelligent shade of the color blue, which has no gender, then I'm going to end up with painful constructions like "It stroked its chin while examining the map I gave it", whereas if I were to use a different pronoun, the result would be "He stroked his chin while examining the map I gave him", which has the upshot of not sounding retarded.

Then there's "one" I guess, but it sounds awful. More importantly, it only works in certain kinds of sentences. For example, I can't say "One picked up one's suitcase". I'll take the confusion of "they" over a word that can't be used in most sentences.

All that's left is "he", which I think is semi-gender-neutral as a holdover from Romance languages like Spanish, where the masculine pronouns and forms are also the gender-neutral/mixed gender ones. You can also alternate 'he' and 'she', but that only works in the very specific case where the speaker is addressing a vast, unseen audience. In other words, it has no use outside of instruction manuals and self-help books.

As a writer, English needs a gender-neutral pronoun.

Darken12:

Loonyyy:

Darken12:

One day, I'm going to find a way to address a controversial topic in a way that does not sire a flame war. There must be some way I can phrase it.

I think it's a noble effort, but doomed to failure.

I am beginning to think the same.

Ask yourself this: Is it possible for one or more sides of the issue to get on a big moral high horse and get self-righteous about it?

If yes then no matter how you word your disagreement some people will be appalled that you disagree with them. And they will act like you are personally holding humanity back with your beliefs that aren't theirs (because that's what they believe).

As a Swede living in Japan, I can only giggle at this "weird" new word.

Casual Shinji:

IamQ:

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

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

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

Being a Swede, my take on the word is that it's purpose is more to be used when the gender isn't assigned yet. Like if you have a suspect, but no identity, or if you're just talking about people in general.

In that case couldn't we just use the discription we've always been using, like "the suspect", "the doctor", "the teacher"? I'm still not seeing the point to a gender neutral discription, other than people being offended that you didn't refer to them as gender neutral.

Well, when we don't know the gender, we often say "den" which translates to "it" which we mostly use to describle objects. We rarely, if ever, refer to peoples occupations. So I think "hen" helps distinguish instantly that it is a person of unknown gender. And if you don't like it, you don't have to use it. The people calling this some kind of big travesty, saying that it destroys genders, are just over exaggerating.

gmaverick019:

Harrowdown:

Anyway, I don't think this whole neutral pronoun think is likely to fuck anything up. Not seriously, anyway. A lot of people were aggressively against the introduction of 'Ms.' as a title for women (not that you're coming across as aggressive or anything), but the result of that little experiment was fairly positive, if not monumental.

curious because i don't know, what did they use before that caused so much distraught over "Ms." ?

Before people started using Ms., women were referred to either with the honorific 'Miss' or 'Mrs', depending on marital status. The point of Ms. was to create an honorific for women that didn't define them according to their relationship to men.

As a Swede, I can say that the word "hen" is definitely not a new thing and, personally, I think the word is rather silly. It sounds childish to my ears. Maybe that's because I was a child the first time I heard it (and I've yet to actually meet more than /one/ person who uses it semi-regularly) and thus associate it with childhood? In any case, it all feels very artificial to me. Whenever I talk about a person I absolutely don't know or don't want to reveal the gender of, I say "han eller hon" ("he or she") or "personen i fråga" (the person in question) or whatever. I've never really heard someone use the word "hen" in a day-to-day conversation, and I've never used it unironically.

Still, I suppose that if the government feels it absolutely needs a gender-neutral word (or if someone actually decides to use it), I don't mind.

excalipoor:

Lieju:
I grew up on the nineties.
The attitudes towards gender-roles felt like it was from the 50's, though.
I mean, we were told to dress 'properly' for the Independence day celebrations in junior high/high school, and for girls this meant dresses, of course.

Luckily I had a mother who was okay with me being me. Despite trying to get me to use make-up and dresses, but she gave up pretty easily. I never did forgive her for making me wear a dress to school, though, and didn't budge when it came to my graduation and confirmation.

Huh. Well, all I can say is that I never saw anyone forced to wear a dress. The only dresscode we ever had was that boys definitely, absolutely take their fucking hats off during ceremonies. In elementary school I don't remember "properly" ever being described as anything more than "neat and clean". In high school we had plenty of girls wearing suits and ties for the fancier occasions, because why not.

Right now I have a 15yrs old little sister who very much does her own thing, and I don't see or hear anyone trying to tell her to do otherwise. Except for our granny, who'd love for her to dress "nicer". We don't pay much attention to her. And while my sister dresses like a slob, she's also a straight-A student. Math included!

I've tried to stay away from these gender discussions, partly because most of these discussions are centered on the Anglosphere, but mostly because as someone living in southern Finland, they seem totally absurd to me. I can't speak for the rest of the world, and I don't know where around Finland you're from, but in my daily life I just don't see the kind of active oppression going on as is described in so many of these threads. I just don't.

It depends on where you live, even within a country. I grew up on a countryside, and if you go to places with strong religious influences it can be even worse.

Don't you think, that if you're lucky enough to live in a place without this kind of BS going on, you'd have a valuable point of view to offer in these kinds of discussion?

As in, 'We let my little sister dress like she wants to and the world did not explode'?

I speak Japanese and we dont have gender for nouns so i never understood why it was necessary.
However i also know that not having gender doesnt mean mean gender equality, so i hope all this fuss does not end up in vain...

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.

My thoughts exactly. Rights are rights, and should be equal for everybody regardless of gender, race, etc. However perceived equality should not extend to everything. Before anyone accuses me of being a bigot, racist, sexist, homophobe, etc... I'm not.

Despite what fanatical egalitarians (like many in this thread) may think, men and women are fundamentally different and that difference affects almost every aspect of our lives. As it's supposed to. Each gender is highly specialised (both physiologically and psychologically) to fulfil certain social/biological roles and tasks. I don't care what people say, this is a scientific fact and can't rationally be disputed.

If we go down this road and begin interfering with these fundamental specialisations... then where does it end? Today we're preventing the next generation from playing with cars and dolls, tomorrow we're inhibiting their hormones during puberty, what if the day after that they're forced to conform to hermaphroditic physiologies and heterosexuals who identify as men or women are the deviants?

The genders complement one another. Yin and yang. A mutually-beneficial relationship that has withstood the test of time. To standardise us would be to weaken us as a species, and anybody suggesting it is in all honesty more than a little misguided. You don't fix what isn't broken just because you can.

I_am_a_Spoon:

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.

My thoughts exactly. Rights are rights, and should be equal for everybody regardless of gender, race, etc. However perceived equality should not extend to everything. Before anyone accuses me of being a bigot, racist, sexist, homophobe, etc... I'm not.

Despite what fanatical egalitarians (like many in this thread) may think, men and women are fundamentally different and that difference affects almost every aspect of our lives. As it's supposed to. Each gender is highly specialised (both physiologically and psychologically) to fulfil certain social/biological roles and tasks. I don't care what people say, this is a scientific fact and can't rationally be disputed.

If we go down this road and begin interfering with these fundamental specialisations... then where does it end? Today we're preventing the next generation from playing with cars and dolls, tomorrow we're inhibiting their hormones during puberty, what if the day after that they're forced to conform to hermaphroditic physiologies and heterosexuals who identify as men or women are the deviants?

The genders complement one another. Yin and yang. A mutually-beneficial relationship that has withstood the test of time. To standardise us would be to weaken us as a species, and anybody suggesting it is in all honesty more than a little misguided. You don't fix what isn't broken just because you can.

I agree with most of what your saying but i feel i need to correct one misinterpretation you have of the debate here. The egalitarians are not the ones taking the position you claim. We have pretty much all been taking the stance here that gender is usually based on biology. The idea that gender is a social construct is a feminist theory. One that i disagree with and find incredibly damaging as most egalitarians do. We do not believe that one gender is compelled to take advantage of the other simply because of what the genders themselves are, therefore we don't feel the need to change the way genders are perceived. Egalitarians simply believe in equal rights without having to make up some crazy justifications for it outside of it simply being the right and fair thing to do.

As a Dane watching Sweden from the outside, it's more and more turning into a Bizzaro version of the US, with extreme rightwing christian capitalism replaced by political correctness and hippies. It's already reached the point where the fact that a major library censored Tintin in the Congo because it was written in 1931 and they didn't want people to even be exposed to the fact that racism exists/has existed. Sure there was an outcry that censorship is the tool of fascism, but to an outside view it didn't seem likelike was with the fact information were being withheld, but how heavyhanded it was.

Harrowdown:

gmaverick019:

Harrowdown:

Anyway, I don't think this whole neutral pronoun think is likely to fuck anything up. Not seriously, anyway. A lot of people were aggressively against the introduction of 'Ms.' as a title for women (not that you're coming across as aggressive or anything), but the result of that little experiment was fairly positive, if not monumental.

curious because i don't know, what did they use before that caused so much distraught over "Ms." ?

Before people started using Ms., women were referred to either with the honorific 'Miss' or 'Mrs', depending on marital status. The point of Ms. was to create an honorific for women that didn't define them according to their relationship to men.

ohhhh gotcha, i guess i forgot that.

i honestly haven't seen many, if any, women use the "miss" title in that definition, they usually change/don't change their last name for that part, but switch to the mrs. regardless.

(i'd honestly be okay if men had some different form of Mr. to signify marriage too, it's stupid there isn't one but there is for women.)

Aramis Night:

I_am_a_Spoon:

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.

My thoughts exactly. Rights are rights, and should be equal for everybody regardless of gender, race, etc. However perceived equality should not extend to everything. Before anyone accuses me of being a bigot, racist, sexist, homophobe, etc... I'm not.

Despite what fanatical egalitarians (like many in this thread) may think, men and women are fundamentally different and that difference affects almost every aspect of our lives. As it's supposed to. Each gender is highly specialised (both physiologically and psychologically) to fulfil certain social/biological roles and tasks. I don't care what people say, this is a scientific fact and can't rationally be disputed.

If we go down this road and begin interfering with these fundamental specialisations... then where does it end? Today we're preventing the next generation from playing with cars and dolls, tomorrow we're inhibiting their hormones during puberty, what if the day after that they're forced to conform to hermaphroditic physiologies and heterosexuals who identify as men or women are the deviants?

The genders complement one another. Yin and yang. A mutually-beneficial relationship that has withstood the test of time. To standardise us would be to weaken us as a species, and anybody suggesting it is in all honesty more than a little misguided. You don't fix what isn't broken just because you can.

I agree with most of what your saying but i feel i need to correct one misinterpretation you have of the debate here. The egalitarians are not the ones taking the position you claim. We have pretty much all been taking the stance here that gender is usually based on biology. The idea that gender is a social construct is a feminist theory. One that i disagree with and find incredibly damaging as most egalitarians do. We do not believe that one gender is compelled to take advantage of the other simply because of what the genders themselves are, therefore we don't feel the need to change the way genders are perceived. Egalitarians simply believe in equal rights without having to make up some crazy justifications for it outside of it simply being the right and fair thing to do.

I apologise then, wasn't referring to people like yourself. In fact I guess we're in the same boat. :P

Lieju:
It depends on where you live, even within a country. I grew up on a countryside, and if you go to places with strong religious influences it can be even worse.

During military service, I've had Laestadians call us city folk rubbercocks, because real men apparently don't use contraception. Now, maybe I'm just naive, and I can laugh it off as wanton ignorance only because I don't have to deal with it on a daily basis. Maybe some people don't have the luxury of saying "fuck you!" and moving on with their life. That right there is a very hard concept for me to wrap my head around, because I do have that luxury. Why doesn't everyone else?

Lieju:
Don't you think, that if you're lucky enough to live in a place without this kind of BS going on, you'd have a valuable point of view to offer in these kinds of discussion?

As in, 'We let my little sister dress like she wants to and the world did not explode'?

In the case of The Escapist that would very much be preaching to the choir, as I feel it would be in my local community.

My granny on the other hand is way past redemption. There's no changing her mind at this point, but there's no need to. In 60 years she'll be dead, and my generation will have taken the place of hers. I'm sure the youth of 2070 will think our views are just as antiquated, but it's okay, because they will then be the future trendsetters.

Anyway, the thing is this: I have never witnessed gender-based oppression firsthand. And I've looked. Sure I can google up all sorts of bullshittery, but I just can't see it being the norm and not the exception. Like school shooters. As in, not necessarily an underlying problem with society itself (unless we use a scale much smaller than the western civilization, or even a country), but just people with personal issues and hangups. For this I get told that I'm part of the problem, and that I couldn't possibly understand (and the latter just might be right).

In the end I'm left feeling antagonized and angry, because somehow I've turned into the villain of the story. I can't relate, and as such it's better for me to not engage at all. I realize that being a feminist on this site must be tough, what with the stream of opposition they get whenever they open their mouths, but you have to understand that when you call half the population victims, the implications of that will alienate the other half. Anyone would defend themselves if they feel they've been unjustly accused of something offending their sensibilities.

For fuck's sake, I didn't mean to ramble on like that. I'm already feeling the anxiety... That's another reason I avoid these threads. Time to ditch this site for a week or two.

Where the fuck are the Klingons...

"In-alien human rights." As in we don't all have the right to fix our broken right leg should it ever become broken. We all have the right to fix broken limbs as needed. So just because one person broke a limb doesn't mean you have to, or that you have to go around with your same limb coated in a cast for all that time. Sort of like getting the right drug for the right ailment, not just a life time supply of penicillin. And that could really suck if you were allergic to penicillin.

No fuckin' Klingons? Kirk got in shit for that one with the new High Chancellor I think it was. I don't want to start THAT flame war. Too many damn torpedoes.

Gender like ethnicity has defining differences. In the case of gender those are necessary to pro-creation. If Sweden were to outlaw say the existence of a school of Gynecology, because of gender neutrality, I'd been sincerely concerned for the health and welfare of their state's citizens.

At the moment my main concern about this initiative would be it's ability to spark a little 'Helter Skelter' between the genders. I would further go on to suggest that schools histories of handling bullying - at least in my country - are less then stellar. It's the sort of thing swept under the rug at the best of times. When things go truly badly, the school does it's best to suggest there was nothing it could do. To create a potentially hostile environment, with such a poor record of handling such environmental circumstances as they occur in nature, seems at best fool hardy at worst... Well you get the idea.

Finally... this initiative to 'destroy gender' seems flawed at it's heart. It could have less then desirable long term effects for everyone concerned. It also enforces certain gender rolls on people simply by attempting to tackle them. For instance, it immediately implies the home environment is not safe by suggesting the school environment is safer. It goes on to suggest that there is something wrong with what boys enjoy because it is restricted in the 'safer school environment'. While adding that a girl can play safely at home when a boy can't. That seems extremely prejudicial and like its enforcing gender rolls in and of itself.

I suppose we'll all have to sit back and wait for the crop they're sewing over there to sprout up and see what comes of it.

What are they afraid of? Because that's what this boils down to: fear.

Building gender equality through forced newspeak is both absurd and ineffectual. I hear the suicide rate in scandinavian countries is through the roof, no wonder why if they take dangerous detours such as this because of conformism.

Seems fine to me - gender neutral pronouns already exist in English (though I can't remember exactly what they are... possible zhir (instead of he/her), and another one...). i've never known someone that actually used them - most gender neutral people I know, including my partner, just use "they". And for the people saying that thats for plurals, it isn't always.

I don't know Swedish, so I don't know if there's an equivalent word already in use.

I wish the Netherlands would do the same. The binary gender stereotypes and gender roles society wants to reinforce on everyone has always confused me so much as a kid. I think everyone would be much happier and develop more agency over their lives if they had the choice to be whatever they want. Dress how you want, like what you enjoy most, study what interests you, play with what toys you choose, etc.

Every time I walk into a toy store and see one side in bright pink with a girl sign above it, which is absent of lego, nerf toys, all kinds of kid scientist stuff, dinosaurs, games and what have you I cry a little inside.

I_am_a_Spoon:

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.

My thoughts exactly. Rights are rights, and should be equal for everybody regardless of gender, race, etc. However perceived equality should not extend to everything. Before anyone accuses me of being a bigot, racist, sexist, homophobe, etc... I'm not.

Despite what fanatical egalitarians (like many in this thread) may think, men and women are fundamentally different and that difference affects almost every aspect of our lives. As it's supposed to. Each gender is highly specialised (both physiologically and psychologically) to fulfil certain social/biological roles and tasks. I don't care what people say, this is a scientific fact and can't rationally be disputed.

If we go down this road and begin interfering with these fundamental specialisations... then where does it end? Today we're preventing the next generation from playing with cars and dolls, tomorrow we're inhibiting their hormones during puberty, what if the day after that they're forced to conform to hermaphroditic physiologies and heterosexuals who identify as men or women are the deviants?

The genders complement one another. Yin and yang. A mutually-beneficial relationship that has withstood the test of time. To standardise us would be to weaken us as a species, and anybody suggesting it is in all honesty more than a little misguided. You don't fix what isn't broken just because you can.

But for all that, there are people who don't fit in your neat little "male" and "female" boxes. Intersex and gender neutral people exist too. Why can't they have a word, like "hen"? I don't agree with forcing everyone to use it if they clearly identify as male or female, but what about the people that don't?

It is only one kindergarden as far as i know that use it.
Where I live in Sweden everybody thinks it´s a stupid fad.

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

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

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

I thought of that, creating a hive-mind, one belief, one goal, ridding of anything that makes us different, or the concept of difference, or opinion, gender, race, anything that might cause friction for world peace. I was called mad, and insane for that. To my surprise the swede's want to do the same thing. Only the worst part of it being that it was a joke, cause I think worldpeace is a joke, and a farce, but some one is stupid enough to try it.

Yay Sweden! I really hope we follow suit!

Having a gender-neutral word when referring to a person is, I think, one of the key goals in achieving an equitable society as possible. You can join all races together under the flag of nationality or species but at the end of the day there's still a divide in life between genders and so long as that divide is inescapable in our language, it's enforced.

Sometimes a person just wants to be a person, not a gender and all the baggage that comes with it.

Having a gender-neutral word doesn't erase Male and Female, their usage and value - it just gives us the option of not being restricted to them.

Yay Sweden!

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