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'Swedish needs a gender-neutral pronoun'

8 Feb 2012, 13:15

Published: 08 Feb 2012 13:15 GMT+01:00

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The Swedish words “hon” (she) and “han” (he) are loaded with preconceptions about characteristics and we see that language and the words we choose have a huge impact on how we experience the world.

The new gender-neutral Swedish word “hen” will open up for a freer interpretation by not being tied to these preconceptions.

Despite the fact that the book “Kivi & Monsterhund” ('Kivi & Monster Dog') hasn't been published yet, we have already received a number of reactions.

Many are positive and curious.

Others feel that it is upsetting and threatening, as gender is seen as something important. It creates predictability and safety. It is perceived as problematic when someone breaches the expected gender roles and in many cases it leads to some sort of punishment.

In 2011, a young boy in Jönköping was attacked for wearing pink and nail polish, which are perceived as female attributes.

Today, “han” (he) is automatically used when we don't know the gender of a character and old Swedish rules on writing dictate that “he” should be used when the sex is not known or is deemed irrelevant – which can be seen in many legal texts.

And there are all the children's books where seemingly gender-neutral characters and animals almost always are male.

“He” becomes the norm and anyone who is supposed to be a “she” has to stand out by expressing her feminine attributes. A child who erroneously calls someone “he” is quickly corrected and learns that it is important to make a distinction between “he” and “she”.

We argue that this should be of secondary importance and that the active separation of the sexes has negative consequences for both individuals and society.

A more relaxed attitude with a less prominent gender indoctrination would lead to a better future. To bring the Swedish word “hen” into common usage is part of that work.

In “Kivi & Monster Dog”, it doesn't matter if it is a he (han) or a she (hon); a gender-neutral “hen” can combine characteristics and attributes according to individual preferences, and in the long run lead to neither “he” nor “she” being so strictly tied rules on gender.

Hen” is therefore a solution that makes it possible to meet the world in a more unbiased way and to read a text or have a conversation where the focus is shifted away from gender identity to the personal characteristics of the individual.

A counter-argument could be that the word “hen” would mean that differences between the two gender roles are erased. But exactly what differences are important to keep?

Salary differences, the use of violence, the providing of care or the capacity for kindness?

We think everyone should be allowed to be different, regardless of sex. According to the latest reworking of Sweden's laws on discrimination, one can now also claim to be discriminated against due to “cross gender identity and expression”, which also shows that the word “hen” is needed for those who are unable to identify with either gender.

By freeing the word “hen” from the expectations tied to traditional gender roles, readers are given a possibility to meet Kivi in a different way.

This is an exciting linguistic possibility! Why forfeit that chance?

We argue that “hen” is needed if an writers like Jesper Lundqvist, the author of “Kivi & Monster Dog”, wants to succeed in letting the character be evaluated from its individual characteristics and give all children the chance to identify with it.

Bringing in a new element that makes us think about how we use language allows for awareness and change which goes beyond any single word.

Story continues below…

Using “hen” doesn't mean we need to get rid of hon (she) and han (he).

Rather, it's simply a matter of adding hen: to allow for three choices, instead of two.

Karin Milles, lecturer in Swedish, Södertörn University College

Karin Salmson, OLIKA Publishing Ltd

Marie Tomicic, OLIKA Publishing Ltd

This article was originally published in Swedish in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper. Translation by The Local

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Your comments about this article

14:17 February 8, 2012 by pjtaipale
Simple. Just start speaking Finnish, instead of the gender-repressive, reactionary Germanic language which was forced on all with threat of violence.

15:05 February 8, 2012 by Dazzler
YAY more hyper sensitive bullshit!

I weep for humanity.
19:10 February 8, 2012 by Vill
As long as you are creating a gender-neutral pronoun, may I recommend an all-inclusive-gender pronoun? I coin the word "HERM".

(* derived from "hermaphrodite": an individual in which reproductive organs of both sexes are present. *)
19:27 February 8, 2012 by godnatt
Considering that I can't tell if the person in the picture is a man or a woman, this may be appropriate for them.
19:53 February 8, 2012 by Opinionfool

Herm would be good as a pronoun for those with gender dysmorphia but the word raise other conations itself. Hen might be better but why bother! The suggestion is as agenda-ridden as that of the generic "he" idiocy in English (which a rather late intrusion into that language having only been in use since the late 19th century because some government official tried to assert male dominance in a language that possesses no grammatical gender).


Suggest you visit an optician. "She" is clearly a she.


In general it needs more than an ungendered pronoun. There would need to be possessive and reflexive forms in addition. Again, why bother. There might be a few instances in fiction when revealing the gender of a perpetrator would spoil the plot but really, come on, there is no need for this stupidity.
20:32 February 8, 2012 by Token-not-found
Just wow....

Sweden is non-religious in vain, ideological anti-science sentiment is present like in a theocracy.
21:44 February 8, 2012 by BigDogRex
Once this is done, are they going to work on ways for men to lactate and ovulate? In the interest of equality, that is.
01:36 February 9, 2012 by bira
Soooo stupid! It so happens that just about every living thing DOES have a gender, even dogs, as in this story.
09:36 February 9, 2012 by Stonebridge
Something that is neither "he" (han) nor "she"(hon) is an "it" (den/det).

What's the problem?

The other solution is to use the character's name rather than he or she, thus avoiding the need for the pronoun.

So refer to the dog as "it" or by name.

If this seems too much like manipulating language, how would you describe inventing a new word?

Or maybe the author of the book could have had both male and female characters in the story, giving them non-traditional male of female characteristics if this is the point being made?
09:50 February 9, 2012 by JMSN
I thnk this is simply too much! It's clearly caused by this new left-wing wave where everyone has to start thinking the same on certain issues.

They're using examples of intolerance against homosexuality as an excuse, but that doesn't justify it, because those problems have to be addressed by teaching people respect & tolerance.

This instead, just feels to me like brainwashing our kids through language, which, for anyone who's read George Orwell's 1989 will see that words and their meaning are the easiest way to start controlling the way people think and conceive their opinions. Not only is this ridiculous but HORRIBLE!
10:11 February 9, 2012 by jamesblish
I clicked on this article only to read the comments on how gay and/or hypersensitive we Swedes are.
12:58 February 9, 2012 by RobinHood
Language adapts and evolves on its own. If you try and force it, by inventing new words, for example, it just ignores the attempt and rolls on regardless. If Swedish needs a gender neutral pronoun, it would already have one.
16:19 February 9, 2012 by oldonpalouse
'Hen' is english for a female chicken. You folks can have a field day with that. In this day of political correct nonsense, I have found the habit of using 'person' in place of those pronouns frustrates all.
16:40 February 9, 2012 by strixy
Language lives its own independent life so leave it alone. Language is a reflection of society and to change the language you have to change the society, not the other way round!
19:58 February 9, 2012 by metalhead
In America, it's an "it".
21:19 February 9, 2012 by Fredio
Jesus Christ! Now this madness is running totally bunkers!!

Are there still 'sane' people left in Sweden or are they all under the 'feminist spell'?

What kind of joke is this about 'equality', I think these people need some kind of psychiatric help urgently. When one think he'd heard the last from them, comes another bizarre idea.

I think normal men and women in Sweden need to stand up now before this group run them all into dark pit!

We read about how they challenged 'God' for being 'He', and threatened to rewrite the 'Bible', I am not sure if that has been done.

We read about their obnoxious hatred for men daily, and how they even label women that sleeps with men as 'traitor' to 'feminist agenda'.

We read about how they want to impose taxation on men, as a way of 'teaching' them lessons for what they claimed to be men 'forefather's' sins to their 'foremothers' (Or what should I say). The sin of the father visited on the son.

Then the drama of girls free forever to accuse any man of rape even by looking at her, not to mention sleeping with her (Without filling and signing all the necessary agreement papers-This is how I see it), for the rest of their lives.

Now, that is what Wikileaks Julian Assange was not aware of, that there is no longer anything like 'consensual sex' by two adults, and in the Swedish 'Feminist' rule of equality, only the girls has absolute right and power, to be drunk, and get away with any silliness, even rape any man. However, a man that is drunk and get abused or raped by a girl is at his own peril!

In other words, if a guy goes to club and meet a girl and both of them agreed to have sex. Without signing an agreement on how and what, should be involved in the act. Then the poor guy (With no right as human), will live all his life in suspense, because the girl may (According the commandments of Swedish feminist), report the guy for 'rape' ten or even fifty years after the act took place.

Now if that is not something to worry any normal person I wonder what else.

Again the latest in line of the madness is to change the gender 'pronoun', 'woman/female/she/her' and 'man/male/he/him'.

I read it some months back about the school that is already running that 'madness' at kindergarten, calling kids 'hen' (Female chicken).

There can be no comparable wicked form of 'children' abuse than to deny them their natural identity! It is taking away the dignity and identity of these innocent kids for crying out loud, and they do not deserve it!

Ironically, those people doing these to those innocent kids still maintain their 'female' names and other biological traits and identity intact, but choose to destroy the lives of these kids, and the whole country is watching and nodding in support, like hypnotized robots! It is shocking there is no outrage among the public at least to save these kids! .... To continue...
22:50 February 9, 2012 by Mark S.
The point is to not assume HE in cases where the gender does not matter. "Ask the driver where the bus stops next. HE will know." The implicit message is "drivers are male".

You can see why it matters by performing this simple experiment: For the next day, every time you would say "he" for a pronoun, say "she". Observe how upset people are. For example, the male bus driver does not like being called "she". And yet you are happy to call the female bus driver "he" before you find out she is female.

So it is a reasonable concern.

I'll make a prediction, though. "hen" is not going to catch on. There have been MANY attempts to invent a new non-gender specific pronoun in US English; none have been successful except in a few fringe subcultures.

The one that does work in US English is "they". It has become both a plural and a singular pronoun. "Ask the driver where the bus stops next. THEY will know."

You conjugate the verbs as if it were plural. "They are responsible for knowing the bus route".

Of course you can find a grammatical prescriptivist (somebody who thinks correct language comes from definitions in a book, not the real language that people use) who will say this use of "they" is incorrect.

De är felaktiga.
23:25 February 9, 2012 by sarah02
Gender neutral pronoun?!! This is the crappiest thing I've ever heard!!! You think that gender creates problems? This is not the answer or an answer. It's funny to hear though. 20 years from now, there will be some really messed up youth!
06:09 February 10, 2012 by för30årseden
There is one thing that men and militant feminists agree on: "the object of life is to be a guy!" And if there is one thing that women are pretty pathetic at -- it's being a guy. And try as she will, this "hen" can never disguise the fact that by her own value system she is a failure.

The best she will ever be is a morphrodite, which Archie Bunker once described as a freak, with too much of each and not enough of neither.
07:00 February 10, 2012 by Fredio
.....What will happen with these 'sick' indoctrination when this kids someday travels out of Sweden, maybe to England, US or other English speaking countries and introduce themselves as 'Hello my name is 'Hen', I have no gender'? Or where they are writing what they did or say, it'll go like this… 'He' said, 'She' said, then for the Sweden 'genderless' it will go like this...'Hen' says… C'mon! I can't really get it, why those 'so-called' feminists still maintain their 'female' names and every other female attributes they have, including their 'monthly period, or menopause', even their breasts that is still bigger than that of men, they should first get rid of those few differences first, before going after poor innocent kids! It is really true that human being with no control or limit can be worse than the wildest of beasts. It hurts that many Swedes are either less concerned (In the name of liberalism), or simply ignorant of the catastrophic danger posed by these group. Their aim is to dismantle the foundation of that country, and already they are succeeding, they have finished the main pillar, which is the family, now working on the posts, the next is for the whole structure to get leveled. What will come next? After change of 'pronoun', it will come to change of 'noun'. Then maybe all the 'hypnotized' Swedish men should be forced to line up and get castrated, so everyone will have the same 'equality' down there! I won't be shocked to hear they may have suggested of have that in their insane 'feminist' manifesto. It to see what you care for being destroyed, that is why I am saying it as it is. There is no way you can make man and woman to be the same! If they disagree Please, drop all these nonsense and teach children about LOVE and RESPECT for one another. That is what 'equality' means, not 'stupid feminist' attempt to destroy the society in insane hatred of trying to punish men.
11:50 February 10, 2012 by Max Reaver

You are the man. I totally agree.
11:51 February 10, 2012 by Aussiepride

There are words already! Just like the rest of the language it just depend on......wait what are the rules again. Lol
12:18 February 10, 2012 by CJ from Sunshine Desserts
Live & let live and we`re all Jock`s bairns ..but I think that the HBTX or whatever they`re referred to as have had a wee bit too much publicity & PR over the last few years...I mean how many are we talking about in Sweden 1% of the population ? doubt it . Sweden is rapidly turning into an anti-hetero-male place...who speaks for white hetero male Swedes ? Jimmy Åkesson ?
12:59 February 10, 2012 by Opinionfool
@Mark S

"The point is to not assume HE in cases where the gender does not matter. "Ask the driver where the bus stops next. HE will know." "

I follow the example of Jane Austen, the doyen of English literature, when needing to refer to a ungendered individual by saying "Ask the driver ... *They* will know." (I would also follow Austen and alter the split infinitive in your example.)

Austen used the "singular they" in preference to the "generic he", which was an affectation introduced by the English Parliament in their Interpretation Act of 1850, which arbitrarily decreed the generic he usage. Until then he and she were fully and only gendered pronouns. But it did not matter to her (or her readers of yore or today) that she used gendered pronouns because she has singular they available for those instants when gender really is irrelevant not just some issue on a minority agenda.
17:42 February 10, 2012 by BRIAR
just call them a person instead of he or she!
18:16 February 10, 2012 by Fredio
.....What will happen with these 'sick' indoctrination when this kids someday travels out of Sweden, maybe to England, US or other English speaking countries and introduce themselves as 'Hello my name is 'Hen', I have no gender'? Or where they are writing what they did or say, it'll go like this… 'He' said, 'She' said, then for the Sweden 'genderless' it will go like this...'Hen' says… C'mon!

I can't really get it, why those 'so-called' feminists still maintain their 'female' names and every other female attributes they have, including their 'monthly period, or menopause', even their breasts that is still bigger than that of men, they should first get rid of those few differences first, before going after poor innocent kids! It is really true that human being with no control or limit can be worse than the wildest of beasts.

It hurts that many Swedes are either less concerned (In the name of liberalism), or simply ignorant of the catastrophic danger posed by these group. Their aim is to dismantle the foundation of that country, and already they are succeeding, they have finished the main pillar, which is the family, now working on the posts, the next is for the whole structure to crumble.

What will come next?

After change of 'pronoun', it will come to change of 'noun'. Then maybe all the 'hypnotized' Swedish men should be forced to line up and get castrated, so everyone will have the same 'equality' down there!

I won't be shocked to hear they have that in their insane 'feminist' manifesto.

It is too sad to see what you care for being destroyed, that is why I am saying it as it is.

There is no way you can ever make man and woman to be the same! If they disagree, then let them change all their feminist attributes and remain in Sweden, because certainly most place in the world, even the women there will throw stone at them if they come with such B*S..

Please, drop all these nonsense while there is still time, and teach the children about LOVE and RESPECT for one another. That is what 'equality' is all about, not some 'stupid feminists' attempting to destroy the whole society with insane hatred of trying to punish men.
18:27 February 10, 2012 by Opinionfool

Travel from Sweden to the US! This sort of idiotic gender specific/gender free nonsense started in the US with the right-wing Bible bashes. If it went back to the US it would be squaring the circle.
19:31 February 10, 2012 by area man
As an American who's recently moved here and is learning Swedish can I make a plea that as long as you're doing away with gendered pronouns can you please do away with en vs ett nouns and adjectives. Can they all just be "ent" or something?

21:52 February 10, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Here in the States we say the word "guy(s)" when referring to a group of people whether they are males or females or a combination of both. You don't see the women running around screaming they said "guys". Come on people there are so many more important things in the World that really matter.

We also have a saying "it won't matter in a 100 years"!!!
01:05 February 11, 2012 by Opinionfool
@area man

Just wait till you studies live upto your name and reveal that en/ett can swap in dialects.


"guys" only works if the group is either mixed or entirely male so fails to fulfill this minority agenda of a totally genderless pronoun. Plus it only works in American not English.
04:29 February 11, 2012 by Imperor
The sexual dimorphism of Homo Sapiens is believed to be one of the determining factors in how we won the evolutionary competition over the Neanderthals. By being different and specializing in different things within the same species we could do everything better than the more "equal" Neanderthals.

Why is this supposed to be a bad thing all of a sudden? Men and women ARE different, we function in different ways and have different ways of solving problems. This is because of biochemistry and a biological FACT! Not a "social construct".

I believe that the fixation on this issue causes more problems than if we could just accept and celebrate our differences and use them to our advantage instead if fighting them tooth and nail, working hard to not let girls be girls and boys be boys.
09:33 February 11, 2012 by zooeden
Thats what happen when linguists nerds have so much coffee and oodles of time to spare and read adn filosofy nonsense, in the real world "HEN" walks wearing pink and nail polish and still gonna get his ass kicked, cause regardless to education there are still idiots and bullies. The mere word is excluding you from personality, orientation or dogmatic views. Is people really considering this??? or only in östermalm where they have nothing else to do???
10:13 February 11, 2012 by Englishman_In_Norpan
Regardless of the debate on whether we need a sexless pronoun on the grounds of gender equality, I would suggest that 'hen' is not for for the task on the grounds that it is too near to the female genitive possessive pronoun 'hennes'.

I also believe confusion for the reader could also arise with the addition of two characters;

Eng: He took her book.

Swedish: Han tog hennes bok.

Genderless Swedish: Hen tog hens bok.

Whose book was taken and by whom?
12:11 February 11, 2012 by gh2008

perhaps that exactly is the problem! in Swedish the word "person" usually referred to as "man". they simply couldn't argue that word; that may expose the agenda behind it.

one does not simply evolve a pronoun in a language. it is not a decision that a linguist can make. it is a process!
12:22 February 11, 2012 by Roy E
The problem with meddlers is that they meddle.

Would somebody please give this woman a real job?
12:49 February 11, 2012 by EP
Swedes are so anal about anything to do with perceived gender inequality, but any racial inequality is just fine and any talk about said problem implies being too politically correct. Typical Swedish hypocrisy
13:08 February 11, 2012 by billyb362
Before long, this children's book 'Kivi and Monsterhund' will probably be required reading in preschool and kindergarten.

Any teachers who refuse to indoctrinate their class with this book will be harshly reprimanded and/or terminated.

Any parents who express concern will be humiliated and forced to attend 'sensitivity training' classes.

Mainstream media will do their part to advance the agenda by making people feel like bigots and haters if they have a problem with it.

Is Sweden becoming a 'totalitarian' country? This being the case, I suspect it won't be long before parents are demanding to home-school their kids again
13:40 February 11, 2012 by godnatt
Being male isn't politically correct.
14:44 February 11, 2012 by Opinionfool

Being politically correct isn't politically correct. Loads of examples in England of where pc-ism has taken over producing bland and boring.

If speakers of a language create a neologism in response to their consensus over something then the word will become part of the language itself. In all examples of where word-usage has been imposed by some group with an agenda the imposition has failed. And in the extreme we end up with Orwellian Newsspeak in which nothing but the dictatorial view can be said. Might be your idea of fun but it ain't mine.
15:20 February 11, 2012 by BritVik
I guess we, or the Swedes as is their wont, wi'll have to set up a committee to look into it all, and appoint a Chairman or Chairwoman to oversee it all - or perhaps a Chairhen under the current circumstances. They have already dispensed the chairperson and spokesperson idiocy on us, so perhaps the Chairhen will fit the bill. Then, instead of talking about 'människan' they will be introducing 'heniskan'.

Oh God, the possibilities are too numerous - and humorous - to mention. England has its PC Plod, Sweden has its PC Hen. :-)
17:37 February 11, 2012 by Greekfan

A minor point of information. George Orwell's book in called 1984 not 1989. I think he wrote it in 1948 and wanted to pick a date in the future so just turned the last two digits round.
18:30 February 11, 2012 by Opinionfool

1984 from 1948, it was indeed. Originally intended to be a polemic against Stalinism; however, those of us living in England in 1980 realised that Orwell's math had been off by a lot and by a gender. The scenario of a totalitarian Englisher state has been a reality since the 19th century and solidified in the 1900s and 1910s; idiocies such as Defence of the Realm Act and Official Secrets Act toether with other pieces of long enacted repressive legislation meant that Orwell should have called the book 1849. By 1980 the English were living under not a Big Brother but a Massive Maggie. Now there's an idea for this disgendered pronoun call it a Maggie --- she was biologically a woman but behaved as if she were a man. It serves many purposes. First satisfying this idiotic call for a genderless pronoun and secondly a fantastic derogatory term for referring to such people as Maggie Thatcher. (Sadly England has more of such Maggies now than it did during her reign.)
22:41 February 11, 2012 by jostein
Is "Moron" gender neutroal enough for you? Anyway, Södertörns högskola is an infamous nest of these nutcases. If you see anyone signing with a title from that place, expect it to be high on ideologically instilled lunacy and low on content.
10:18 February 12, 2012 by Swedishmyth
Good idea, let's not group these hens together with actual men and women who enjoy and celebrate each other's differences.
10:38 February 12, 2012 by diegoveggie
oh god. these angry feminists. whats next? she needs a boyfriend or two
15:22 February 12, 2012 by Opinionfool

"moron" No, please no. It's a perfectly serviceable word meaning either an adult with the mental capacity of a pre-teen or as a derogative term for a particular religious group. Don't use it for describing those who, as members of a very very minor group, want to impose their fundamentalist opinion upon general language usage or as a possible word for what they want. Unless of course they do have a mental age in that range, which they may well do given their obsession with other people's "bits".
15:11 February 13, 2012 by Jes
Hah , so the Jönköping boy was attacked because "it" was wearing pink ? I suggest that we abolish colours first . Without pink , nobody will be attacking nobody for wearing a colour that may cause problems. We may also consider banning language and speech . Silent people will not be able to say : " pink" ?
18:28 February 13, 2012 by Opinionfool

It's not that long ago (1920/1930) that English boys wore pink! Within a couple of generations the culture and language changes. If there really is a need for an ungendered pronoun then it will develop with the community at large rather that be dictated and imposed by a minority group with a militant agenda. If there s no need then no matter what this group demand such a pronoun will die.
19:59 February 13, 2012 by AntiFeminist
What a bunch of fools up their in Sweden, I am never coming back to such a frosty misandering society. The feminist sillyness that has pervaded Swedish society is much the same as the religious sillyness that has taken hold of the American south, you all look like uneducated rednecks to me. The only difference is that Swedish society has brainwashed their people in the opposite way.
00:56 February 14, 2012 by batista
Oh dear! Another feminist...how many feminists are there in these Nordic countries?
02:05 February 14, 2012 by blue2012
How about "PC Idiot".
02:20 February 14, 2012 by Skaperen
There are times I cannot "fill in the blanks" when I don't know the gender. This isn't an issue in some languages like Finnish or Hungarian. I don't know if "hen" works so well if children are also learning English. And "hun" would not work so well in that context, either. Too bad Swedish can't use "hän".
11:32 February 14, 2012 by billyb362
Confuse our children...

Make children doubt their own gender, or if they even have one, great!

Shouldn't all kids question whether they are absent of a true gender?

Militant liberal feminism...presenting the wave of the future!

Yes, the implications of this is sickening
12:37 February 14, 2012 by Jes
@Opinionfool , here is the problem :

the liberalion that they sing and talk about in parades and political gatherings has not happened . It is all an ILLUSION !

It is 2012 , but somebody is still looking for some magical solution to get counted. Some one imagines that they will cure their own insecurity by creating a new pronoun. Silly , I say !

Just the other day , Mona Sahlin was on TV . She almost had a stroke when the man who wrote " Men are from Mars ; women are from Venus" tried to explain that men and women are not exactlly the same . The feminists in her suddenly blocked out her intellectual capacities . As a result , she totally missed the semantics and become defensive as if she does not know that being EQUALis not synonemous to being the SAME. I sadly noticed that Mona did not realize that "FEMALE" is a scientific/ biological term while " FEMINIST" is a socialogical one - meaning that the 2 are not inter changable . My conclusion was Mona Sahlin chose to be offended even if she should have known better.

I suspect that whover is suggesting the creation of a non-gender pronoun is suffering from a complex that can hardly be cured by a mere word.

We better deal with the reality that some things cannot be changed by simple wishes.
04:00 February 15, 2012 by för30årseden

Feminists believe that women are no different from men.

The problem is that men are different from women.

And for that -- men need to be punished!
14:21 February 15, 2012 by Jes
@för30årsedan, let not the mighty feminists catch you saying that .They could threaten to ban common nouns such as "men" and "women".. After that, they will target adjectives like: "different"....and then they will go after retail shops that sell "anti- gender-neutral"clothers and shoes that ( it will be argued) are "tied to gender preconceptions"
03:48 February 16, 2012 by Trenatos
Absolutely moronic.

Swedish does not need a gender neutral word (Oh wait, it already exists, in the form it it, that, they, etc.)
04:42 February 16, 2012 by för30årseden
Women are not inferior to men.

But those women who are ashamed to be identified as women and keep trying to hide the fact behind new labels -- They are inferior to everyone else, including my dog Daisy!
10:38 February 16, 2012 by mnphoto87
I sympathize with the intentions of this movement, but I have just one suggestion:

Instead of focusing on creating gender neutral pronouns, why can't we work on softening the well-defined gender roles that seem to be causing the real problems in the first place? In other words, teach children that it's okay and normal for boys to have female attributes and vice versa, rather than get them to completely deny the existence of gender. After that is accomplished, perhaps the addition of a genderless pronoun would feel like a logical step.
12:25 February 16, 2012 by Jes
@mnphoto87 , define "attributes " first or you will find yourself running in circles.

May I also ask you to name those "well.defined gender roles " that need to be softened up ?
12:35 February 16, 2012 by mnphoto87
@Jes- Attributes meaning characteristics of the patriarchal heterosexual "norm", like a man who is attracted to another man, or a woman who prefers not to have children, etc.

Feminists don't believe men and women ARE the same, they believe men and women should be TREATED the same. I find it both hilarious and saddening to read the comments here from men who think we are still living in the stone age (you might want to know that before modern agriculture, women and men did indeed have equal roles and rights in society). Of course this kind of thinking scares all the guys who think women should be second to men, because that's exactly what you're implying.

The point is, once you stop expecting girls to be soft, emotional housewives and guys to be tough, emotionless macho men, the real differences in gender seem to fade. There are women who are poor caretakers, men who great ones, women who aren't as emotional as their male partners, men who prefer being with men, etc etc etc, so why spend your energy militantly arguing that men are a certain (this) and women are a certain (that)? Of course women will give birth and men will not, but do you really expect THAT to be the reason to keep all women in the house, and any girls (or guys) who don't want that lifestyle to be chastised? In my opinion feminism isn't about the struggle to prove that men and women aren't different, it's about the fact that men and women are caught in a struggle with preconceptions that severely limits what is considered "normal", which has damaging effects for both sides, especially those who don't fit the cookie-cutter model of what a traditional patriarchal society considers normal.
13:45 February 16, 2012 by Techwreckie
To all these people saying it's sick and wrong etc...just pointing out that Finnish doesn't use gendered pronouns...just "hän" for both genders. And I know plenty of Finnish people who get along just fine here in England.
14:21 February 16, 2012 by Jes
@mnphoto87 ,

heads can be tricky ! Sometimes , a brain makes you hear what you want to hear . Before you know it , you are a victim of your own imagination .

As I said before , the liberation that you people sing about has not arrived yet . Your comment proves this . With all the evidence we have , you still want to keep on saying that women are victims . You refuse to see that men adore and respect Oprah , a woman who is either married or has children . You refuse to see that USA has had 3 powerful Foreighn Secretaries of State in the last 18 years . You refuse to notice that even in China , 4 out of the weathies business people are women . You refuse to remember that 3 women were nominated by men to share the last Nobel prize . Do you need to be told that these women did not come from Uppsala but Africa and Yemen ?

You refuse to figure out that the most visible and noisy feminists " in Sweden are married women whith children . You prefer thinking that if woman is marriade to man and has children , then she must be one those "soft emotional house wifes". You are WRONG !

So dear , mnphoto87 , what are you going to tell teach young children when they ask you why in the last Presisendial candidate elections , there were more men who voted for Mrs Clinton than women ? How will you explain to your class that Germay`s Angela Market , who is not married and has no kids was voted into power by 56 % men ? You better take a good look at yourself . Men have moved away from " stone age " but you will not see that because "stone age " is still in your head .
15:41 February 16, 2012 by mnphoto87
I'm failing to see what exactly you are trying to argue here. That I am refusing to see that many men respect women, or that women can be successful? That feminists can not be part of a traditional household? Where did I make such claims? Lol, take a deep breath and have another look at what I said.

And I "prefer thinking that if woman is marriade to man and has children , then she must be one those "soft emotional house wifes" LOL, that is such a ridiculous statement I don't even know how to respond. You come across as an angry, reckless conservative with poor spelling and grammar skills.

Care to tell us where you became so well educated? Do you support a person's choice to have a homosexual relationship? Do you think its okay that the boy in Jönköping was harassed? I am advocating a tolerant and open-minded view of gender and sexuality, that's it. Please stay on topic and post relevant counter-arguments if you want to be taken seriously.
22:18 February 16, 2012 by grov_kvinnofridskrankning
i prefer calling women 'it', start using it sweden
13:13 February 17, 2012 by Jes

the point is that you don`t have to worry that men and women are no longer treated the same . because they are , and there is evidence to prove it.

The preconceptions that you talk about are in your head . This is what your whole comment was about . I pointed out how wrong you were.

..and now to answer your questions :

-I am learned ; to be "well educated is a subjective matter .

- I support any relationship that respects the rights of others to have an opinion over relationships .

- its not okay for anybody to be harassed ; but it is silly to suggest that if "pink" got another name , the idiots that harresed him would stop because of it.

You are advocating for open-minded gender and sexuality tolerance by eliminating 2 pronouns ?

Care to tell me where you become so educated ?
01:43 February 18, 2012 by Sushiw
It is about as far as one can go to be rid of God. Be Careful Sweden. Homeschoolers are forced to leave the country and no one knows it. Laws being passed and know one hears of it. The toad in the luke warm water doesn't know it will die. Wake up! The only example we have of true forgiveness and compassion is Jesus. Until then many children, men and women will be allienated for whatever reason, because people don't have a conciousness of sin. They don't judge themselves with any Godly moral standard, even many Christians. Sweden may well lead the way in bringing the brainwashing system that is dumbing down children in schools all over the world. Educate yourselves before it is too late. Before you are numb to truth and see what is going on around you.
18:49 February 19, 2012 by Prestonrobsun
'Hen' is a UK 'Geordie' affectionate term.

For a woman.........
01:51 February 20, 2012 by Sushiw
Hen is also used for females in Scotland as a way of being friendly. I think we just have more important things on our minds. Lets hope so.
04:00 February 20, 2012 by AmusedMuses
Awful idea. My girl is proud to be a she. my boy proud to be a boy. End of story.
11:53 February 20, 2012 by Techwreckie

If your children were proud of their racial heritage, would it be a good idea for their race to be pointed out every single time they were referred to in a sentence? That's what pronouns like he/she do with gender.
12:01 February 20, 2012 by Jes
Oh dear GOD , what a clever question !
22:17 February 20, 2012 by Gjeebes
Sweden, such a good source of entertainment! Yes, we are all naughty girls and boys, aren't we? Ya, Finns have hän, but even so, women are women, and men are men, in Finland. Not sure what to think about Swedes now! But seriously, this obsession with trying to make everything equal is pointless, not to mention irritating. Look at what "equal" does to schools, now everyone gets an A+, but who cares that they can't read and write! For the gender, I say, when it is not known, call it her or she...who really cares? In English, when we don't know, we just say, he/she...but OMG, I guess that is unfair because he is before she! Sweden, it will never work, hardly anyone will care, and it will cost a load of money; not that you don't waste tax payer money on stupider things. I guess you will also have to remove words like vagina and penis? Will Swedish men start having babies too? They are girly enough already, come to think of it!
16:40 February 23, 2012 by tgolan
Those pushing to make everything gender-neutral need brain surgery,
23:36 February 27, 2012 by Value
@Sushiw I completely agree with you. Let us hope that Swedes and other northerners will open up their eyes.
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