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Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:18 AM

Swedish School’s Big Lesson Begins With Dropping Personal Pronouns

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/world/europe/swedish-school-de-emphasizes-gender-lines.html

STOCKHOLM — At an ocher-color preschool along a lane in Stockholm’s Old Town, the teachers avoid the pronouns “him” and “her,” instead calling their 115 toddlers simply “friends.” Masculine and feminine references are taboo, often replaced by the pronoun “hen,” an artificial and genderless word that most Swedes avoid but is popular in some gay and feminist circles.

In the little library, with its throw pillows where children sit to be read to, there are few classic fairy tales, like “Cinderella” or “Snow White,” with their heavy male and female stereotypes, but there are many stories that deal with single parents, adopted children or same-sex couples.

...

The result, after much discussion, was a seven-point program to alter such behavior. “We avoid using words like boy or girl, not because it’s bad, but because they represent stereotypes,” said Ms. Rajalin, 53. “We just use the name — Peter, Sally — or ‘Come on, friends!’ ” Men were added to the all-female staff. With Egalia, Nicolaigarden sought and obtained certification from an organization for gay and bisexual people that its staff is sensitive to their problems.

Criticism was not long in arriving. “There are a lot of letters, mail, blogs,” Ms. Rajalin said. “But it’s not so much arguments; it’s anger, basically.”

...


Why are so many people so angry about this stuff?

10 replies, 1289 views

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Reply Swedish School’s Big Lesson Begins With Dropping Personal Pronouns (Original post)
redqueen Nov 2012 OP
tama Nov 2012 #1
TlalocW Nov 2012 #2
CrispyQ Nov 2012 #3
MadrasT Nov 2012 #4
ismnotwasm Nov 2012 #5
seabeyond Nov 2012 #6
ismnotwasm Nov 2012 #7
seabeyond Nov 2012 #8
MadrasT Nov 2012 #9
seabeyond Nov 2012 #10

Response to redqueen (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:10 AM

1. This would never work in Finnish speaking schools

 

cause Finnish is not Indo-European language with strong gender category, Swedes are consciously trying to change Swedish closer to Finnish, language without gender pronouns.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:29 AM

2. Don't they realize this will put them behind the rest of the world along with America

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:10 AM

3. They are angry because it bucks the patriarchy.

We have such strong associations with labels like girl/boy, man/woman, if we abandon these labels, we start thinking about the associations we've assigned to them.

Girl = soft, emotional, pretty, ornament, noun.
Boy = strong, intellectual, rugged, active, verb.

When I was a kid, I went through something called confirmation, at church. I asked our pastor why God was referred to as Father, He, Him, when we were taught in our church that God was neither male nor female. The class laughed & then, so did the pastor & we moved on, without an answer.

I like the idea of gender-less pronouns.

Speaking of language, & I've mentioned this before, but it is interesting that in our own language, you can take 'male' out of 'female' & 'man' out of 'woman.' Not unlike our actual physical bodies.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 01:56 PM

4. Of course people are angry.

How dare they not keep girls in the "female" box. The audacity.



I think it is fucking *awesome* with awesome sauce and a side of WIN.

Treat kids as individuals and who cares what gender they are. I am all for it.

But wow, yeah, some of the comments are really angry. This issue pushes a lot of buttons for people.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:51 PM

5. I wonder

How much of comforting boys less when hurt as children has to do with the expectation of the male-as-soldier? Young boys started at such an early age to accept being so much much cannon fodder? I don't know that it's overt, but it makes me wonder.

I read a gloriously stupid post, something about about a 'traditional male' problems solving technique through fist fights. Which leaves unaddressed a number of issues, of course but even there I wonder how much aggression is taught to be channelled through violence?

It's not hurting anything to avoid gendered terms and probably doing some good, so I don't get the anger either.

Males and females are different, yes but not always in the ways we think. Emotionally I suspect we're much closer than people seem to understand, if not identical. Socialization teaches us to express these emotions in different ways, but it's all the same shit.

Or to use a Janis Joplin analogy;

“As a matter of fact, as we discovered on the train, tomorrow never happens, man. It's all the same fucking day, man.”

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 08:00 AM

6. as a mother of sons, that was something from the beginning that was not going to fly in my house.

my boys got hurt, they got sympathy and coddle, no if ands or buts. you would be amazed with the number of people that had an issue with it. and every other little boy i was around would get the same coddle and sympathy with an owie. that was not something i would back away from. no different than a girl. and why would we do that. a minute of empathy.... and done.

resolving with violence was not the answer or acceptable either. surprise. working on 18 and 15 and niether boy has gotten in a fight or resolves issues thru fights. though my oldest can hold his own with debate with any adult. he said i taught him well.

Males and females are different, yes but not always in the ways we think.


you gotta help me out here. i have heard you say this a couple three times. besides the obvious physical, what would the differences be. i have asked many, and nothing they say fly. i haev tried to identify differences.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:50 PM

7. Well I mean physical, I guess

Hormonal. Testosterone is linked with aggression, but its also learned behavior, there are violent women and gentle men. There is an unfortunate increase in violence young women that's definitely NOT due to testosterone right? And general or even solid trends can't be quantified given gendered socialization.

But men will never have the experience of childbirth or menstruation or lactation for instance.

I'm asking a male coworker what men can do that women can't (besides the obvious) he said "a lot of things" but hasn't come up with an examples yet. I'm telling him he's letting his peeps down. (I usually don't post at work but I'm precepting today, smart student!)

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:05 PM

8. lol... how fun is that.

ya. that has been my issue the last couple years. besides the obvious physical of greater upper body strength vs... the whole having the baby thing, once social conditioning and constructs are knocked down, there seems to be no difference.

i have been asking. everyone.... lol. anyone that does thinking. anyone that is reasonable and not into merely battle or proving. and really, i have yet to get a real answer. a lot of conditioned answers.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 06:18 PM

9. The answer I always get from my partner

(because he is BIG on the MENZ and WIMMINZ are FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT!!!1!! thing)

And I ask him to 'splain himself (because I disagree, violently) and when he can't come up with anything else the answer reverts to...

"But but but wimminz can have BABEEEEZ so that changes their entire outlook on LIFE and colors every single decision they ever make and everything they do."

And I am all like



Huh?



To hear him talk, most women spend their whole lives either being mothers or contemplating motherhood. And that somehow makes us wildly DIFFERENT HUMAN BEINGS from men. Like, exotic species different.

Cause, y'know, women spontaneously have babeeeez without any male involvement whatsoever.

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Response to MadrasT (Reply #9)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 08:47 AM

10. and you have a smart man, that talks, thinks, can express and is interested.

and still.

hmmmmm.

it really is the opening of the curtain to see how men fight this so, because even unconsciously they know their privilege and superiority in this culture and damn well do not want to lose that advantage.

if they acknowledge there is no real huge difference in gender, well then, what are they really admitting. what do they have to lose.

so much.

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