Sweden’s new gender neutral term and Agnes Scott

by Christen Thompson
Managing Editor, Online

This morning as I was glancing over my Facebook newsfeed, I sawan interesting Slate.com article link  about a new gender-neutral pronoun introduced in Sweden earlier this month. Sweden is often touted as the country with the world’s greatest gender-equality, and have now added the term “hen” to their National Encylopedia, published a Swedish first-ever gender-neutral book  Kivi och Monsterhund  and Swedish alt-mag  Nöjesguiden  published an article using gender-neutral pronouns.

The article discusses the controversy surrounding the pronoun, though the pronoun was apparently introduced in the 60’s, actually. The origins of the word came from a writer attempting to avoid the annoying grammatical he’s and she’s, and instead synthesize the writing process. And while, according to the article, the term’s newfound attention is specifically political, critics of the trend posit that its supporters are nothing more than “feminist activists who want to destroy our language” (Jan Guillou in an interview with Vice, via Slate.com), and others maintain that the term will just add to psychologically confusing and debilitating development.

My personal views on the matter are just that, views, and not exactly what I’m trying to get at. The news is very interesting, and it makes sense that this kind of push would come out of Sweden.

I guess what I’m really trying to get at is that I realized I am graduating one month from today, along with the rest of the blue class. The Trans-policy at Agnes Scott hasn’t had much attention on a large scale on campus in a while. The last bit of news you find on Google is in a USA Today article from August of 2011 on trans-policies in women’s colleges. While this Swedish news is not directly addressing the trans-community, it is an international example of how our communities can look at gender, gender identification and policy. I hope that  the next four years sees even more strides forward, or at least more publicly engaged and thoughtful discourse on the matter in our community. Maybe I’m reaching in my connections between Sweden and 141 E. College, but I stll think this matters. Take a glance at the Trans-policy brochure from ASCQueerTheory‘s archival project and see what you think.

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One Comment on “Sweden’s new gender neutral term and Agnes Scott”

  1. Taylor April 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    love it, love you.

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