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Old 06-30-2011, 03:10 PM   #141
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Veering off-topic maybe, so I'll be brief, but: It's fairly well supported that there are judgments attached to each of the trait pairs/triads you mention. Taller women do better in business than short women. Someone's bias is behind that. Green-eyed women are tagged as jealous; redheads as fiery. To some degree you can never eradicate bias in anything. For whatever reason, humans consciously and unconsciously widely pair objectively unrelated traits.


[[I must tease you with this: Though Chomsky is in no way a prescriptive linguist, in the context I think it better to say, "Noam Chomsky (whom I generally disagree with)" >;-)
Congratulations, you've just moved to the top of my short list as my preferred editrix for my book! (joking) Oh and thank you, the funny thing is that I had originally typed 'whom' and then changed it.

Oh and while linguistics is not my speciality, my guess as to why we categorize is that it is an artifact of language--a spandrel if you will. If it's true, (and I'm almost certainly wrong on the particulars) I wonder if this was a forced move or if it is possible to have language and *not* engage in this kind of obsessive categorization.

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Old 06-30-2011, 04:13 PM   #142
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If my child attends a gender neutral classroom how do I explain Mama when she comes home? How do I explain TV, magazines and all the other junk that children are exposed to? How do I explain my partner's gender?

There have been studies done on race and how children process it and at what age they have an understanding of it. One of the most important things to come out of that study is that what a child learns at school is almost useless unless the concepts are talked about at home. That is where the most critical and important learning goes on for very young children. So I am wondering how effective can a program like this be? It will be interesting to find out.

This is a link to the discussion of the study.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=us
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:45 PM   #143
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Okay, well zie/zir are, i believe, the most common pronouns. Zie was grooming zir moustache before the drag show.

I also have a poet friend who prefers "they". They include this information in their biography before sending it to be published for a performance.
Huh. Well. That would be beyond my unconscious control. I'd suggest that for speech to be fluid, one would have to engage in studious application of the extended pronoun matrix for months, if not years, before mastering it as native speech.
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Old 06-30-2011, 08:49 PM   #144
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If my child attends a gender neutral classroom how do I explain Mama when she comes home? How do I explain TV, magazines and all the other junk that children are exposed to? How do I explain my partner's gender?

There have been studies done on race and how children process it and at what age they have an understanding of it. One of the most important things to come out of that study is that what a child learns at school is almost useless unless the concepts are talked about at home. That is where the most critical and important learning goes on for very young children. So I am wondering how effective can a program like this be? It will be interesting to find out.

This is a link to the discussion of the study.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=us
I'm curious why you believe that if the parents are sending their children to a gender neutral school, they would not be supportive of the concept and addressing it in the home as well.


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Huh. Well. That would be beyond my unconscious control. I'd suggest that for speech to be fluid, one would have to engage in studious application of the extended pronoun matrix for months, if not years, before mastering it as native speech.
Actually, I tend to use "they" and "their" fluently in everyday speech, as I work in a state where you can still be fired for sexual orientation. I never offer up my partner's gender in conversation.
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Old 06-30-2011, 09:08 PM   #145
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I'm curious why you believe that if the parents are sending their children to a gender neutral school, they would not be supportive of the concept and addressing it in the home as well.
I agree that they would be predisposed to the idea, but would they know how to effect it? I don't think that, in reality, it would be something you could just sort of say, "Okay! Let's do that!"

I may be taking this idea too seriously though. What do you think about that?


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Actually, I tend to use "they" and "their" fluently in everyday speech, as I work in a state where you can still be fired for sexual orientation. I never offer up my partner's gender in conversation.
Oh well, so do I but not because I've consciously adopted it. Neutral 3rd person singular has been shifting in natural language from "one" and "he" to "they" for decades. (thank god.)

I was responding to the idea of using pronouns everyone picks for themselves.
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Old 07-01-2011, 07:21 AM   #146
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Okay, well zie/zir are, i believe, the most common pronouns. Zie was grooming zir moustache before the drag show.

I also have a poet friend who prefers "they". They include this information in their biography before sending it to be published for a performance.
Focusing on individual pronoun use does not address institutional inequities. There is a kind of obsession with individuality in the gender movement that feels like it becomes a distraction from deeper systemic issues. I do understand that using pronouns not burdened with stereotyped histories (in the 1970s Marge Piercy suggested "per," Kate Swift suggested "tey, ter, tem"), is appealing, but does it dismantle anything, or is it an option for a privileged few?

I agree Scandal, that we may have a disconnect which is only word-deep, as I think we both support the idea of gender as liberatory rather than oppressive. The idea I don't support is that gender is useless, out-dated, and needs to be erased, done away with. That's throwing the baby out with the bathwater IMO.

I think where the more interesting discussion lies is in notions of the BINARY. I never experienced male/female feminine/masculine as restricted boxes. They have always been a landscape to me from as far back as I can remember. Perhaps that's thanks to my rather bohemian upbringing. What I have experienced, of course, is conflict between my own wide perception of gender and the broader culture's desire to restrict me as a woman, to have me agree to ridiculously and dangerously narrow ideas of what a woman is. I have fought this for a long-ass time. As the mother of a son, I have also resisted stereotyped notions of what it means to be a boy or a man.

Perhaps I don't want to see that hard and worthy battle reduced to an array of pronouns from which we can pick like a buffet. On the other hand, perhaps that is exactly what I fought for.

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Old 07-03-2011, 11:57 PM   #147
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To clearify:

The swedish agenda is not to take away gender all together, it's not about taking away peoples boxes, should they want them, and so on...

Our agenda is however to make the boxes large enough to move and to make them optional and a choice.

It's a question of democracy, which comes with the right to be whoever you want, and being protected by laws and safe whilest being it.

We are well aware of the fact that a pronoun doesn't change anything, and we are acctually not saying that we should never use them again we just want to avoid to put the kids in the "he" or "she" box, it's not for me to decide.
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Old 07-04-2011, 12:25 AM   #148
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I've seen the article here in the UK. Personally, I think a place to have some space to play in with a bit more mental choice in it is always healthier than less. I'd gladly send my kids to it (if I had any). I would have LOVED that the male sexed kids in school referred to me as a friend or hen rather than having to beat the cr@p out of them regularly to prove I could play baseball just as good as them.

People bitch about how they wanted to play with certain toys etc when they were kids but were told they couldn't. here's a space where you can play with whatever the hell you want and be yourself for a few hours a day without someone forcing you to *be* something. You are given a choice to play with what you want, act in the way is most comfortable without having to choose a binary at age 4.

I would have LOVED it. It would have been breathing space for me. I think it's fabulous.
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:20 AM   #149
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Focusing on individual pronoun use does not address institutional inequities. There is a kind of obsession with individuality in the gender movement that feels like it becomes a distraction from deeper systemic issues. I do understand that using pronouns not burdened with stereotyped histories (in the 1970s Marge Piercy suggested "per," Kate Swift suggested "tey, ter, tem"), is appealing, but does it dismantle anything, or is it an option for a privileged few?
It absolutely has become an obsession. An obsession, that has turned the "movement" into a self-preoccupied, individualistic, gender hierarchy. I don't care that many don't see this. It's enough that I do.

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....The idea I don't support is that gender is useless, out-dated, and needs to be erased, done away with. That's throwing the baby out with the bathwater IMO.
Gender is not outdated. What is outdated is the gender binary. To the extent that, that binary is reified, or rendered invisible, we all remain oppressed.

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I think where the more interesting discussion lies is in notions of the BINARY. I never experienced male/female feminine/masculine as restricted boxes. They have always been a landscape to me from as far back as I can remember....
I don't want my "landscape" rendered invisible.

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Perhaps I don't want to see that hard and worthy battle reduced to an array of pronouns from which we can pick like a buffet. On the other hand, perhaps that is exactly what I fought for.

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Pronouns are not the issue. The meaning attached to them, are.

Certain behaviors and terms have been designated off limits, even illegal, in polite society, has that eradicated hate crimes, racism, sexism, xenophobia, or bias?
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:25 AM   #150
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Gender neutral toys have been around for a generation.

I work with kids. The gender binary is getting worse, not better. Young people are more affected by popular culture than the toys they played with as little children.

As a child, I played with girl and boy toys. It did not change my cisButch outcome.
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:33 AM   #151
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I don't see anything wrong with kids all calling each other friends rather than gender specific pronouns. However, I think allowing space for boys to play with dolls and girls to play with trucks or whatever other toys they choose- where there is no value placed on trucks being more important or boy-like or where boys will not be ridiculed for playing with dolls is more important than the reason we can all play with dolls or trucks is because we are all "friends" rather than "she" or "he."
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:59 PM   #152
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I've been following this story for some time, and I have to say I'm pretty impressed with all I've read on it. I think it's an excellent idea. As others have said, it's not that the kindergarten system is attempting to take away gender should one wish to identify one way or the other, but to allow kids to decide for themselves what they want to play with rather than telling them trucks = boys = better and dolls = girls = lesser. The pronoun issue is also great, imo. I think at the very least it will help kids understand each other as humans first, instead of as specific genders as they're unfortunately taught in many places.

I also applaud them taking out books that peg boys/girls into fixed roles, like Cinderella, Snow White etc. where the "damsel" is always in distress and the "prince" must always come save her.

As others have said, Swedish/Scandinavian society is far more progressive than North American society, and even Western/Central European society in many respects. There seems to be a rise in the number of Swedish parents raising their children as gender neutral/allowing their children to express themselves as any gender they wish. And to be frank, most Scandinavian men I've met haven't been as obsessed with acting hypermasculine when they don't feel that's for them the way men are pressured to in many other societies. It's an interesting time in the "gender movement" when it comes to Sweden, imo. From Stieg Larsson's graphic depiction of a woman committing a revenge rape against her rapist (something which, from the articles I've read, North American critics have been less comfortable with...which is excellent, imo), to getting rid of the rigid gender binary in younger generations by widening the breadth of what they can acceptably be.

All that to say, I fully support this, and I do hope Canada catches on soon. Though that may be wishful thinking with our lovely friend Mr. Harper in the PMs seat. If I were to make a prediction, I would say that the rest of Scandinavia as well as the Benelux will be the next to catch on to striking gender rigidity from the Kindergarten curriculum.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:12 PM   #153
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EnderD, hi. I'm glad to read more specifics about this endeavor.

I'm still not understanding what goes on with pronouns in the class. When the teachers need pronouns (they can't keep saying friends, friend), do they use replacement forms (just to make some up as examples: hish, ishi...)? Are the kids then to pick up the use of the replacement forms?

If what you've been following goes into those details, I'd love to read it myself. I've just not been able to imagine it in practice at all.

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Old 07-07-2011, 03:30 PM   #154
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EnderD, hi. I'm glad to read more specifics about this endeavor.

I'm still not understanding what goes on with pronouns in the class. When the teachers need pronouns (they can't keep saying friends, friend), do they use replacement forms (just to make some up as examples: hish, ishi...)? Are the kids then to pick up the use of the replacement forms?

If what you've been following goes into those details, I'd love to read it myself. I've just not been able to imagine it in practice at all.

tanx
As far as I know they only use "friends" when they're addressing a group of students, instead of calling them "boys and girls" or "boys" or "girls." As far as the pronouns, they say they use "hen" when addressing anyone in the third person, instead of him/her. They've explained that it's a non-existent pronoun in the Swedish language, but which they're using as a kind of gender neutral pronoun (a bit like they or even zie/hy etc that are sometimes used in English in the lgbt community), instead of identifying or assuming any one person's gender as masculine/feminine.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:42 PM   #155
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I had trouble seeing the practicality of using "hen" until you said it's like using "they."

I think that English speakers would be able to move more easily from "she/he" to "they," because of the related language change that has already been in progress for a while, namely "they" = 3rd person singular when referent is unspecified. (Previously "one" or the egregious "he," now "they.")

A replacement of established forms by novel, unrelated, and previously non-natural forms would be very difficult to effect in one swoop. But do you (or does anyone) know if maybe "hen" has been following a trajectory similar to "they"? If so, then I can see this finally now.

afterthought: it is likely something is being adopted as neutral 3rd person in Swedish, given the cultural direction this whole idea indicates
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:10 PM   #156
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I think it's a great idea.
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