A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

Meet He, She and (wait for it)…Hen (the new gender neutral pronoun).

Blink and you will find the cultural trends have shifted. Blink and morality follows down the drain. Sure enough more people seem to be blinking and alot faster in Sweden.

Not a he or a she but a hen

By most people’s standards, Sweden is a paradise for liberated women. It has the highest proportion of working women in the world, and women earn about two-thirds of all degrees. Standard parental leave runs at 480 days, and 60 of those days are reserved exclusively for dads, causing some to credit the country with forging the way for a new kind of nurturing masculinity. In 2010, the World Economic Forum designated Sweden as the most gender-equal country in the world.

But for many Swedes, gender equality is not enough. Many are pushing for the Nordic nation to be not simply gender-equal but gender-neutral. The idea is that the government and society should tolerate no distinctions at all between the sexes. This means on the narrow level that society should show sensitivity to people who don’t identify themselves as either male or female, including allowing any type of couple to marry. But that’s the least radical part of the project. What many gender-neutral activists are after is a society that entirely erases traditional gender roles and stereotypes at even the most mundane levels.

Activists are lobbying for parents to be able to choose any name for their children (there are currently just 170 legally recognized unisex names in Sweden).

The idea is that names should not be at all tied to gender, so it would be acceptable for parents to, say, name a girl Jack or a boy Lisa. A Swedish children’s clothes company has removed the “boys” and “girls” sections in its stores, and the idea of dressing children in a gender-neutral manner has been widely discussed on parenting blogs. This Swedish toy catalog recently decided to switch things around, showing a boy in a Spider-Man costume pushing a pink pram, while a girl in denim rides a yellow tractor…

Several preschools have banished references to pupils’ genders, instead referring to children by their first names or as “buddies.” So, a teacher would say “good morning, buddies” or “good morning, Lisa, Tom, and Jack” rather than, “good morning, boys and girls.” They believe this fulfills the national curriculum’s guideline that preschools should “counteract traditional gender patterns and gender roles” and give girls and boys “the same opportunities to test and develop abilities and interests without being limited by stereotypical gender roles.”

Earlier this month, the movement for gender neutrality reached a milestone: Just days after International Women’s Day a new pronoun, hen (pronounced like the bird in English), was added to the online version of the country’s National Encyclopedia. The entry defines hen as a “proposed gender-neutral personal pronoun instead of he [han in Swedish] and she [hon].”

Blink again and its all a blur.


4 responses to “Meet He, She and (wait for it)…Hen (the new gender neutral pronoun).

  1. Lasersinspace April 14, 2012 at 23:03


    I am committed to my kids deciding toys, games, how they want to play. For my girls to feel just as comfortable building forts as cooking and same for my son, but why Why WHY does everything need to be legalized? The goal is to prepare each of our children to be successful adults–not dictating silly laws. 

    Those people have way too much time on their hands… time that could be better spent helping to ease suffering in their communities and around the world. 

  2. Norma Fay April 15, 2012 at 20:14

    While there are some good points to making things more gender neutral, I don’t like the new gender neutral pronoun. While it would be beneficial in some ways, I don’t think it will ever truly catch on. I love finding out about these types of things from blogs. I believe Aa good young mothers blog can be a great resource on the stages of a child’s life and give you ideas on what to do. My favorites, like Young Urban Moms, have a ton useful tips that only come with experience. I get great tips, advice, stories, and ideas from moms that are really easy to relate to and really funny. You should check it out.

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