Swedes are tossing out their "His n' Hers" bath towels in favor of language that's a little more inclusive.
Earlier this month Sweden's online National Encyclopedia adopted the gender-neutral pronoun "hen" in addition to "he" [han] and "she" [hon]. Post-media explosion, the controversy extends beyond the Swedish-speaking world.
Slate reports that Sweden's linguists caught their first whiff of gender neutral language in the mid-1960s. In 1994, linguist Hans Karlgren proposed using hen as a personal pronoun to replace the awkward "he or she" that clutters formal writing.
But Karlgren's strictly practical view of having a word that "enables us to speak of a person without specifying their gender" has been taken up by a political movement.
I'm devoting this entire week to gender-nonconforming kids and the parents who raise them. Later I'll follow up with parent and Bilerico blogger Paige Schilt, who will share her perspective on parenting during the genderpocalypse.
But first, here's last year in parenting, an overview:
We talk a lot on this blog, and in the magazine, about the problems that come with dividing the entire world up into two distinct categories: men and women. Us savvy feminists know that there is a lot more to gender than that, and that lots of us don't necessarily like being forced to identify as just one thing or another, especially when the two categories have been socially constructed to begin with. Nowhere is this false dichotomy more prevalent (and more potentially problematic) than in the world of public restrooms. After all, what could be more stressful than trying to make a decision about your gender identity when you have to pee?
Luckily for all of us, there is a handy website dedicated to this very dilemma: safe2pee.org.