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Sweden Seeks to Repress Gender Differences

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The National Encyclopedia building at Ångbåtsbron in Malmö (Sweden).

Right after International Women’s Day, a new pronoun, “hen,” was added to the online version of Sweden’s National Encyclopedia.  The entry defines hen as a “proposed gender-neutral personal pronoun instead of he [han in Swedish] and she [hon].”  A heated debate was sparked by the publication of Sweden’s first ever gender-neutral children’s book, Kivi och Monsterhund (Kivi and Monsterdog). It tells the story of Kivi, who wants a dog for “hen’s” birthday.

Sweden takes pride in being “the best country to deal with gender equality.”  What they are doing, however, is more than creating gender equality or gender neutrality; the measures they are instituting completely eliminate gender distinction.

Social Democrat politicians have proposed installing gender-neutral restrooms, so that members of the public will not be compelled to categorize themselves as either ladies or gents.  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.”

According to Slate, one clothing store in Sweden got rid of its “boys” and “girls” sections, and a Swedish toy company, Leklust, has received attention for reversing the typical gender roles in its latest catalog — a boy in a Spiderman costume is pictured pushing a pink baby carriage, and a girl outfitted in denim is riding a tractor.  Boys will be allowed to have names like “Lisa,” and girls will have names like “Nick.”  The Swedish Bowling Association has announced plans to merge male and female bowling tournaments in order to make the sport gender-neutral — all will be unisex.

Jan Guillou, one of the country’s well-known authors, declared that the pronoun “hen” is “silly, because it doesn’t change anything. … And I don’t think that my gender has anything to do with my equality because that is a political matter,” she said in an interview.  She referred to gender-neutral lobbyists as “feminist activists who want to destroy our language.”  Others have suggested this new initiative could be both psychologically and socially damaging for Sweden’s children.

Elise Claeson, a columnist and a former equality expert at the Swedish Confederation of Professions, worried that school-aged children would become confused by talks of a third gender, the one referred to as “hen,” at a time when they are developing both physically and mentally.  “Adults should not interrupt children’s discovery of their gender and sexuality,” Claeson insists.

In the kindergartens in Sweden, when pupils play house, they are encouraged to include “mommy, daddy, child” in their imaginary families, as well as “daddy, daddy, child”; “mommy, mommy, child”; “daddy, daddy, sister, aunty, child”; or any other modern combination.  This indicates that the Swedish social engineers not only want to educate children about gender neutrality, but they also want to teach children that homosexual families are acceptable, with a goal of eventually being an approved part of mainstream culture.

While the goal of teaching children to treat people equally is laudable (and Biblical), it is just as important to teach them that gender differences are natural, God-given traits that people are meant to celebrate, not repress.