Editor's Note: Check out this GlobalPost blog for more offbeat global news.
A preschool in Sweden wants to eliminate gender bias by referring to children as “friends,” instead of girls and boys, and avoiding gender-specific pronouns such as “him” or “her.”
At the taxpayer-funded “Egalia” preschool in Stockholm, which opened last year for children ages 1-6, boys and girls play together with a toy kitchen, which is located next to the Lego bricks, the Associated Press reports.
They read books featuring gay and lesbian couples, single parents and adopted children, instead of fairy tales such as “Cinderella” or “Snow White,” which are rife with gender stereotypes.
School staff try to avoid masculine and feminine references in their speech, for example by not using the Swedish pronouns “han” or “hon” for him or her, and instead using the genderless word “hen,” which doesn’t formally exist in the Swedish language.
"Society expects girls to be girlie, nice and pretty and boys to be manly, rough and outgoing," teacher Jenny Johnsson told the AP. "Egalia gives them a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be."
Watch: Weclome to fake China.
A 2010 report by the World Economic Forum on the global gender gap found that Sweden and three other Nordic countries lead the world when it comes to gender equality. Sweden is also considered a pioneer in legalizing gay and lesbian partnerships.
A Canadian couple recently drew international attention for their decision to try and raise a genderless baby by not telling anyone whether their child is a boy or girl.
When Storm was born, the couple from Toronto told friends and family that they had decided not to share the baby’s sex.
Read: Penguin lost in New Zealand offered a ride home.
“When the baby comes out, even the people who love you the most and know you so intimately, the first question they ask is, ‘Is it a girl or a boy?’” mother Kathy Witterick explained to the Toronto Star. “If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs.”
Storm’s brothers Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, choose their own clothes and hairstyles. Jazz prefers to wear his hair long and in three braids, and his favorite color is pink.
Read more at Global Post.
Too reminiscent to the WW2 Germans use of Comrade to find comfort in this trend.
uhhh.... it was the Communists that refer to people as "comrade", not the Nazis
uhhhh. Nazis did say "Hail Hitler" 20 times a day though, instead of Good Morning Sir, Have a Great Day Mam, Hi, How Are You?... Or modern day Swedes are saying "I think I drank too much coffee and have to go to FRIEND'S ROOM!!!" OR "WOW look at that beautiful FRIEND in that red bikini"... Get it???
Just read the comments, and it seems to me that a lot of people here have misunderstood the whole idea. They don't force kids to be gay or anything like that, they simply treat kids of both genders equally. The idea that this method would confuse the children due to them not being able to tell the difference between boys and girls is absurd. The children still still learn these words at home, they're just not forced into a life where the people around them focus on their sex, but on their personal qualities instead.
There's nothing wrong with treating both genders equally and kids should be allowed to play with any toys or participate in any type of activities they want to do. But should you go as far as to not allow children to refer to each other as he/she and instead use 'it', or even encourage calling a classmate as 'it'? Absolutely absurd. That is when the line has been crossed and by some distance. Do you also think we should also ban fairy tale stories and movies since they promote 'gender stereotypes'. Maybe we should close down Disney as well.
Girls are Girls, Boys are Boys. I wonder what the majority of Swede's think about their money being wasted for this sick experiment.
Closing down Disney would be a good start to doing away with stereotypes and prejudices :)
I think you misread something here, they don't forbid the children to refer to others as boys or girls. It's the teachers that aren't to use words like boys and girls so much.
The bottom line is that they still discourage the kids to call their classmates as girls and boys like the rest of society and the rest of the world. There are other ways to help children treat each other equally rather than try this destructive experiment. The parents who have enrolled their children into this so-called "pre-school" must have lost their minds.
You're right. What's funny is that the only one making an issue out of the children's gender is them, yet somehow they're doing this to promote "tolerance".
No they're trying to promote destructive behavior in young children. Because they're indoctrinating children into believing that "being an individual" has to do simply with one's gender, rather than one's moral character. They're promoting behavior which has no purpose other than just to "stand out aesthetically' – so ironically these people are promoting the idea that one's level of "effeminacy/masculinity" matters – they're just doing it in the opposite way – and to a much higher degree than the average person or family.
That's the thing, they don't discourage the kids to call their classmates boys or girls. And in what way is this a "destructive experiment"? You're gonna have to come up with some better arguments to prove your statement.
I would guess you are a liberal. I bet if babies, boys and girls were left alone without male-dominated philosophy influences on them that boys and girls will grow-up to be the same or with very little differences. As a liberal, I bet you also believe that chimps and guerillas are our cousins. Well, I am sorry to tell you that their society also mimics ours. As does most mamals (except for the hyena, I will give you this one). So, all of you liberals and feminists trying to change our society and come-up with new ways to change the human society and its order is actually going against the nature and its natural order. This is why a school like this is dangerous and unnatural.
Nature is flawed in so many ways. Just because nature works one way, doesn't mean we should follow its example. We're trying to teach equality, tolerance, and respect. That such things do not arise in nature in the ways we are seeking is irrelevant to the virtue of the goal.
Well dude, even as a non-liberal here who is against this idea of "indoctrinating kids into individualism", if you're going to deny the theory of evolution then you're destroying any credibility your point otherwise had – so please do us a favor and quit making our side look stupid.
And yes, evolution is a scientifically proven fact, agreed upon by 99.995% of all scientists in the world, and accepted by 75% of Christians as well – and has been proven fact for over 200 years – and there isn't anymore of an actual scientific "case" against evolution (just a political one) than there is for the earth being flat, or the sun and planets revolving around the earth (Christians used to believe those too). If you heard something different from AnswersInGenesis, Discovery Institute, or DrDino.com, then it was a lie.
Response to SamK:
I never said evolution was false. I believe in evolution, and I agree with you that it is as close to fact as any scientific theory can hope to be (although you do misuse several terms – science can never prove anything. I will let this slide).
However, I do reject evolution as a defence for any ethical stance. That evolution chose a particular feature or mannerism means only that it was good for surviving long enough to reproduce. Human society is well beyond that. If evolution provided us with some notion of gender, it was in the context of a hunter/gatherer lifestyle. It is meaningless in modern society.
Another behaviour which was popular for reproduction and often favoured by evolution is rape. We pretty universally agree that this is a reprehensible act. Many would call for the death penalty. Most would agree that a very long prison sentence is not too high a price to pay.
Also, please do not build strawmen. It was ridiculous of you to jump to the conclusion that I am a Creationist, and you did so merely so you could attack that position rather than my own. All this does is demonstrate that you believe I'm wrong, but can't figure out how. It's a weak fallacy, and in the end only harms your case.
WOW! After reading all the comments, we have a bunch of paranoid people reading CNN today. :3
These phrases might be old fashion, but
#1 Where there is smoke, there is a fire.
#2 When farts start, there usually is shit that will soon follow.
Not scientific, but hopefully you get the point.
They are not saying children shouldn't have a gender, but that they should discover it on their own. A few simple steps, such as using gender-neutral pronouns and identifiers, can help to avoid foisting a biologically-determined gender identity upon them. Why are people so afraid of people being who they want, rather than who you want?
As for this being an attempt at emasculation, you do know that there are about as many FTMs out there as MTFs, don't you? You probably don't notice because they're not as prominent in the media, and they tend to pass better under hormone therapy, but the numbers are pretty close. Encouraging people to explore and identify their own gender does not rob masculinity of precious members.
It's easy to discover your gender:
1. Look between your legs.
2. If there's a penis, you're a boy. If there's a vagina, you're a girl.
3. Simple as that.
Biology IS what determines gender – it's a scientific fact. Saying that people need to discover their "non-biologically determined gender" is an oxymoron, and it's absurd. It would be like me "deciding" what my ethnicity is. I'm Irish, but I guess you think that if I say that i "feel" more Chinese (as if I'd actually know what it means to "feel" Chinese), that that would make me Chinese. Lmao...
Sex and gender are very different. Sex is a description of one's body, and is not binary. There are people with ambiguous genitals, or whose external genitals do not "match" their reproductive systems.
Gender is a social construct. Descriptions like "man", "woman", "girl", and "boy" are comments on a person's gender (although they are often misused by those who do not recognise the distinction).
The idea that gender and sex are indistinct is unscientific. A theory cannot stand contrary to evidence, and there are millions of people who stand contrary to that idea, myself among them. You can't insist that reality is on your side when there are people right here, typing a response to you, who clearly defy your idea of reality.
This fact has been recognised by the medical profession. This is why we have guidelines to help people transition, rather than try to force them back into the box we think they belong in. The vast majority of academics who study gender and sexuality recognise that gender and sex must be distinct and non-binary to properly describe the human condition – otherwise it's simply ineffective.
As for your comparison with race, one's race is actually biologically determined. To be Chinese means something about your genetic makeup, and certain aspects of your physiology. I do know someone who was adopted by a culture other than their own, and identifies as a member of that race.
Belle: just wanted to say I agree with every one of your comments/replies to comments to this article that I have read so far.
Genetalia really shouldn't define a person as much as the person defines the person. What is truly confusing is being raised in a limited image of how society dictates one should be, and having it conflict with how you feel you should be. We're all born naked, the rest is drag. :)
And how would they discover it???
Child: Mommy, mommy, who am I?
Mom: Wait till you turn 18, then you will figure out yourself, child.
Indoctrination at its finest. This is no better than what young earth creationists do to their children.
And there's no purpose in this at all. If a parent raises their child well, and develops their character, then it doesn't matter in the real world whether they like dolls or action figures or not – these guys are the ones making the big deal out of that.
Oh and guys (and girls) who have proper character developed do gravitate towards sports or activities that require ambition – the idea that all activities and lifestyles are "equal" is just BS designed to make lazy people feel better. For example – If a guy eats 5 Big Macs a day and weighs 500lbs, then that IS for a FACT an unhealthier lifestyle than what a fitness guru lives – it's not just a "lifestyle difference". As an adult, if someone wants to live that way then it is their right sure, but calling a duck a duck is not being "intolerant", it's being honest.
Can't tell if trolling...
This is the future. Time to wake up to all the illusions we've created and get back to our primal natural selves. and start over.
Stop demasculating boys.
Stop replying without reading the article and comprehending what is actually being done.
In Stockholm's spas it's not unusual to see a class of 7-year olds sitting side by side in a sauna, naked of course. I always thought it's healthy and natural and innocent especially comparing this to USA beach baby-girls in swimsuits covering their nonexistent breasts. Now, those graduated from the "advanced" sexless kindergarden finally see (if they didn't this already sitting on their pots) say, sit side by side in a sauna – wouldn't they be curious about their differences? Would this curiosity be healthy and innocent? Would they as teenagers ask questions why adults lied to them and what for?
I know many examples of young women in Sweden being critically unhappy in their private lives exactly due to the feministic models so forcefully imposed upon them because it IS a lie that gender roles do not matter, it IS a lie that only in a genderless society women can be equal to men and that they can be free only being gender-free. The logic is perversive to me.
It's absolutely ridiculous that everyone is flipping out over something that should be benificial for children. I grew up in a Catholic gender-biased home and I'm a bigender pansexual. I still have problems accepting it thought most of my friends know about it. Gender and Sex are two COMPLETELY different things. I think that if you get rid of gender bias, you promote equality. It isn't right for anyone to shover their ideals down each others throats. If you want to be a cisgendered heterosexual, fine. Great. But don't try convincing other people about how it's the "right" and "moral" thing to do. That's just a bunch of bull. I think that once we move past all our predjudices, we can stop hating each other.
We are all human beings and lables and boundaries only harm. I want to live in a world where it's safe to be yourself. For someone to say to me "You can't marry her because it's not morally right" is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Marriage should not only be between a man and a woman just because a bunch of people believe it's only for the purpose of procreating. There are legal and sentimental reasons for marriage as well. Marriage should not be about procreating. It should be about mutual love and respect. The sooner we move past these gender sterotypes, the better.
What right does anyone have to take away my civil rights? I am a human being and I deserve to be treated with respect. I don't want to be judged and catagorized just because I have the sexual organs of a female. I want the respect of a fellow human being. What these people are doing could be risky, but their hearts and minds are in the right place. I do believe they should make things a little more open to both homosexuality and heterosexuality. But as for the banning of those books, I don't think they could have made a wiser choice. And it's not so much a damaging experiance for the child unless the parents give conflicting veiws and opinions. And for so many people to regect the idea becuase they feel that without being a majority in society they will lose their power, you;d better get used to the idea because the minority will become the next majority in the future.
Civil Rights do not give rights for anyone to do everything they want: Can a person marry an animal? Can a full grown person marry a 5 year old? NO. But you would argue as human beings we should not have barriers and limitations? NO, you are wrong. Only reason why you can flirt with the fringes is because we have (or used to have) a decent base. God, country, family and our rights under the umbrella of the ultimate 3 (G, C, F) Before you go crazy about religion and all its destructiveness... I am not trying to debate the issue of religion.
Most societies, religions, law of nature (in most cases among the primates and other intelligent mamals...), and even logic teaches us the order of boys and girls are to grow up to be men and women, as the opposites attract, a man and a woman marry each other begin a family, children are born and the cycle repeats itself. I know that there are minor variations to this and that is fine as long as the majority is not threatened or harmed. Well, this case of boys and girls being taught by adults to alter the law of __________, is threatening and harmful.
If we are so equal as you suggest, logic teaches us everything we do and the lives of all human beings MUST be equal. Perhaps pregnancy should be in rotation? As well as menstruation-every month rotation? Equality dictates sports teams or competitions must be won by the very best athlete/team/performances under the agreed rules-why are girls able to participate in boys football, baseball, and even wrestling, yet boys cannot join the girl's soccer, softball, swimming... In golf, Michelle Wie and Anika Sorentrom can participate in PGA, but no man can play in LPGA. Is this the meaning of equality to you? I'm sure you get the point. The point is that we ARE different and that is what makes the world go around!!! IF we left our children alone (from birth), and let them grow up with absolutely no interventions, do you wonder how they would grow-up and how the society will form? I know exactly how it will turn out, just look at your cousins: the chimps (98% genetical match with us). They know the differences of sexes and the roles for each sexes, why don;t you? Why doesn't the crazy preschool in Sweden?
At the risk of offending someone which is highly likely considering the diversity in the world we seem to be in such a rush to rid ourselves of the two genders we have in our world we blind ourselves to the beauty of this diversity
There's not much diversity in a gender binary. Step outside it, and see the wise range of gender expressions in those who are not comfortable with their assigned gender, and you may appreciate the diversity of gender.
“If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs.”
That is a stupid statement. The reason people ask the gender of a baby is to know whether it's male or female. If there is so much crazy, paranoid thinking about the difference being irrelevant, why not just surgically remove all genitalia and close it all up, leaving a colostomy style apparatus for elimination of waste matter?
Anyone else seeing the total insanity here?
Strange but I was thinking that surgical removal of all visible signs of gender being removed at birth if not before birth would be the next evolutionary step with gender neurtal thinking. Reminds me of the Twilight Zone or Out of Limits. This is all about control, they reject stereotypes to create a different type of stereo type. They are insane.....! Also, when did it become a BAD thing to be a BOY or a GIRL or a MAN or a WOMAN? When did it become BAD to be a Normal Human Being, male or female and occasionally by nature ambiguous? Imposed neutrality and imposed equality are just a different type of InJustice. Basically they are saying to these kids "You are unworthy of being what God and or Nature made you and we are going to make you over In What We Think Is A Perfected Image." There has to be something mentally wrong when people refuse to accept themselves and others, especially children, as they were created and want to change them to be what they are not. I don't understand, don't want to try to understand because I understand it to be SENSELESS. Also I refuse to be made and or forced to understand.
Did you even read the article?
Why is it that nobody can be defined. Men and women are different physically, emotionally, psycologically. Evolution has differed the sexes. Whether or not you think you're protecting kids from whatever evils come from being called a boy or a girl, their differences will still exist and they will be even more confused when they get to that curious age than they would have been otherwise. Instead of acting like we have no differences, explore why we are different and teach them that it is normal.
See other comments for the difference between gender and sex.
It is Not Evil to be a Boy or a Girl, a Male or Female, or a Man or a Woman. We are born with gender, to deny and or ignore it is irrational.
No one's denying it. They're merely refraining from assuming.
Why the hell are people so close minded?
Yeah, right that's how it became a parent, it didn't ask what was between it's mate's legs. For Goodness sakes if we go through life not categorizing how can we survive?
I consider myself a fairly liberal person, but I find this whole 'experiment' ridiculous. The world that we find ourselves is not perfect, and it never will be. A small percentage of people will be homosexuals, and I don't see any benefit in pressuring them to conform or trying to punish them in some way. Having said that though, I see no benefit in allowing a couple of 'imbeciles' to decide that millions of years of evolution is wrong, all human societies are wrong – and we should start addressing boys and girls in a gender neutral manner. What the heck is the point in that, except to try and create confusion in the child's mind? Ultimately this experiment will fail, because guess what – boys will be boys, and girls will be girls.
"millions of years of evolution is wrong"
Evolution had nothing to do with gendered pronouns.
"all human societies are wrong"
Most human societies have been wrong about slavery.
"What the heck is the point in that, except to try and create confusion in the child's mind?"
To avoid reinforcing gender stereotypes and to allow children to discover their own identity, thus helping to alleviate confusion in the child's mind when their identity does not sufficiently align with what society says they should be.
"boys will be boys, and girls will be girls"
And both will be both, and others will be others, and often the people who fall into these categories are not those we expected at birth.
So, where does it end Belle? When we become non-gender & non-sex distinctive society, what is next? Beastility? Android sex? Pedophilia? Do you see why the base (hetrosexuals) has problems of the fringes? Because there is no end. Therefore, accept the rights and laws of today and stop with this Gay Marriages (call it whatever else) and this Gender Eraser (one and two are both numbers but different value, one is great as #1, but two is a better as $2... it is all relative, just don't say 1 is 2 and 2 is one). The humanity has to have a base, the center, the normalcy, and the sun WILL rise from the East in the morning.
QUACK QUACK QUACK THIS IS SICK WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH SWEDEN I ONLY BELIEVE IN JESUS AND THE FAITH AND LOVE HE SPREADS CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO BE THEMSELVES, ONLY CONFORM TO THE GENDER EVERYONE THINKS THEY SHOULD BE RAAAGHHHH
Well this should keep the shrinks in business .
" I find your lack of faith disturbing " . (STAR WARS) .
TTHIS is Appaling to me on a personal level. We are Created as either MALE or FEMALE in the womb ;
Only in this unnatural world in which we currently exist can this form of behavior be taken into context ;
'QBbq' .sea.air.land.space.time. ' " She may not go fast, but she'll make sail Captain " ' [ all ME ]
A TraNslitER8Shun4:2:1:0: [_asvOLD_ASV_]
"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called _to_be_ an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which he promised afore through his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was declared _to_be_ the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; _even_ Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we recieved grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name's sake; among whom are ye also, called _to_be_ Jesus Christ's: to all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called _to_be_ saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
Why in the hell are we letting the hippies win people? We can't let this become the norm or we are going to have to deal with a bunch of confused kids who have no idea who they are.
I think boys and girls are very different not just plsaicylhy, but emotionally as well. They like different things, respond to events differently and are wonderful in their own unique and separate ways. While this school and parents who raise their kids in this manner are trying to celebrate their child’s diversity are really creating a system that molds kids together to be the same. I also believe it is extremely dangerous to experiment with children, which is what this school and many parents are doing. They are trying new methods to parenting that have not shown themselves to be effective and they are trusting in something that they believe will have a positive effect when it can very easily ruin these children’s lives.
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Nothing shocking about this. Sweden also has a feminist political party that wants to make it illegal for men to urinate while standing up. I'M NOT KIDDING. You have to wonder if this school has adopted this absurdity.
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