Sep. 21st, 2012 03:48 pm
liv: Composite image of Han Solo and Princess Leia, labelled Hen Solo (gender)
[personal profile] liv
There's a non-controversy that's been blazing up from time to time in Sweden over the popularization of the epicene pronoun hen. Swedish has han for him and hon for her, so hen just plain makes sense, it's rather easier to use without stumbling over than many proposed novel pronouns in English. It does have the disadvantage that it's a bit similar to the English word hen, which obviously sounds feminine, which slightly the defeats the point of conveying person-ness without specifying gender.

However, for reasons I don't entirely understand, some people think that the word hen in popular usage is somehow going to lead to all kinds of implausibly awful consequences like forced castration of all men or outlawing heterosexuality. If you think I'm exaggerating for the sake of sarcasm, you can read some of this discussion, but if you want to retain any kind of faith in humanity then don't follow the link. That comment thread is chock-full of sexism, cis-sexism and I don't know if there's even a term for the really nasty prejudice against non-binary-gendered people on display there. Comment threads at The Local are a bit of a cesspit because since it reports on Sweden in the English language, all the Americans who think that Sweden is the symbol of everything that's evil about socialism show up there. But there seems to be a similar level of outrage in the Swedish media and I can't at all tell why people would feel that threatened by the existence of an accessible epicene pronoun!

Anyway, someone made a funny internet meme thing which is getting reposted on FB by some of my Swedish connections: they have combined Princess Leia's dress and iconic hairstyle with Han Solo's rugged visage and big gun, and labelled it Hen Solo. I lol'ed, and then realized that it might fill the icon gap I have for talking about gender stuff. It's not as clever as [personal profile] kaberett's Swiss army gender. It's also not quite perfect, because it's in many ways a lot more androgynous than truly gender-neutral, and I don't find guns to be a particularly positive symbol of masculinity, or Han Solo a particularly good role model in general. But I sort of like the combination, the image of a bold, adventurous person with pretty hair and a cute dress and a pronoun that doesn't tell people which box to put them in.
Anyone around in north or central London on Sunday? I've booked uncancellable train tickets and accommodation for a party which ended up being cancelled. And I was so disappointed that I wasn't going to get my much anticipated fun day out that I decided to go anyway. The tentative plan is to go out for dim sum or similar in Chinatown, and then do something cultural in the afternoon. Possibly the National Gallery, as I'm quite taken by the Titian / Olympic bandwagon-jumping exhibition that's finishing this weekend.

It's fairly flexible and we're open to suggestions of something different that you're passionate about doing, or recs of more exciting places to get food. Happy to meet up Sunday morning as long as it's not too early and accessible from the Hackney-ish area; because this trip was originally planned around a party, we're staying overnight in Walthamstow. Sunday evening I have to catch a train home, so early dinner somewhere in the vicinity of Euston is doable, but sadly I'm not going to have quite enough time to make it to the Pembury.
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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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