In the Netherlands we got a television program currently running, called Me Jane, You Tarzan? Its a series about feminisme anno 2018, presented by Ersin Kiris and Sofie van den Erk. You can find it here, there are 5 episodes in total, each with its own subject: sexuality, body, upbringing, imaging and work. And in my humble opinion, its a great program.
The program did however stir the masses: Dutch magazine de Linda wrote about gender neutral upbringing in Sweden and the use of the (Swedish) pronoun hen. A few days later there was another message from Linda, this time with all the crazy reactions they had on the earlier article. Also, a new word for vagina has been launched after a call from a radio show. It’s ‘poenie‘. Both are the consequence of the episode on upbringing, which besides explaining the gender neutral upbringing, also pointed out how Sweden does have a name for vagina which can be used with kids too:
Obviously lots has happened due to the program. Boys should be boys, girls should be girls. Kids who raise their children gender neutral should be locked in a psychiatric facility. We are all turning crazy. A hen is a chicken (in Dutch, hen can mean a chicken, and it is the third person plural, although recently also introduced as second person singular for non-binary people). Those were the reactions on the gender neutral raising, in the magazine Linda. So many emotions are touched, which means a sore spot has been hit. People seem to feel attacked. The boxes ‘male’ and ‘female’ are being defended. Of course we humans, animals as we are, think in boxes massively. Its a natural thing to do, and actually very handy, because it helps to recognize things like letters and humans, but also danger and fun.
The question is however, what do you do with the information your head is sticking onto somebody? And, how much do you believe of that first impression to be true? How much value do you give those stereotypes, which help to keep the boxes, and thus to process things faster? Are those boxes definitive, or is it possible that it turns out things are different than thought at first glance? Is it possible that there’s more in the world than the boxes which are normal to you?
The way we see the world is largely culturally decided. In one culture men can only wear pants, in another men should wear a dress (for instance to the Moskee). In one culture the man is the boss (patriarchal society), in the other its the female (matriarchal society). In one culture there are 2 genders, in another 5 (for instance native Americans in the US, or Bugis society in Indonesia).
Still we are very convinced that some things are ‘really not ok’, like a man in a skirt, a child being raised gender neutral, a women who is director. this, while in other cultures it is very good possible, and those cultures are around for many years already, aren’t they? It’s understandable, you stick to what you know. But how beautiful is it that there are so many more options in life? Maybe a bit chaotic, the overview might disappear a little. While you might nog have the urge, other people clearly have. Is that a problem? The world is constantly changing, look 50 years back, or 100:
So maybe, we can conclude together that times are changing, and we don’t really need to push our heels into the sand to stop that change? Of course everybody may have their thoughts, change isn’t always good. But change is what time brings, so you could also look at all beauty it brings. If you keep up a little, those changes aren’t happening all of a sudden, usually change takes long time. Time to get used to it. To poenie, to hen, and to a shaving Eelste… 😉