How to solve everyday sexism

Language reflects and reinforces social norms; ungendering language is an important part of solving sexism. And there has been some progress. As you might expect, much of this emanates from Sweden. In the 1990s, there was consternation among Swedes that there was a colloquial, non-sexual word for penis (“snopp”) but no female equivalent; a discrepancy with ramifications on how children view and learn about their body. So Anna Kosztovics, a social worker from Malmö, coined “snippa” in 2000 and started promoting it. The government encouraged her efforts. Apparently, nursery school teachers were encouraged to put up notes on their doors asking: “Have you said snippa today?” Snippa entered the Swedish dictionary in 2006 and is now widely used.

Earlier this year, Kosztovics called for the UK to follow Sweden’s lead in a video on the BBC. British English has the word “willy” but lacks a widely used non-clinical, non-sexual way to talk about the vagina. Kosztovics says this means “little girls grow up with the thought that there is something wrong between their legs”. She adds: “There are 360 million people who speak English and I think it’s time for you to discover your own word … I say let the best word win.”

We need to find a new way to say cunt.

You know, I have this feeling that it’s going to be a bit more complicated than that, I really do.

37 comments on “How to solve everyday sexism

  1. A 30 second Google found an article called 50 names for vagina. The comments below that added many more.

  2. It’s all in the mind, isn’t it?

    Snippa is only a non-sexual word because you are told at the outset that it is.

    I shall tell everyone that snippa is a really rude Swedish word, but mostly everyone will think it’s slang for a vasectomy.

  3. We need a new word for semi-retired chartered accountant, professor of political economics, domiciled in Ely? What on earth for, when it’s so widely used?

  4. “Apparently, nursery school teachers were encouraged to put up notes on their doors asking: “Have you said snippa today?” “

    Try that in an English primary school and the Nonce Squad will kick down your door.

  5. But a ‘willy’ is visible (occasionally) and is functional for at least one purpose at all ages. So it needs a non-sexual word, unlike the vagina. There are plenty of proper technical words to use for the lady-parts if they aren’t just demanding a new euphemism.
    Anyway, I thought ‘front bottom’ had entered colloquial usage amongst the newest generation?

  6. Our latinas use xoxo (pronounced cho-cho) a lot. Although I have suggested trying to sell access to a meat stock cube is unlikely to tempt the Anglo community.

  7. And coming up with derogatory names such as social justice warrior is an important part of solving the problem of liberal fascism.

  8. “Although I have suggested trying to sell access to a meat stock cube is unlikely to tempt the Anglo community.”

    Err, why? Premier Foods does good business doesn’t it?

  9. “Premier Foods does good business doesn’t it?”

    If Premier could sell the same stock cube to half a dozen customers, in a long night and still have the stock cube in the morning, I’d be impressed.

    And in passing. Bumped into a 6 foot Brasiliana in the kitchen when I got up. Tattooed with a colourful floral & butterfly design, all down one side from behind her ear to her ankle. And not much else. Quite breathtaking.
    It really is a lovely spring day here.

  10. As you might expect, much of this emanates from Sweden.

    The home of government-sponsored kebab rape.

    British English has the word “willy” but lacks a widely used non-clinical, non-sexual way to talk about the vagina.

    Call it a Corbyn and nobody will be sexually interested.

  11. I think Murphy may be confusing as I’m sure we’re close to the launch of the Professor Murphy doll and accessories range, complete with brown corduroy jacket with elbow patches. Though may work: “Trixie stop playing with your cunt.” Trixie: “yes, daddy,” putting Prof Murphy doll down.

  12. “As you might expect, much of this emanates from Sweden.”

    Anna Kosztovics doesn’t sound very Swedish to me.

  13. Call it a Corbyn and nobody will be sexually interested

    What with him smelling of piss an all.

  14. Riffing of your mention of kebab, Steve, can’t help wonder if donner mightn’t be appropriate. After all, they can present a similar appearance & eating some of the more dubious ones can prove hazardous to health.

  15. I suppose if people make it their life’s work to invent new sounds for things that have sounds already it’s not worth trying to stop them, but can we at least leave the government out of it?

  16. but can we at least leave the government out of it?

    Are you crazy? How could it possibly happen without government assistance?

  17. Oh, I don’t know, Hallowed Be. Coining a new word for government could be popular. Although the plural of the one Tim uses in his post would be a strong contender.

  18. Language reflects and reinforces social norms; ungendering language is an important part of solving sexism.

    This is what is known as question begging. They claim it but is it true?

    We have four Confucian countries – China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Two have highly gendered languages. In fact Korean and Japanese can often appear like another language when women speak them. Two have very mildly gendered language. In fact there is very little difference in spoken Chinese and Vietnamese between the sexes.

    So Japan and Korea must be significantly more sexist than China and Vietnam, right?

  19. We could adopt a new word for this based on the name of the Prophet, so achieving a double win – a new word for the thing in question and enraging the entire Religion of Peace.

  20. SMFS – quite, and that’s before you address the unspoken assumptions: what’s the value of reinforced social norms in a highly cooperative society? Will ‘ungendering language’ actually lead to net improvement in the effects of language on society, or will it merely shift the focus, leaving other groups out in the cold? Would SJWs care if it did?

  21. Japan and Korea are more sexist than China, Korea more sexist than Japan, I’d say (on the not scientific basis of having visited and done business there). Vietnam I don’t know about.

    It’s not a massive cause for concern of course. All these countries are significantly more racist than Sweden for example, and who would blame them?

    I was at a conference a few years ago where Japan’s demographics were being discussed. A European asked from the audience why Japan wasn’t solving its demographic problem through immigration like Europe. Polite confusion. “Er… because we see what is happening in Europe and don’t want anything like that to happen in Japan, thanks.”

  22. You don’t solve demographic problems by importing affiliates of an evil, barbaric Medieval religion who hate your values and are determined to replace them with their own totally fucked up values. Good on the Japanese for recognising this, more fool Europe for allowing their politicians to whole heartedly embrace their cultural suicide.

  23. ‘ungendering language is an important part of solving sexism.’

    Typical juvenile journalist, doesn’t understand the difference between sex and gender.

    But I’d love to see the French get rid of le and la, the Germans die/der. A useless complication of their language.

  24. The worst thing is that gender is basically arbitrary when it’s not directly applicable. Take Spanish. It’s fine for a dog fox to be un zorro and a vixen una zorra, but why is a chair una silla but a seat un asiento? And an armchair un sillón? Why are arms masculine but legs feminine, while hands are feminine and feet masculine? Fork: masculine; spoon: feminine. Beer is feminine and rum is masculine. Thoughts are masculine, ideas are feminine. Most -a words are feminine; lots are not (día, planeta, sistema, problema). And it’s la mano. If there’s one eagle over there it’s aquel* águila (m.), but if there’s two it’s aquellas águilas (f. pl.).

    This even confuses native speakers.

    * this is the Spanish equivalent of “yonder”

  25. The clue’s in “This even confuses native speakers.” BiCR.
    The default mode of the Spanish is confused. The language is the outcome. They started with perfectly logical Latin & after umpteen attempts they still haven’t produced anything reliable.
    See also; their electrics & plumbing.

  26. Finnish doesn’t have gendered nouns or pronouns, so Finland must have no sexism.

    Try telling that to Finland’s feminists.

    I believe Farsi doesn’t have gendered nouns, either.

  27. So when you can unmasculinize (new word) the carol “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” then you have reached nirvana.

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