The multiple meanings of the gender-inclusive pronoun hen: Predicting attitudes and use

Emma A. Renström, Anna Lindqvist, Marie Gustafsson Sendén

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Abstract

The Swedish gender-inclusive pronoun hen can be used generically (referring to anyone), or specifically (referring to non-binary gender identities). Three studies tested evaluations and use of hen, and individual-level predictors. In Study 1 (N = 2145), specific hen was slightly favoured over generic hen. In Study 2 (N = 297), hen was more negatively evaluated than binary pronouns, and generic hen was more positively evaluated than specific hen. In Study 3 (N = 450), hen was less frequently used compared to binary pronouns overall but preferred in generic contexts. Traditionalism mainly predicted attitudes towards generic hen and beliefs about gender, as binary mainly predicted attitudes towards specific hen, although the pattern varied across studies. Because hen was preferred in generic contexts, but not in specific ones, this work has implications for understanding the non-acceptance of non-binary gender identities since the traditional binary notion of gender still is strong.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Psychology (50101)

Keywords

  • attitudes and use
  • gender-inclusive pronouns
  • individual differences
  • reading

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