Profiles

Marie Gustafsson Sendén, porträtt. Foto: Anna Danielsson.

Marie Gustafsson Sendén

Vik universitetslektor

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Works at Department of Psychology
Telephone 08-16 39 46
Email mgu@psychology.su.se
Visiting address Frescati hagväg 14
Room 348
Postal address Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2015. Marie Gustafsson Sendén, Emma A. Bäck, Anna Lindqvist. Frontiers in Psychology 6

    The implementation of gender fair language is often associated with negative reactions and hostile attacks on people who propose a change. This was also the case in Sweden in 2012 when a third gender-neutral pronoun hen was proposed as an addition to the already existing Swedish pronouns for she (hon) and he (han). The pronoun hen can be used both generically, when gender is unknown or irrelevant, and as a transgender pronoun for people who categorize themselves outside the gender dichotomy. In this article we review the process from 2012 to 2015. No other language has so far added a third gender-neutral pronoun, existing parallel with two gendered pronouns, that actually have reached the broader population of language users. This makes the situation in Sweden unique. We present data on attitudes toward hen during the past 4 years and analyze how time is associated with the attitudes in the process of introducing hen to the Swedish language. In 2012 the majority of the Swedish population was negative to the word, but already in 2014 there was a significant shift to more positive attitudes. Time was one of the strongest predictors for attitudes also when other relevant factors were controlled for. The actual use of the word also increased, although to a lesser extent than the attitudes shifted. We conclude that new words challenging the binary gender system evoke hostile and negative reactions, but also that attitudes can normalize rather quickly. We see this finding very positive and hope it could motivate language amendments and initiatives for gender-fair language, although the first responses may be negative.

  • 2015. Marie Gustafsson Sendén, Sverker Sikstrom, Torun Lindholm. Sex Roles 72 (1-2), 40-49

    Previous research has shown a male bias in the media. This study tests this statement by examining how the pronouns She and He are used in a news media context. More specifically, the study tests whether He occurs more often and in more positive semantic contexts than She, as well as whether She is associated with more stereotypically and essential labels than He is. Latent semantic analysis (LSA) was applied to 400 000 Reuters' news messages, written in English, published in 1996-1997. LSA is a completely data-driven method, extracting statistics of words from how they are used throughout a corpus. As such, no human coders are involved in the assessment of how pronouns occur in their contexts. The results showed that He pronouns were about 9 times more frequent than She pronouns. In addition, the semantic contexts of He were more positive than the contexts of She. Moreover, words associated with She-contexts included more words denoting gender, and were more homogeneous than the words associated with He-contexts. Altogether, these results indicate that men are represented as the norm in these media. Since these news messages are distributed on a daily basis all over the world, in printed newspapers, and on the internet, it seems likely that this presentation maintains, and reinforces prevalent gender stereotypes, hence contributing to gender inequities.

  • 2019. Marie Gustafsson Sendén (et al.). Frontiers in Psychology 10

    According to Social Role Theory, gender stereotypes are dynamic constructs influenced by actual and perceived changes in what roles women and men occupy (Wood and Eagly, 2011). Sweden is ranked as one of the most egalitarian countries in the world, with a strong national equality discourse and a relatively high number of men engaging in traditionally communal roles such as parenting and domestic tasks. This would imply a perceived change toward higher communion among men. Therefore, we investigated the dynamics of gender stereotype content in Sweden with a primary interest in the male stereotype and perceptions of gender equality. In Study 1, participants (N = 323) estimated descriptive stereotype content of women and men in Sweden in the past, present, or future. They also estimated gender distribution in occupations and domestic roles for each time-point. Results showed that the female stereotype increased in agentic traits from the past to the present, whereas the male stereotype showed no change in either agentic or communal traits. Furthermore, participants estimated no change in gender stereotypes for the future, and they overestimated how often women and men occupy gender non-traditional roles at present. In Study 2, we controlled for participants' actual knowledge about role change by either describing women's increased responsibilities on the job market, or men's increased responsibility at home (or provided no description). Participants (N = 648) were randomized to the three different conditions. Overall, women were perceived to increase in agentic traits, and this change was mediated by perceptions of social role occupation. Men where not perceived to increase in communion but decreased in agency when change focused on women's increased participation in the labor market. These results indicate that role change among women also influence perceptions of the male stereotype. Altogether, the results indicate that social roles might have stronger influence on perceptions of agency than perceptions of communion, and that communion could be harder to incorporate in the male stereotype.

  • 2016. Anna Lindqvist, Marie Gustafsson Sendén, Emma Aurora Bäck. Språk & Stil 26, 101-129

    Swedish is the first language that has a gender-neutral third-person singular pronoun, hen, that has spread from transgender and queer communities to the broader society and now exists in parallel with the two traditional gendered pronouns representing ‘she’ and ‘he’. Many strong emotions have arisen during this process, both for and against hen. This study aims at analyzing what background factors may explain the attitudes towards hen. In total, 240 individuals participated in our online questionnaire where they indicated their attitude towards hen, as well as responded to questions assessing attitudes towards sexist language (i.e. gender discriminating language), modern sexism (i.e. the belief that gender-discrimination is no longer an issue), political views (from left to right), interest in gender issues and their identification with their own gender identity. The results show no gender difference in attitudes towards hen, but participants strongly identifying themselves with their gender identity had a tendency to be more negative towards the word. Political view was not a significant predictor. However, participants with sexist attitudes had a tendency to dislike hen, whereas those who were interested in gender issues and were negative towards sexist language had a tendency to like the word. Finally, younger age implied a stronger tendency to like hen.

  • 2018. Agnieszka Pietraszkiewicz (et al.).
Show all publications by Marie Gustafsson Sendén at Stockholm University

Last updated: August 5, 2019

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