Cultural dating practices

They are proud that Linus Torvalds, the inventor of Linux, is a Finn.Visitors should also be prepared to encounter the other side of the Finnish national character: Finns are chronically insecure about whether the wider world is aware of the achievements of this northern nation.There are also many titles ending with the suffix –mies (man) that are not considered gender-specific.

The first female Finnish bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is Irja Askola. Chauvinistic or patronizing attitudes towards women are generally considered unacceptable, although such attitudes do persist in practice.

Women do appreciate traditional courtesy, although ultimately they appraise men on the basis of their attitude towards equality.

In international contexts, or when using foreign languages, particularly English, Finns have become accustomed to politically correct language in which traditional masculine terms are replaced with gender-neutral ones (e.g.

‘chairperson’); or the third person singular pronoun is offered in both forms (he/she) when they exist. Instead, the third person singular pronoun hän covers both genders.

The number of immigrants in Finland is growing, and increasing contacts with other religions in recent years have increased the Finns’ knowledge of them, although there is still much to be desired in their tolerance for people with different religions and cultures.

There is a high degree of equality between the sexes in Finland, as can be seen in the relatively high number of women holding advanced positions in politics and other areas of society.

Women are usually independent financially and may offer to pay their share of a restaurant bill, for instance.

A man may politely refuse such an offer, but it is equally polite to accept it.

The conception that Finns are a reserved and taciturn lot is an ancient one and does not retain the same validity as it used to, certainly not with the younger generations.

Nevertheless, it is fair to say that Finns have a special attitude to words and speech: words are taken seriously, and people are held to what they say.

“Take a man by his words and a bull by its horns,” says a Finnish proverb.

Tags: , ,