Transactivists are ridiculous: so as not to 'offend' the ultra-exiguous minority of women who claim to be male while retaining the female genital organ the vagina can no longer be called that. Bonus hole, additional hole: this is the term. Not even front hole more: its unserviceability should be better emphasised.
Relentless work to erasing women from language and the symbolic, a move in extremis of patriarchy who has eof the erasure and abjection of the feminine, and in its terminal phase does thislast attempt to save themselves.
It will still end.
The article on the Telegraph is by Hannah Betts.
The recent use by a charity of the term 'additional hole' to refer to the vaginais the latest addition to a depressing glossary of identity wars.
In the latest public debate on terms to somehow identify a 'female' a charity is advising doctors to refer to the vagina with the bizarre phrase 'extra hole'. Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust in guide proposes 'extra hole' and 'front hole' as acceptable alternatives to vagina, whose use could 'make someone feel hurt or distressed'. The guide is designed to address trans men (women by birth) and non-binary individuals.
Those who criticise these choices read them as another example of the disturbing trend whereby the word 'woman' or words related to it are deleted by terms that include trans and non-binary individuals, on pain of labelling the user as TERF (trans exclusionary radical feminist).
Last week [Monday 03/07] it was announced that the Bank of England in its family leave policies.is replacing the term 'mother' with 'birth parent'.
We have "menstruating people" (used by the Devex development website); 'pregnant people' (in an American Civil Liberties Union press release on abortion); and "breastfeeding' (solicited by the English health service as a substitute for 'breastfeeding').
As of 2018, Cancer Research UK exhorts "anyone with a cervix" to undergo screening. While in 2021 The Lancet apologised for a cover in which women were described as "bodies with vaginas'.
Last month there was an uproar over an online glossary of LGBTQ terms that appeared on a John Hopkins University website in which the phrase "non-man attracted to non-men' - rather than 'homosexual woman' - has been used to refer to lesbians.
The glossary had not been officially authorised and was quickly removed, but only after the outrage of a lesbian woman who had been called 'not a man'. The homosexual tennis star Martina Navratilova tweeted: 'Lesbian had remained literally the only word in the English language not related to men' objecting that this constituted 'another example of the erasure of women'. While the writer JK Rowling noted: 'Man: no definition needed. Non-man (formerly known as woman): a being definable only by reference to the male. An absence, a void where there is no manhood'.
Deborah Cameron, professor of language and communication at Oxford University, confirms that this way of defining 'lesbian' has been a controversial issue for several years and is strongly associated with trans activism. "Non-men' has also been used, for example, by the Green Party as an umbrella term for women, trans and non-binary people - that is, all those who are not men [at birth] - and this has the effect of make humans the default human norm' he says. "It is ironic that in their efforts to assert the diversity and non-binary nature of gender, organisations such as the Greens have opted for a totally binary and clearly hierarchical terminology in which everyone is a man or a non-man'.
Yet while the word 'woman' has become a site of cultural anxiety, the term 'man' seems to be considered unproblematic." The word man is not avoided, although by logic the same considerations about inclusion should apply,' says Cameron. "Why are we not urged to use terms like 'inseminators' or 'anyone with a prostate' on the basis that some women produce sperm while some men do not?" "It is the language used by and about women that is relentlessly controlled: we do not have the same tradition of dictating to men and expecting them to comply."
It might seem that things have always been this way, ct was as if the English language had always conspired to attack, denigrate, confine or erase women. Think of the classic essay by Muriel R. Schulz of the mid-1970s, The Semantic Derogation of Womanwhich traces the way in which even seemingly neutral terms for 'feminine' have turned into sexual insults. This derogatory process includes designations such as 'madame and/or madam', 'miss' and 'mistress', once titles of courtesy and later euphemisms for brothel owner, prostituted woman and 'a woman with whom a man has an affair'.
Ditto professional definitions such as 'nun' (once used as a euphemism for 'courtesan') and nicknames such as 'Dolly', 'Kitty', 'Biddy', 'Gill' and 'Polly' - all used at some point to mean slut, mistress or prostitute (compare these with the contents in our American 'Tracy' and 'Sharon', 'Stacey' and 'Becky', or that British-American cliché for despising middle-aged women, 'Karen').
Yet readers of the wonderful new book by Dr. Jenni Nuttall, Mother Tongue: The Surprising History of Women's Wordsthe idea that the English language has been more inclusive in its first millennium is presented. According to Nuttall Old English and Middle English offered a richer and more dynamic range of linguistic possibilities to describe women's experience than modern language.'Menstruation used to be called flowers,' he says. More fascinating, perhaps, than words like menstruation or monthly cycle that simply refer to time. Pains, crowds or throws were used instead of the more formal 'contraction' in childbirth.
'Lady' was until 1740 a respectful term for married and unmarried women of sufficient social status, the word 'Miss' being reserved for girls. It was only around 1800 that the most oppressive gender prejudices became the norm, when certain parts of society began to resist change.
It turns out that, before the Georgian and Victorian fashions of personal morality dampened the discussion, there was a wide variety of feminine, non-conforming and often astonishing words. Slang names for lesbians such as rubsters, tribades, or those who played the game of cards (Lesbianism was called The game of Flats in the 18th century) disappeared, to the point that in 1921 the Lord Chancellor stated in Parliament that only one in a thousand women knew anything about lesbian sex. And what used to be called the dodge time (because menstruation becomes irregular) has been renamed the perimenopause.
Professor Deborah Cameron notes that the words have historical origins; sexist anatomical terminology was imported from Latin during the Renaissance, while sexist vocabulary on female sexuality (such as frigid or nymphomaniac) became established with the rise of sexology in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Regardless of this, digital analysis - available since 1990 - revealed that linguistic sexism is systematic.
It is a topic that Cameron's next book, Language, Sexism and Misogynyshe will tackle by the end of the year. She anticipates: the book also deals with mansplaining, by 'manterruption' and the "default masculine assumptions embedded in the grammar of many languages, such as the tradition of referring to a hypothetical artist or scientist as 'he', or the fact that, in French, a group of 1,000 women and one man will still receive the masculine plural pronoun 'ils'".
We will also consider how we address and refer to women, emphasising their different and unequal status through names, titles, terms of endearment and sexualised insults. Think of women such as Miriam González Durántez criticised for not using her husband's surname (Clegg); women are obliged to specify whether they are Miss or Mrs., while men are simply gentlemen; the term sluts has no male equivalent.
Some books, such as Wordslut by Amanda Montell (2019) e Hags by Victoria Smith (2023), they appreciate the recovery of what had been considered negative terms. Smith is the author of a newsletter entitled 'The OK Karen'. She explains: "When I called my book Hags (Witches) seemed to me an incisive term for 'middle-aged women being vilified'. And since it can be used ironically, we can use it among ourselves even if others use it against us.
Awareness is important to correct linguistic prejudices. I am part of a generation that is excited to hear granddaughters described as "with leadership skills" while I was once condemned as "bossy". But awareness is only constructive when it reflects social change. The gradual acceptance of 'chair' and 'chairperson' in the 1980s and 1990s had an impact because women actually started occupying those positions.
Nuttall is one of many who claim that trans and non-binary inclusiveness must not come at the expense of the historically marginalised gender and believes in the use of gender-neutral language alongside language representing the feminine (in the phrase 'women and pregnant people', for example).
It cannot be anti-woke to want women to be included.
original article here, translation by Rita Paltrinieri.