Sunday, February 1, 2009

Etymological misunderstandings

Note to all feminists: before making up a new word, research the etymology of the original.

Here are some common feminist neologisms, and why using them makes you look stupid:

  1. womyn
  2. herstory*
  3. ad feminam - "Ad hominem" means "to the person". "To the man" would be "ad virum". "Ad feminam" implies women aren't human. How's that for irony?

Don't even try "femail" (female comes from the same root as feminism), womanufacture, or "femstruation"!

There are no prefixes "wo-", "hu-"**, or "fe-". If a cow was called a "wobull", or if bovines were called "hubulls" you might have a case.*** Pairs like "(wo)man" and "(fe)male" are purely coincidental (cf. "girl"/"boy") and do not shape anyone's opinion of women or of gender roles in general. Making up words without looking into the etymology of the original, however, makes me think less of you.

Now, I'm not saying you don't have a right to call yourself a "womon"; I have the right to call myself a "rugaflax" if I want to.

I'm just saying, were I to excersize my equal right to call you a moron for doing so, I would be much more justified.

*I know this is just a pun poking at the percieved male-centricity of history. The only problem is that, in most of history, women weren't permitted to do anything important.
**"Human" comes from the same root as "Homo sapiens".
***Interesting note: Many peopleactually use "cow" as gender-neutral like "man" is often used. Is that misandry? No.

EDIT: The etymological origins of the word "feminazi" and its links to Glenn Beck have come to my attention. To apologize for any misunderstanding, here's a webcomic!

1 comment:

Nulono said...

ockraz said...
Ha ha- a point that seems relevant here (which I looked up because I think that etymology can be fun sometimes) is that 'man' is generally used only in the gendered sense of 'male human' now, but that it was traditionally neuter. In philosophy texts that predate the 1960's (and sometimes when I forget myself) you'll still see 'mankind' and 'a man' used in this gender neutral way. It is unfashionable now, but it is still legitimate given that the 'wo' in woman derives from 'wyf' (which is the root for the word 'wife') in 'wyfman' which was the original word that meant female human. Originally, there was a term 'wereman' which meant 'male human'. (Remember 'were' from the word 'werewolf'- meaning 'wolfman'?) The 'were' was dropped over time, but it is only because it is considered injudicious (and not incorrect) that the neuter use of 'man' is seen so infrequently today.
Monday, August 10, 2009 4:16:00 AM PDT