Australian doctors are calling for people to stop using terms named after ‘men, kings, and gods’ to describe body parts – such as Adam’s apple and Achilles heel.
The list of human anatomical parts named after people is vast – and terms like the Achilles tendon, Adam’s apple, and Fallopian tubes are now considered by some to be irrelevant and even misogynistic, with the call out for more practical and descriptive terms for body parts to be widely used.
So should we stop using eponyms and instead use more accurate terminology?
Queensland specialist obstetrician, gynecologist, and anatomy lecturer, Dr. Kristin Small, teaches students to phase out irrelevant and misogynistic medical language.
She believes the terms represent older generations and is pushing to use more practical and descriptive terms for body parts.
She stated, “I think we have a personal choice to decolonize our language and these historical terms will fade out.”
Dr. Small said she makes sure her students still know eponyms for exam purposes and says there are always alternatives for the ‘dead man’s name’.
Masculinity should be celebrated and respected – not faded out!
Eponyms are parts of the body that are named after a person, yet women are not represented in most of the 700 parts of the body named after people.
I just rolled my eyes so hard while reading this, I gave myself a migraine. New push to RENAME body parts like the Adam’s apple and Achilles’ tendon because they are ‘irrelevant and misogynistic’ https://t.co/5JPxTj14me
— A.C. Spollen (@ACSpollen) July 19, 2020
According to The Blaze:
Dr. Nisha Khot, a council member for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, is also teaching young doctors to start using alternative terminology, the news outlet reported.
Khot said she thinks many of the older terms will eventually become obsolete.
“The young trainee doctors are mostly keen to learn the more relevant language and are often shocked when they hear the origins of some medical terms,” she said. “The push for change may have started in the area of women’s health but the conversation is now in the wider health community. It just makes sense for the medics but also for the patients to use more understandable terms.”
The push to change supposedly sexist medical terms comes alongside a somewhat similar push in the U.S. to rebrand products and rename organizations thought to be racist.
Critics of the rebranding and renaming movement argue such attempts are nothing more than byproducts of the current “cancel culture,” which targets and publicly shame anyone or anything deemed offensive.