A pair of doctors in Australia want to do away with terms like “Adam’s apple” and “Achilles tendon,” with one doctor calling them misogynistic.
Dr. Kristin Small, a Queensland specialist obstetrician, gynecologist, and anatomy lecturer, calls for the terms to be phased out, saying they represent older generations.
“I think we have a personal choice to decolonize our language and these historical terms will fade out,” Small told the Brisbane Courier-Mail.
She still teaches the terms, known as eponyms, for exam purposes, but notes that there are alternatives for the “dead man’s name.” She says the centuries-old anatomical terms are named after “old men, kings and heroes.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Nisha Khot, council member for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said she thinks the eponyms will one day be 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.
For instance, the word “hysterectomy” came from a time when women were treated for hysteria by removing the uterus. But Khot prefers the term “uterectomy.”
“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,” Khot said.
The Adam’s apple is believed to be named after the biblical figure of Adam, while the Achille’s tendon is named after the Greek hero of the Trojan War.
The PC police have been on the warpath of late. For instance, while the Oxford Dictionary defines the phrase “low-hanging fruit” as “a thing or person that can be won, obtained, or persuaded with little effort,” a college professor claimed the definition was racist.
“For African-Americans, if you say ‘low-hanging fruit,’ we think lynching,” said Mae Hicks-Jones, an adjunct faculty member of Elgin Community College in Illinois.
“Grandfathered” is also racist, she said, according to a report this week in The College Fix. To Hicks-Jones, the phrase “grandfathered in” is reminiscent of a grandfather clause, which privileged white people’s right to vote over that of black people in the Jim Crow-era South.
Then there’s the “Masters” golf tournament. Rob Parker last month wrote a Deadline piece headlined “We’ve Lived with ‘The Masters’ Name Long Enough.”
“Augusta National was built on grounds that were once a slave plantation and was the property of a slave owner. And according to a 2019 New Yorker piece about the course, it’s believed that enslaved Blacks were housed on the property,” he wrote.
Even food brands are being targeted. Quaker Oats announced last month that it would remove Aunt Jemima from its 133-year-old brand of syrup and pancake mix, while the company that makes Cream of Wheat said it is reviewing its brand and packaging, which features a black chef holding up a piping hot bowl of cereal.
“B&G Foods, Inc. today announced that we are initiating an immediate review of the Cream of Wheat brand packaging,” the company said in a statement. “We understand there are concerns regarding the Chef image, and we are committed to evaluating our packaging and will proactively take steps to ensure that we and our brands do not inadvertently contribute to systemic racism.”
Meanwhile, the company that makes Uncle Ben’s rice said that “now was the right time to evolve” the brand. Their package features an elderly black man in a tuxedo next to its trademark saying, “Perfect Every Time.”