News & Politics

Australian Doctors Want to Rename 'Irrelevant and Misogynistic' Body Parts Named for Men

(AP Photo/Al-hadji Kudra Maliro)

It’s nice that the problems of the world have all be solved and we can spend time and energy complaining about the names of body parts. Apparently, doctors in Australia are triggered by terms named after men, like the “Adam’s apple” or “Achilles heel” and about 700 other eponyms.

Dr. Kristin Small, an obstetrician, gynecologist, and anatomy lecturer from Queensland (thankfully not Kingsland, or she’d be triggered by that, too) is teaching her students to phase out “irrelevant and misogynistic” medical language.

“I think we have a personal choice to decolonize our language and these historical terms will fade out,” Small says.

According to Small, of the 700 body parts named after people, only one is named after a woman.

It’s not just body parts with controversial nomenclature.

For example, the word “hysterectomy” is another problematic term because it calls back to a time when the procedure was performed to treat hysteria. The term “uterectomy” is more politically (and anatomically) correct.

“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,” says Dr. Nisha Khot, council member for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Dr. Small laments that much of the female reproductive system is named after “dead dudes.”

The main reason for this, which is not mentioned in the article, is that many of these “dead dudes” were responsible for the medical discovery of their namesakes or other contributions to early medicine. Changing these names just because they happen to be named after men minimizes their contributions to the modern understanding of human biology.

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Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trumpand the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis