Liberal 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.
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.
I’m wondering if there isn’t already a ‘Cancel Culture 101’ course being taught in our universities.
‘I think we have a personal choice to decolonise our language and these historical terms will fade out,’ Dr. Small told the Courier Mail.
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’. 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.
The liberal professor hopes that through her initiative, she will be able to transform the anatomical language used across the globe, starting in societies like Australia and the United States.
Council member for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Dr. Nisha Khot is positive eponyms will one day be obsolete.
According to Dr. Khot, “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.”
‘AWM’ added few details:
One common example of a misogynistic or sexist term used in anatomy and the medical community is “hysterectomy.” This term originates from the sexist belief that women have a weaker constitution than their male counterparts and therefore suffered from emotional hysteria. Back in the day, doctors would remove a woman’s uterus to treat female hysteria, hence the procedure’s current name.
Dr. Khot is among the group of academics pioneering the name “uterectomy” instead. Not only is this term anatomically correct, but it also is not based on a sexist view of a male’s superiority.
“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,” Dr. Khot said.
Common names of body parts like the Adam’s apple or the Achilles tendon are named after historical men. The speculum, a gynecological instrument used to perform a pap smear, was named after an American slave trader.