Herstory

I subscribe to Oxford Dictionaries' (OD) word of the day and today's word is 'herstory'.

The OD's definition is 'history viewed from a female or specifically feminist perspective'.

The OED's entry for 'herstory' has yet to be updated (it dates back to 1993) but the entry is fascinating. The entry advises that 'herstory' occurs between 0.01 and 0.10 times per million words in typical modern English usage and that the word's etymology is a punning alteration of 'history' (fancifully reinterpreted as 'his story', implying that history has in the past been viewed predominantly from the male perspective), with his- replaced by her. The OED's earliest recorded use of the word is 1970 by R. Morgan in Sisterhood is Powerful.

My library offers all members access to the OED for free.

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  • What about 'inventing' other 'politically correct' words ....

    For example, we can't have 'human' as this is sexist (man at the end)

    So we will have to have it called 'huperson'.  But that there again misses out half of the population, it is sexist because of the 'son'.  So we will invent another word 'huperdaughter'.  So the human race becomes 'hupersons' and 'huperdaughters', to even things out.  And this when one word did the job, but at least they are inclusive.

    Come to think of it even 'woman' is sexist.  Why is there a 'man' on it!  So likewise it should be 'woperdaughter'. 

    And haven't I got something better to do with my time than these musings .....?  I'm sure there are many other things like that.

    The word 'midwife' simply means 'with wife' and is therefore sex neutral.  Yet I remember that in the early days of male midwives (still not very common even now) suggested names were 'mid husbands' (which is a total nonsense since that would mean 'with husband' or 'mid spouse', again a total nonsense.

    Why can't we just accept terms like 'policeman', 'postman', 'chairman' and 'milkman' as gender neutral? I have yet to hear of someone objecting to 'woman' because of the 'man' at the end of the word, unless I have led a more sheltered life than even I had thought!

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