For my first post on the poisonous language of feminism, the very word feminism seemed like a great place to start. I’m not going to talk about the definition of the word, but it’s etymology. The word breaks down into two parts. Feminine meaning woman. -ism meaning doctrine or devotion. The very word Feminism breaks down to devotion to women or the doctrine of women.
The word feminism is a very poor choice for the name of a human rights movement or an equality movement. Humanitarianism is a much better name if the movement focuses on human rights. Egalitarianism is much better if the focus is on equality. By naming the movement woman-ism the focus is on woman, not humans. by naming the movement woman-ism the focus is on women, not equality.
There are other movements that we can look at to see the affects of naming. The Civil Rights Movement is a great example. While the primary concern of the civil rights movement was the rights of “Colored People”. The National Association of Colored people (NAACP) started about the same time. Used the same tactics, but did not have nearly the affect that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement did. The primary difference between the NAACP and the Civil Rights Movement was one of naming. Civil Rights is not exclusionary. The advancement of colored people is.
The other direction for for naming is Group-Topic. The Women’s Suffrage movement was a very good thing. The right to vote for women is a very specific topic. The naming of this movement identified group, women, and goal, suffrage. Once women had the right to vote there was no more need for the movement and it disbanded.
Naming the movement feminism has derailed any real hope of the movement being humanitarian or egalitarian. It is Feminine.