I was watching an episode of Oprah earlier this week about hermaphrodites – people born with ambiguous genitals or genitals that comprised some male organs and some female organs. This phenomenom has always intrigued me (as have chimeras, vanishing twin syndrome, conjoined twins, people born with half a body, and other amazing physical obstacles people have overcome) so I’ve watched a lot of documentaries about them and they’ve always referred to it has hermaphroditism. They’ve also used the term “intersexed” as well but the medical term has always been hermaphrodite. Well, during Oprah’s show, she said that term is no longer used as people view it as insulting. Really? How can a medical term/condition be insulting? I don’t understand (which is easy for me to say since I don’t have that condition, I guess).
So, it got me to thinking, there are other medical terms/phrases/conditions who’s names people now consider “insulting”:
Dwarf – they say this is insulting and now want to be referred to as “little people”. Again, I don’t have that condition so perhaps I dont’ understand but it seems to me it would be more insulting to be called a little person than a midget or dwarf. It would give me the feeling as if I was not adequate or not as good as a regular size person. At least dwarf is a medical term and has no reference to what kind of person I am.
Deaf – they are now referred to as hearing impaired. Why is deaf insulting? Again, I just don’t understand how a medical term would be insulting to you.
Blind – new referred to as seeing impaired.
Retarded – mentally impaired. Now – this one I certainly understand. People have used the term “retard” as an insult and although it is still a medically recognized condition, no one would want to be called that.