People are Now Insulted – ?


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.



3 responses »

  1. Hmmm… I think I’ve always veiwed the term “impaired” differently. I would think if you could hear some, but not well, you would be hearing impaired but not deaf. Or if you could see some, but not well, you would be visually impaired but not technically blind. I’ve always thought deaf and blind were very different than “impaired”. Of course that doesn’t mean I’m correct, just possibly mistaken.

    I do find it interesting that medical terms are considered insulting. However, as you said earlier, I also am not afflicted with any of these conditions so I can’t speak from their points of view. I can see where you may not want to be referred to in a medical terms but I wouldn’t think it should be considered an insult.

  2. I think a lot of these people don’t really care – minus the retard or retarded use because it has been used in an insulting way, but I do think that there’s a lot of people out there that decided it was better sounding. Personally, I can’t keep up. I get called all kinds of names for being fair complected i.e., albino, powderette, etc. I’m going to declare that I’m now called sun tanning impaired, haha.

  3. To clarify my comment above, what I meant is that I believe more people than not who have the medical conditions do not really dwell on the name so much. I think it’s the people who are uncomfortable with the conditions themselves that have to create the more sensitive names – just my opinion. I’m also not living with the problem, but I know that I’m pretty realistic and would accept the medical term and the other. I also think that sometimes I would tell people blind is blind – what does it matter whether you using seeing impaired or not – it doesn’t make me less blind. It just bugs me because more and more people are adding to what the “politically correct” terminology pool and I just can’t nor do I really want to keep up.

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