PARODY COMPOSED: Dr.G.H. and Giorgio Coniglio, December 2015.
PLUS: A bonus poem, joining the disparate topics of hernia and gender-neutral language (see below!)
MEL and HIS HERNIA
(to the tune of "Me and My Shadow")
Persons all have a bundle of His.
Where's our gender-free talk
When unmended heart block
Or mandibular's taken amiss?
(Few girls find male escutcheons so cute.)
Ma'am, your hernia's a mystery,
If we shed your past history —
Your remote hysterectomy's moot.
Avoidance of discriminatory gender-bias in language is an unassailable aim. In the medical field, there are many terms which are problematic due to syllables that in written or spoken form make them seem suspect for such bias. Usually, however, this 'problem' is happenstance based on the incorporation of Greek root-words. Sometimes the level of comedy is reached, as in the near-homonym for the male possessive form in the term HYSterectomy' (surgical removal of the uterus). Other medical terms with hidden male-promoting messages, as in the above verses, may include unMENded, HEart, MANdible, escutcHEon (pubic hair), and Bundle of HIS. HIRsute and HERnia seem to be exceptions to this formulation.
Putative messages may also lurk in non-medical diction including wHIM, tHIS, perSONs, wHEn, aMISS, furtHER, MENtion, MYStery, SHEd, and HIStory.
Can we ever make language gender-neutral?