Ugh. Our Sexist Language. … ?


I was going to use “history” in today’s blog title.   That got me to thinking – why HIStory?  Well, it turns out Google has easy answers.

late Middle English (also as a verb): via Latin from Greek historia ‘finding out, narrative, history,’ from histōr ‘learned, wise man,’ from an Indo-European root shared by wit2.

That’s seems to me to be a problem.  But it gets worse.  What about “story” then?  To be gender neutral, shouldn’t it be “tory”.  Well, “story” has the same root from a “learned wise man”.

Middle English (denoting a historical account or representation): shortening of Anglo-Norman French estorie, from Latin historia (see history).

In review.  History is a tale told by learned men.  Stories, well those too.

But it gets worse (Update: maybe).  It seems clear that the pronoun “his” would come from the same origins, but the easy/lazy Google search does not confirm this.  However, Google is definitive about the origins of “her”.  It’s from hire.  Ugh.  (Update:  I can’t find much or any righteous indignation on the intertubes about the origins of the modern English pronouns “his” and “her”. – So. categorize this latter portion as my liberal “herstory is against us” conspiracy theory.  Here is the Google entry for “etymology of her”.

Etymology of 'Her'

Is this a viable political issue. No.  Is this something that bother’s me.  A little.  Is there anything that can be done about it?  Bring attention to it and live with the reality of a sexist past – it’s part of who we were, it doesn’t have to be who we will become.

BTW, Turkish, for all of you Islamo-haters out there is gender neutral in it’s pronouns.  If any of you do meet a generous Turk who is trying to speak to you in our language, you may find their (her)stories a bit hard to follow as the narrative’s antagonist, although the same person, their gender may change from sentence to sentence.  It’s wonderful.

In regards to language and the general idea that there is nothing we can do about the unfairness of so much around us.  Bollocks**.  Change starts with us, knowing that we won’t win every conflict or disagreement, at least we can make our protest known.

So, to herald the beginning of Eureka’s governing by a council of “learned women” this blogger will hereby use “herstory” *right click, add to dictionary* in place of “history” until that time when again a male takes back a seat.

* (I’m not going to fight that battle too, let men be a part of women and visa versa – maybe change the masculine to menw0)

** *Googles “bollocks”* Dammit!  The anglo-phile in me loves this word.  I reserve the right to be hypocritical on this and could arugue it is an epithet.


Are you sure this isn’t really about pandering to women?

Only 5 to 10%.

I used to say local elections gave +5 to +10% to Democrats.  Turns off I was way off.  Maybe I should also be pandering a greater percentage.  But my gut tells me (read:  I don’t have any data to back this up – outside of a local 2014 sweep in contested people elections in Eureka) a woman candidate alone earns at  least 5 % in a HumCo election.  This percentage will change with geography in HumCo, but for Eureka, a generic female candidate vs a generic male candidate – I’d say goes in with a 5 to  10 point advantage.

This, btw is a good thing.

 What the heck?  How much does a generic Democratic candidate earn statewide?

Turns out if you removed the generally known quantities of Huffman and Brown who both out distanced this spread, in a nationally Republican sweep year, statewide Democrats,whom a political junkie like me couldn’t tell you exactly why one should vote for this or that candidate for this or that position, won by an average of 25% ±2%.

 Figure 1:  Down-ballot Statewide Results from the Latest Unofficial Humboldt County Elections OfficeDemocratic Advantage in Humboldt

Let that sink in.

For a minute.


Holy ____ (heck).

What this means is Democrats have won the Humboldt narrative, this explains why even KINS leaves the tough talk to Rob Arkley and the other 90% of the national talkers.  This is why local Republicans will not slime who they support by supporting them openly.

What we in Humboldt support are Democratic principles and values, overwhelmingly.  Obviously that seems great statewide, it’s not, because what it means is the Republicans have collapsed.  It’s gratifying that people understand this, but it’s dangerous for democracy.  Locally, what it means is we will continue to have to define the candidates as Republicans and conservatives who know the score will do their best to leverage our politics, our language and our narratives to make themselves out to be the “moderates” wedging themselves, along with their base, and despite their bases’ rejected policies, as far as they can to the left/liberal/progressive/blue majority.

In Eureka, this last election it failed in all but one race – Measure R.  Our next challenge is to win that narrative.  It’s a narrative that’s about reality, and it’s a narrative we have to get across.  Otherwise, we lose the middle and working class the Democratic party is about a) supporting or b) getting those even worse off into, (note to mention c) making sure those not in it share it’s freedom from want and fear, and d) doing all of this sustainably. )


3 thoughts on “Ugh. Our Sexist Language. … ?

  1. Anonymously says:

    “Our next challenge is to win that narrative.”

    No one needed to be sold on an increase in the minimum wage, that was clear in the last election. It failed here, among other reasons, because it wasn’t universally applied.

    1. I look forward to it’s universal application and count me on board as a supporter. We know who the other supporters will be right? Matthew Owen, Charlie Bean, Chamber of Commerce, John Fullerton, and so many others.

      1. Anonymously says:

        ” We know who the other supporters will be right?”

        Um, ‘Right’. Fullerton’s plan was especially genius, reminiscent as it was of so many indentured servitude statutes in effect in, say, 1720. The others remind me of Lou Gottlieb (Limeliters*) describing Westerns: There’s no such thing as a *bad* cowpoke, only a *sick* one.

        [Gunslinger: ]

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