When you hear the term ‘geriatric’ your mind instantly thinks of someone much, mulch older, but did you know that women who fall pregnant after 35 are referred to as ‘geriatric mothers’?
The app has teamed up with model Chrissy Teigen to create a new glossary of words to use when speaking of pregnancy and motherhood, after a video went viral on the app last month. In the video, a woman said she felt “inadequate” and that she was “lacking as a woman” because she chose to have her first baby in her mid thirties.
Chrissy shared the video on her (now defunct) Twitter page and wrote: “This poor woman. Why are terms like ‘geriatric mom’ still being used in 2021? There is so much language that is not only offensive, but undermines women!”
Thus, the #RenamingRevolution glossary was born, where linguists and medical professionals have joined forces with Peanut users to create new language to use when speaking to women about motherhood.
“We grow up using language so naturally that we often take it for granted, and we don’t often think about the negative biases built into it, or about how language has deep-rooted power to legitimise (or de-legitimise) real-life experiences,” author and linguist Amanda Montell, one of the experts who worked on the glossary, tells GLAMOUR.
“We tend to think of medical language in particular as inherently objective, but I know from my studies of sex, gender, and language that this is simply not true. Sexism and judgment imbue many medical definitions, and this can perpetuate shame and misunderstanding of our bodies themselves. If we can open up a conversation about language and remind women (and other marginalised genders) that we have the power to change how we want to talk about our bodies, and thus change our very relationships to our bodies, that can be very powerful.”
The glossary, which replaces words like ‘barren’ with reproductive challenges and ‘spontaneous abortion’ with pregnancy loss will be distributed to doctors, clinics and classes as a call-to-action to change the way we speak to pregnant women and new and expectant mothers.
Amanda said the experts wanted to strike a balance of sensitivity, accuracy and concision.
“That’s because not only are terms like ‘incompetent uterus’ and ‘lazy ovary’ emotionally charged (obviously these words have negative meanings outside of a medical context), they’re also unspecific and thus inaccurate,” Amanda continues.
“Language is constantly changing and there are no definitive ‘right’ answers – our relationships to different words are individual and oftentime very emotional – but with our suggested replacements (which are just that, suggestions), we wanted to offer women with a balance of both sensitivity and anatomical accuracy. This is so that they feel both empowered with specific information about their bodies while also feeling cared for as human beings.”
Amanda added that she knew, from her studies of sex, gender and language, that specificity is the best thing when it came to creating the glossary.
“Why say ‘natural birth’ when it’s actually just more specific and accurate to say ‘vaginal birth’ vs. ‘surgical birth’, ‘unmedicated birth’ vs. ‘assisted birth’?,” she explained.
“There is just no reason to include judgment-loaded labels when talking about something as specific as our bodies and as intimate as reproduction, just as there is no reason to, say, call a woman a ‘bitch’ when there is an infinite number of more gender-neutral (and more accurate!) criticisms you could use.”
With this in mind, we list some of our favourite changes, below.
- Instead of ‘geriatric pregnancy’, use 35+ pregnancy.
- Instead of ‘biological clock’, use family planning.
- Instead of ‘hostile uterus’, use uterine lining implantation struggles (ULIS).
- Instead of ‘incompetent cervix’, use early cervical dilation.
- Instead of ‘infertile’, use reproductive struggles.
- Instead of ‘inhospitable womb’, use ‘uterine lining challenges’.
- Instead of ‘lazy ovary’, use early ovarian decrease.
- Instead of ‘shy cervix’, use posterior cervical position.
- Instead of ‘failed pregnancy’, use pregnancy that will not carry to term.
- Instead of ‘habitual aborter’, use recurrent miscarriage.
- Instead of ‘non viable pregnancy’, use pregnancy unable to continue.
- Instead of ‘spontaneous abortion’, use pregnancy loss.
- Instead of ‘vanishing twin’, use miscarried multiple.
- Instead of ‘uneventful pregnancy’, use smooth pregnancy.
- Instead of ‘birth defect’, use birth difference.
- Instead of ‘poor maternal effort’, use pushing challenges.
- Instead of ‘breast is best’, use fed is best.
- Instead of ‘insufficient milk supply’, use low milk supply.
Welp, after reading all of the original terms we can see why new and expectant mums feel as if they aren’t doing something right, with language like ‘lazy’, ‘inhospitable’ and ‘failed’ used. It really is about time this was corrected and Peanut’s glossary is the first step in the right direction.
To read the full glossary, visit peanut-app.io/renaming-revolution-glossary