Complete list of all 24 ‘harmful’ terms scientists want banned – including ‘feminine’, ‘survival of the fittest’ and ‘invasive’: here’s what they want to say instead…
‘Female’, ‘invasive’ and ‘survival of the fittest’.
These are just three of the terms that scientists say should now be banned.
In a new battle against “harmful terminology” in science, members of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Language Project – founded by scientists in the US and Canada – have published a list of 24 “harmful terms” in common use.
Deemed “offensive,” they’ve instead proposed a revised list of “substitute terms.”
In the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, researchers write that efforts to “promote inclusive language” in science are “particularly important to redress the ongoing marginalization of many groups.”
So which 24 terms are in the line of fire?
|Harmful term||Context||Replacement term|
|alien / non-native / exotic / invasive||Xenophobic, anti-immigrant and militaristic||Non-endemic species / Newly arrived species / Alien species / Introduced species / Nuisance species|
|blind / double blind / plant blindness||Disability metaphor||Conscience|
|citizen science||Citizen science is harmful to non-citizens who are excluded by that language||Participant Science / Community Science /|
|feminized / masculinized||Feminized means that “feminine” and “masculine” are biological characteristics rather than social constructs||Describe the specific properties|
|Gypsy||Racial slurs were used to incite violence against Roma||‘spongy moth’|
|man Woman||Strongly anthropomorphic / Prejudice towards men or masculine traits||Male or female / Human|
|names after racist/eugenic/settlers||They present problematic figures as noteworthy/someone to remember or celebrate||Use native names / Use local names / Name based on appearance or morphology / Remove names from concepts|
|Survival of the fittest||Eugenics, Ability and Social Darwinism||Natural Selection / Survival Differences|
|Sex||Gender, a social construct, is often confused with sex||Sex|
|Hermaphrodite||Derogatory term used to harm intersex and trans people.||Monoecious/intersex/bi-gametic|
|Indonesian||A discriminatory, racist term used to describe Indigenous peoples||native|
|Man Woman||These terms are used to reinforce socially imposed ideas of a gender binary, emphasizing cis-normative and hetero-normative views||Sperm-producing/egg-producing or XY/XX individual|
|Mother father||These terms perpetuate a non-universal heteronormative and cisnormative view of the upbringing and birth process.||Parent/egg donor/sperm donor|
|Noose||Term associated with anti-black violence and lynching||Lasso|
|Primitive/Advanced||Used derogatorily towards people or human practices, and also scientifically inaccurate, implying an evolutionary hierarchy||Ancestral/derived|
|race||Continues the idea that the human race is a biological rather than a social construct when used to describe non-human subspecies||Population/subspecies/ecotype|
|virgin||A social construction that reinforces heteropatriarchal norms||Unpaired|
|colonization / colonizer||Terms are harmful and triggering for indigenous peoples subjected to colonialism, racism and genocide and the use of the term describes normalization as a natural phenomenon rather than a destructive phenomenon with a human context.||established / early successional species|
|discover / discover||Clears the long-standing, detailed ecological knowledge of indigenous communities involved with local environments and ecosystems before colonialism and western science.||identified / described|
|harem||Perpetuates offensive stereotypes of human cultures, particularly those of the Middle East, and evokes a sexualized human power structure in which women are believed to be subject to men.||mating group/polygny|
|master / master file / master equation / master variable||Perpetuates harmful stereotypes and connotations for the enslavement of people of color and normalizes language associated with slavery and enslaved people.||primary / main document / primary equation or variable|
|Old World / New World||Perpetuates a colonial and Eurocentric view of the world that is offensive to the international community and indigenous peoples who lived in the region and contributed to scientific knowledge before European colonialism.||the relevant location|
|rape||Equates rape with a reproductive strategy rather than a violent and traumatic act, which can lead to dangerous misconceptions that is a natural behavior, and using the term forces survivors to confront it, which is traumatic.||forced copulation|
|slave and/or master / slave-making ants / slavery||Normalizes slavery and colonialism as a natural phenomenon in the wild, which, if harmful to cultures and people of color, is subject to these practices and does not accurately reflect animal behavior.||host and parasite / ‘pirate’ ants / coercion|
In a new battle against ‘harmful terminology’ in science, members of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Language Project – founded by scientists in the US and Canada – have published a list of the ‘top 24 harmful terms’ used in science. are used