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Complete list of 24 ‘harmful’ terms scientists want banned, including ‘feminine’ and ‘invasive’


Now awake researchers want to ban the word WOMAN: Full list of all 24 ‘harmful’ terms that biologists want to delete…

‘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” that are regularly used.

Deemed “offensive,” they’ve instead proposed a revised list of “substitute terms.”

Write in the journal Trends in ecology and evolutionresearchers said efforts to promote “inclusive language” in science are “particularly important to remedy the continued marginalization of many groups.”

So which 24 terms are in the line of fire?

Which 24 terms were considered ‘harmful’?
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 successive 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 misperceptions that are 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

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