Of all the PC demands, this is surely the worst
THE whole concept of "trigger warnings" has been well overdone, but before we begin, it is only fair to let readers of this column know what they are in for.
So here we go.
The following paragraphs may contain mentions of body parts that might make less mature readers giggle. It may also contain references to progressive attempts to change the language that should make other readers fume.
Still here? OK, here's the story: Apparently it's not politically correct to say "vagina" anymore.
Rather, according to America's Healthline.com website, to be inclusive one should instead use the term … wait for it … "front hole".
As the website explains in their "LGBTQIA-inclusive safer sex guide", "this is gender-inclusive language that's considerate of the fact that some trans people don't identify with the labels the medical community attaches to their genitals."
Of course it is.
It is also the sort of language that is more appropriate to the preschool playground than it is to one of the largest and most popular medical advice sites in the world.
Now obviously no one of good will wants to set out to offend people who have enough challenges already. And Healthline, after an online furore, later issued a clarification saying that "front hole" was simply "another term" people could use.
But really, even as an "alternative" term, health advice websites and indeed those who claim to wear the mantle of "science" should not go around rewriting the medical dictionary at the behest of activists.
Where this abuse of the language in the name of "inclusion" goes is anyone's guess.
We might one day see all sorts of body parts renamed, complete with government campaigns to make sure we get our see-balls checked regularly and brush our chew-stumps twice a day.
It's only a matter of time before movie ratings warn of full front-hole nudity.
Healthline's shift is part of a broader push by activists to make language - particularly around sex and sexuality - less precise, more juvenile, and subject to change without notice.
Earlier this month the Daily Telegraph reported that sexual consent courses at our top universities now advise students to use terms like "joy stick" and "vajayjay".
Last November, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia came within a hair (or should we say a "head fluff"?) of approving a code of conduct that would have made midwives call their patients not "women" but "persons", again in the name of inclusion.
We are now in uncharted territory. You could get Waleed Aly and Gillian Triggs to rewrite the dictionary and it still wouldn't be woke enough for these people.
For in the service of their revolution, the progressives behind this "inclusion" agenda make the English language, rich in vocabulary and precision, a dull and blunt instrument of the identity politics of the day.
And they all too frequently wind up marginalising women in the process.
But the really depressing and sinister thing is that what is billed as a push for inclusivity is really a drive for control. The result is that people find it hard to know when they are on safe ground, making it more likely that they will simply shut up.
Because if you keep everyday people who want to go through life without being dragged by a Twitter mob uncertain enough about what words, concepts, and facts are allowed to be articulated, you can make them say - and support - anything.
James Morrow is the Daily Telegraph opinion editor.