Seminal Pollen

firebus's picture

I was looking for a non-gendered version of the word seminal, but couldn't really find anything. Please leave any suggestions in the comments, but I got sidetracked by something I think is more interesting.

The word seminal comes from "seed". And seeds aren't gendered at all - they contain male and female gametes and have the potential to grow into a full thing.

The reason seminal feels gendered is because of its cognate "semen", or male gametes in solution. And iirc the reason we call male gametes "semen" is because, at one point in western civilization, people didn't know that women contained eggs. They thought that the man planted a fully potential seed into the woman.

So it's more that medieval biology was confused - in a typically sexist way, but it's hard to fault them since female human eggs are so tiny!

Instead of trying to find a non-gendered version of "seminal", we should start a campaign to call it "pollen" instead of semen.


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