Ad feminam

Ad feminam

[ad fem-uh-nam, -nuhm, ahd]
Ad feminam and Argumentum ad feminam are terms mistakenly coined, due to a misunderstanding of Latin, as the female counterparts to (Argumentum) ad hominem.

The Latin homo refers to all humans; ad hominem is therefore a gender-neutral term (the male-specific term, if it existed, would be ad virum). However, a misconception that the term ad hominem pertains specifically to the male sex has caused the neologism ad feminam to be coined as the supposed female equivalent. The use of ad feminam may thus be considered erroneous or redundant, as in the following contexts:

  • "… in which both or multiple parties … avoid ad hominem and ad feminam judgements …" (Barbara Levy Simon)
  • "Almost any ad hominem (or, in this case, ad feminam) response …" (Marsha M. Linehan)
  • "Ahmad's characteristic method here of reductive ad hominem and ad feminam critique subverts his accompanying claim to Marxist subjectivity..." (Robert Young, "Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction," Oxford:Blackwell, 2001, 413)

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