O Come All Ye Pedants
O Come All Ye Pedants

Hehehehe. Click bait title.

Illustration for article titled The Feminist Conversion of a Fallacy That Might Shock You

Ad hominem fallacies (errors in logic) are commonly understood online and on most playgrounds. Essentially, they are name calling and we all know not to call names. In the case of this fallacy you must use personal attack to avoid the argument at hand. There are a number of sub-fallacies (if people care, I can break those down) that each have slight variations.

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Ad feminam is a proposed variation that has been floating around since 1963, according to Merriam Webster. But, The Oxford English Dictionary says it dates back to 1857 when W. Chandless wrote “Some places are unsuitable for the real argumentum ad feminam.”

If you like etymology, can edit Wikipedia (you should; it’s fun), know Latin and can deal with statements like “Feminazis fail at English. ‘Ad feminam’, [sic] ‘womyn’, [sic] ‘herstory’? What’s next, ‘fimail’‽” you should get over to the Wikipedia entry and join the conversation.

Illustration for article titled The Feminist Conversion of a Fallacy That Might Shock You

Fun Fact: “Ad feminam is currently in the bottom 30% of lookups on Merriam-Webster.com.”

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Ad hominem fallacies attack the character of the person who makes a claim rather than the claim itself. Ad feminam fallacies discredit the claims because they came from a woman. The quoted Wikipedia passage above is wonderful because it commits an ad feminam fallacy while mocking the need for the word. Irony, you are my one true love.

If you actually speak Latin, you will recognize that ad feminam doesn’t actually need to exist as hominem doesn’t invoke the male gender; ad feminam literally means “to the woman” and ad hominem means “to the person.” But, it is a playful word and people who like words like “herstory” might like to throw it around a little. Be prepared for Latin sticklers and pedants to get huffy and for you to think they should fuck off as far as they can and then fuck off ten feet more.

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Example time!

Ad hominem: I don’t give a fuck what Dick Cheney has to say; he shot a man in the face.

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Ad feminam: Is it that time of the month?

You don’t even have to look carefully to see these ALL OVER KINJA. Please share any that you spot. It’s a personal attack scavenger hunt.

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