>And do we need all these new acronyms? I was merely pointing out that some ways of using language are every bit as irritating to some people (like me) as language which aims to remove gender issues is to others (like you).<

This use of the example of electronic acronyms raises the issues of deep and superficial meanings quite well. (Or to reiterate the "a word is a skin of thought" thread yet again - which is now probably a very tattered skin which is sorry it ever mentioned itself in the first place)

I agree that these acronyms are not particularly visually appealing as a word, nor do they trip off the tongue very easily as a contraction, and not everyone knows what they mean. Yet they are useful, and every subsequant post regarding them has defended their existance as a useful creation.

This contrasts sharply with the derision many of the new words which attempt to redefine nouns within an ideology have received. Words such as: chairwoman, wimmin, and herstory, some of which have been termed "an abomination". I find this facinating.

The emotional charge indicates to me that it is the underlying meaning which is offensive, as the words in themselves are not too awful as words. People know what they mean, you can pronounce them without too much difficulty, and don't have to go out of your way to press the caps lock button.

Yet, most posters (and I am resisting the temptation myself) have somehow distanced themselves from condoning them in any way, as if they somehow go "too far". I am wondering what "too far" is, as the inherent look/feel of the word isn't so bad as words go, compared with, say calling computer bits by numbers and acronyms like a 486dx with 16 MB RAM. What both "wimmin" and 486dx with 16 MB RAM have in common is a very recognisable "skin". We instantly know the meanings underlying each.

What is the meaning underlying chairwoman, wimmin and herstory? (I understand the etymology of "history" is not gender specific, I think the word is making a clear statement, however). What meaning makes it so contentious that even educated women avoid using it? How far is "too far", and why?