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Chauvinism, where does the word come from?
The term chauvinisme is French and dates back to the 1830s.
There was a man named Nicolas Chauvin, so the story goes, who was the most loyal soldier in Napoleon's Grande Armée.
It was said that he was born in Rochefort, around 1780, and enlisted at the age of 18.
He served with such dedication that Napoleon himself presented Chauvin with a military award, The Sabre of Honour.
Chauvin was badly wounded in the war but remained a fanatical Bonapartist, even after Napoleon's exile in 1815 and the restoration of the monarchy.
His loud and unfashionable obsession with the good old days of empire made him into an object of mockery and his name was given to a ridiculous character in a popular play of 1831.
The word crossed the Channel and began to be used in English around 1870.
Then, chauvinism meant belligerent patriotism just as it did in France, rather like the English word jingoism.
By the 1930s, its meaning had evolved and referred to a fanatical devotion to any cause and hostility towards outsiders.
It began to be used in journalism and plays, particularly when the unequal position of women in society was being discussed.
But it was in the 1960s and 70s that the use of the word chauvinism really took off amongst feminists.
The term male chauvinist pig became popular, turning up in films and magazines, including Playboy.
Use of the word chauvinist peaked in the 1980s.
Other terms like Sexist and Misogyny have risen in use more recently.
But it is president Trump's slogan, America First, that really harks back to the original meaning of chauvinism - one that the apocryphal Nicolas Chauvin might even recognise, if he ever really existed, that is.
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Chauvinism: Who was the original chauvinist? | BBC Ideas

472 分類 收藏
ayami 發佈於 2019 年 7 月 30 日
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