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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.

  • Thanks for watching! :)

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Chauvinism, where does the word come from?

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B2 US napoleon nicolas playboy original began misogyny

Chauvinism: Who was the original chauvinist? | BBC Ideas

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    ayami posted on 2019/07/30
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