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The Lancet medical journal has been accused of sexism after describing women as “bodies with vaginas” on the cover of its latest edition.

A tweet sharing the front page has provoked a wave of criticism, with academics cancelling their subscriptions and resigning as reviewers, doctors blasting the phrase as “dehumanising” and activists suggesting the term is “unhelpful” for broader debates about inclusivity.

The cover refers to an article, titled ‘Periods on Display’ and published on September 1, which reviews an exhibition on the history of menstruation at the Vagina Museum in London. In the piece, the writer says "women" four times, but also uses the phrase "bodies with vaginas" once.

It is a quote including this latter term that the Lancet's editors chose to use on the front page. “Historically, the anatomy and physiology of bodies with vaginas have been neglected,” it says.

'Absolutely inexcusable language to refer to women and girls' While the language is an attempt at inclusivity it has prompted a furious response, with some academics suggesting they will never work with the journal again.

“Just wrote the Lancet to tell them to take me off their list of statistical reviewers and cancel my subscription and never contact me about anything ever again,” Prof David Curtis, a retired psychiatrist and honorary professor of genetics at University College London, wrote on Twitter.

“Absolutely inexcusable language to refer to women and girls,” he said.

GP Dr Madeleine Ní Dhálaigh added: “You can be inclusive without being insulting and abusive. How dare you dehumanise us with a statement like this?”

Others suggested the journal has double standards, flagging a post on September 20 which referred to the 10 million "men" living with prostate cancer and suggesting they have never seen the term “bodies with penises” used.

“Considering, as the replies highlight, that The Lancet has recently published work on prostates and refer to men, I don’t think the decision to use 'bodies with vaginas' is an attempt at inclusive language,” said Dr Katie Paddock, a lecturer in education psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University.

“The irony of this misstep in an issue on menstrual shame.”

'Well-meaning but unhelpful attempts to be inclusive' The campaign group Women Make Glasgow added that is has logged a formal complaint “about the dehumanising and straight up sexist cover story”, while feminist Claire Heuchan called that the term is “utterly shameful and totally regressive”.

“This framing makes it sound like a coincidence that 'bodies with vaginas' have been neglected by medicine, as if it were not the product of a discrimination and oppression specific to the female sex,” she said on Twitter.

“Medical misogyny... exists - and refusing to acknowledge women perpetuates it. Until [the Lancet starts] writing about 'bodies with penises', dehumanising and neglecting research specific to men, I’m going to call this erasure out for what it is: sexism.”

There are also concerns that the language will undermine, rather than champion, inclusivity.

“There is absolutely a conversation to be had about trans-inclusive language... but 'bodies with vaginas' is not the one, and doesn’t do women, trans men or [assigned female/male at birth] non-binary people any favours,” said Sarah Graham, a freelance health journalist covering medical biases.

“[We] need to be accurate and specific about who and what we’re talking about. If we’re talking about menstruation, vaginas are NOT even the relevant feature, which you’d expect @TheLancet to know,” she wrote on Twitter.

“Honestly feel like these well-meaning but unhelpful attempts to be inclusive just add more fuel to the fire.”

The Lancet has been approached for comment.

https://archive.is/WgrwX

Edit: Can I ask if posts on delusional TIMs on reddit is appropriate here? I'm new here so would really appreciate some guidance! I briefly described it here: https://ovarit.com/o/GenderCritical/43626/lancet-accused-of-sexism-after-calling-women-bodies-with-vaginas/c3d69ac7-3d87-4a96-83e7-3568933471c4#comment-c3d69ac7-3d87-4a96-83e7-3568933471c4

The Lancet medical journal has been accused of sexism after describing women as “bodies with vaginas” on the cover of its latest edition. A tweet sharing the front page has provoked a wave of criticism, with academics cancelling their subscriptions and resigning as reviewers, doctors blasting the phrase as “dehumanising” and activists suggesting the term is “unhelpful” for broader debates about inclusivity. The cover refers to an article, titled ‘Periods on Display’ and published on September 1, which reviews an exhibition on the history of menstruation at the Vagina Museum in London. In the piece, the writer says "women" four times, but also uses the phrase "bodies with vaginas" once. It is a quote including this latter term that the Lancet's editors chose to use on the front page. “Historically, the anatomy and physiology of bodies with vaginas have been neglected,” it says. 'Absolutely inexcusable language to refer to women and girls' While the language is an attempt at inclusivity it has prompted a furious response, with some academics suggesting they will never work with the journal again. “Just wrote the Lancet to tell them to take me off their list of statistical reviewers and cancel my subscription and never contact me about anything ever again,” Prof David Curtis, a retired psychiatrist and honorary professor of genetics at University College London, wrote on Twitter. “Absolutely inexcusable language to refer to women and girls,” he said. GP Dr Madeleine Ní Dhálaigh added: “You can be inclusive without being insulting and abusive. How dare you dehumanise us with a statement like this?” Others suggested the journal has double standards, flagging a post on September 20 which referred to the 10 million "men" living with prostate cancer and suggesting they have never seen the term “bodies with penises” used. “Considering, as the replies highlight, that The Lancet has recently published work on prostates and refer to men, I don’t think the decision to use 'bodies with vaginas' is an attempt at inclusive language,” said Dr Katie Paddock, a lecturer in education psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University. “The irony of this misstep in an issue on menstrual shame.” 'Well-meaning but unhelpful attempts to be inclusive' The campaign group Women Make Glasgow added that is has logged a formal complaint “about the dehumanising and straight up sexist cover story”, while feminist Claire Heuchan called that the term is “utterly shameful and totally regressive”. “This framing makes it sound like a coincidence that 'bodies with vaginas' have been neglected by medicine, as if it were not the product of a discrimination and oppression specific to the female sex,” she said on Twitter. “Medical misogyny... exists - and refusing to acknowledge women perpetuates it. Until [the Lancet starts] writing about 'bodies with penises', dehumanising and neglecting research specific to men, I’m going to call this erasure out for what it is: sexism.” There are also concerns that the language will undermine, rather than champion, inclusivity. “There is absolutely a conversation to be had about trans-inclusive language... but 'bodies with vaginas' is not the one, and doesn’t do women, trans men or [assigned female/male at birth] non-binary people any favours,” said Sarah Graham, a freelance health journalist covering medical biases. “[We] need to be accurate and specific about who and what we’re talking about. If we’re talking about menstruation, vaginas are NOT even the relevant feature, which you’d expect @TheLancet to know,” she wrote on Twitter. “Honestly feel like these well-meaning but unhelpful attempts to be inclusive just add more fuel to the fire.” The Lancet has been approached for comment. https://archive.is/WgrwX Edit: Can I ask if posts on delusional TIMs on reddit is appropriate here? I'm new here so would really appreciate some guidance! I briefly described it here: https://ovarit.com/o/GenderCritical/43626/lancet-accused-of-sexism-after-calling-women-bodies-with-vaginas/c3d69ac7-3d87-4a96-83e7-3568933471c4#comment-c3d69ac7-3d87-4a96-83e7-3568933471c4

91 comments

[–] NewMa 124 points (+124|-0)

Academics arguing against dehumanizing language referring to women?

Is it my birthday already?

[–] IrishTheFrenchie 73 points (+73|-0)

I made this graphic with their MEN and prostate cancer tweet and their BODIES WITH VAGINAS tweet one week apart.

https://twitter.com/frenchie_irish/status/1441751687002218498

[–] ouvalemonde madfem 25 points (+25|-0)

Lmao and someone in the comments has already completely missed the point.

[–] IrishTheFrenchie 12 points (+12|-0)

They must be shadowbanned or something, because I clicked to see the reply and it disappeared. lol

[–] ouvalemonde madfem 16 points (+16|-0) Edited

It's just some weirdo who goes around delivering "hot takes" to GC people, it looks like.

not "erasing women", not all women have vaginas and not everyone with a vagina is a woman. if you can't accept that fact, then congratulations, you're going to be someone's "bigoted grandparent they're embarrassed by" stereotype one day.

[–] yougonnabebleedin 60 points (+60|-0)

I am really interested in why those who are choosing this language for women are the same exact people and organizations who have no problem referring to men as men. Do they really not know what's going on? Certainly this is not a well-meaning attempt at inclusivity. "Bodies with vaginas" is so insanely offensive I don't even know where to begin. I hope everyone involved in making this misogynistic abomination happen lves to regret it for the rest of their lives. I hope it ruins careers.

[–] IrishTheFrenchie 51 points (+51|-0)

It's obvious to me.

TIMs don't want to be reminded they have prostates and aren't actually "women". Using "bodies with prostates" because "some women have prostates" reminds them.

It's literally all about the AGP feels.

[–] mjoll-thelioness 29 points (+29|-0) Edited

I find it especially rich because at least one of their arguments for the use of dehumanizing language is "men and people with vaginas" need the proper healthcare to take care of those vaginas so we must acknowledge them, but by their own logic, some "women" do have prostates. Bodies with prostates exist, so don't you care about these "women" and don't you WANT those stunning and brave trans wimmin to have awareness of their own prostates and receive the proper healthcare, too?

No, because we know it's not really about healthcare to them. If it was, they'd be all over "some women have prostates" and we all know that sure as fuck won't happen anytime soon. Because it's all about erasing women and the AGP feels.

[–] OneStarWolf 23 points (+23|-0)

You are 100% right. This bullshit inclusive language is a one way street for AGP validation and misogyny, nothing more.

We will never hear the words prostate havers or sperminators come out of the mouth of a politician.

[–] Carthimundia 11 points (+11|-0)

Yep, they don’t want to be reminded they have dicks and prostates but at the same time they rage when the word “woman” is used in connection with periods and childbirth because they will never ever experience that. It’s all to accommodate TIMS.

[–] starsstorm 1 points (+1|-0)

Yes, tims absolutely hate being reminded that they share the same biology with men (because they’re men). Even legitimate calls for inclusive language to be used about male issues from non-binary males is ‘transphobic’ according to them.

[–] SueGen 15 points (+15|-0) Edited

These institutions are already so steeped in misogyny that it's like the air they breathe. In a panic to meet the demands of the transcult, they didn't give women a single thought, as usual.

[–] Alexiares 3 points (+3|-0)

I don't think any of these misogynistic institutions are panicking – I think they are gleefully rushing to dehumanize women in print, law, and everyday life while throwing confetti and praising the assholes with spinny skirts who made it all possible.

[–] Jade 12 points (+12|-0)

I would also love to hear AO- Menstruator-C refer to herself as “a body with a vagina” and any man she criticises as a “body with a penis”.

[–] endeverywhere 47 points (+47|-0) Edited

I'm just happy so many are fighting against this. It's not what I expected to see. I think there's more people for women's rights than we see everywhere, but many are afraid to speak out.

The vagina is a part of a biological female. As much as trans people want to deny biology, deep down they know this fact. There's no reason to call us these stupid "inclusive" terms over what we are - women.

While still annoying, why can't they AT LEAST say "biological women" instead of "vagina havers"? Oh right. Because trans people will throw a fit about it rather than accepting reality. It's insane that it's okay to reduce us to our genitalia but the second you do that to a trans person all hell breaks loose. There's so much hypocrisy about everything relating the trans movement. Never seen such an entitled group of people. Oh wait, yes I have. They're called men.

[–] NewMa 22 points (+22|-0)

Every time I see someone say "but I am a biological female" when they're a TiM, I'm like, "wtf do you think those words mean, because you're not. Just like you're not black."

[–] LoneReed 10 points (+10|-0)

I saw one say "we're not aliens, everyone is biological!"

They just find any way to be intentionally obtuse to avoid facing reality or logic

[–] Julie92845 10 points (+10|-0)

Everyone is biological, therefore I am biologically a lion.

[–] endeverywhere 5 points (+5|-0) Edited

Yeah they want to deny every single good point we bring up and find excuses to try and make it not apply to them. What's next? Are they going to say "I don't have a Y chromosome"?

Wish they were aliens, their cohorts might come and take them back (unless they were deported from the planet, of course, which wouldn’t surprise me).

[–] endeverywhere 8 points (+8|-0)

Yeah I saw a really delusional post the other day that I shared where a TIM stated that trans women were biological women. I couldn't even respond to it because I was in denial they were serious.

[–] chiobu [OP] 7 points (+7|-0)

Was it by a mod on the badwomensanatomy sub? It's really ironic that he actually posted literal bad women's anatomy!

do that to a trans person all hell breaks loose

We need to stop using their word "trans" and use "fetishist" -- you can't cross the biological barrier, and those who try to are doing it for a fetish. I just wish "fetishist" weren't so hard to say!

What's the Japanese word for "fetish"? Anime porn freaks love Japanese words so much, maybe we should use that one for them!

Yes, this. There is no such thing as a “trans” person. They’re all fetishists.

[–] Julie92845 10 points (+10|-0)

While still annoying, why can't they AT LEAST say "biological women" instead of "vagina havers"?

They used to say "biological female" until they started insisting they were biologically female too.

[–] endeverywhere 3 points (+3|-0) Edited

What's next? "My penis is a vagina cuz I'm a girl!".. oh god I can 100% see that happening. Fuck... Then what the fuck do we have to distinguish ourselves? All because they refuse to just accept "transwomen" as its own thing. They need to takeover every single term that belongs to us.

[–] bellatrixbells 2 points (+2|-0)

That already happened. Or close. Some TIM was arguing that he had a female brain and that thus his brain treated his penis exactly the way ours treat our vaginas. Whatever that means ?

I received an email from my superwoke congressperson this week defending abortion rights for all “people” multiple times. My representative only mentioned women in the name of the Bill. That is misogyny and erasure; it is NOT progressive.

[–] IronicWolf 30 points (+30|-0)

Bodies with vaginas don’t even have to be human. It could be your dog, cat, dairy cow or sow.

I’ve used the term ‘life support systems for vaginas’ as a term for women ironically before but The Lancet seems to be going for it with a completely straight face.

As some comments point out, the medical profession has been trying for years to get away from ‘the pancreas in bed 3’ talk because it’s reductive and dehumanising but yet here we are in 2021 with men still men and the other half of the population ‘bodies with vaginas’.

[–] BogHag 26 points (+26|-0)

Life support system for a c*nt.

Ladies, feminism is over. We've made it.

[–] MonstrousRegiment 25 points (+25|-0)

Until [the Lancet starts] writing about 'bodies with penises', dehumanising and neglecting research specific to men, I’m going to call this erasure out for what it is: sexism.”

I don't think "bodies with penises" is going to improve matters any.

This whole thing of using "bodies" to refer to human beings makes me sick.

My cats have bodies with penises but they're not men. My friend's cat has a vagina. Not a woman.

It's so JKR isn't it? "If only we had a word... wumbat....???"

Erasing and screwing with language is all Newspeak. It's the hell Orwell warned us of. Say no to Newspeak.

Then if they let you keep "woman," they want to redefine it. NO. "Woman" has a definition already.

The whole world needs to learn the definition of AGP. That's where most people's vocabulary is lacking.

[–] worried19 6 points (+6|-0)

It just makes me think of dead bodies.

"Bodies with vaginas" sounds like they're referring to corpses.

[–] tamingthemind eh/ayyy 16 points (+16|-0)

Another side effect of this type of language just occurred to me. Many TRAs think that a TIM'S genital surgery gives them a Real Vagina (a la: cis [sic] women and transwomen are both types of women; biological vaginas and "neovaginas" are both types of vaginas). Of course everyone here knows that this is horseshit, but let's put that aside. This type of language could literally include males under their own ideology. It's a whole new level of idiocy.

[–] chiobu [OP] 5 points (+5|-0) Edited

Well, a pre-op TIM was ranting about how neovaginas will never compare to a real one and the response was as you would have expected:

Your really over thinking this their is no regular vagina look all of them look different. My vagina is comparable to a cis persons sure it’s not the best looking but no ones vagina is perfect I hate these types of post all it does is scare people. This surgery is definitely worth the risks involved. Everyone’s outcome will be different. It’s still a vagina regardless

I just got in a new relationship with a bi women and she says it looks/feels/smells just like any other vagina.

Many of us are very happy with the functionality, sensitivity, and aesthetics of our Neovaginas. My cis-het husband loves the ways it looks, feels, and tastes. He does not notice a difference between pIV sex with me and with cisgender women. I do not have a gaping hole at my vagina, my labia and vulva are cis-typical in appearance. (And i’m not sending photos). Your language is identical to that TERFs use to attack us. You’re either one of them (note the throw-away account) or have internalized their discourse. Perhaps you should do more research on the variety that exists among cisgender vaginas.

Some of the people who commented had posted about botched surgeries in the past, so the delusion is no another level of madness.

The mod there also talked about how people were reporting the post:

There’s been lots of reports on this post so clearly lots of people unhappy with it being allowed. I left it because it’s not clear to me at this point if it should be allowed or not. Should it be allowed from new accounts or established accounts only? Is it helpful to the individual posting it or to the community itself, or is it harmful?

https://archive.is/zx2Mi

I would make a post but I'm not sure if such content is normally posted here?

They’re big on fanfiction, aren’t they. Suuuuure a man is going down on that surgical wound and finding it just like a vagina l

[–] MsJender 1 points (+1|-0)

Imagining this literally makes me nauseous.

I have had sex with women and I thoroughly enjoyed it. When I think about putting my face anywhere near a neo-vagina I feel like I may retch.

[–] Sylvia_Bern 1 points (+1|-0)

God the poor OP has a micropenis because of being medicated as a child- bloody awful.

[–] zuubat 13 points (+13|-0)

They could have said this:

Medicine has historically neglected women's anatomy and physiology.

But they decided to say this:

Historically, the anatomy and physiology of bodies with vaginas have been neglected.

They're not just straight-up misogynists, they're also appallingly bad writers.

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