The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, referred to women as “bodies with vaginas” on the cover of its latest edition, sparking outrage across the internet.
The Lancet posted a photo of the cover on Friday with an excerpt of an article titled “Periods on display” that read, “Historically, the anatomy and physiology of bodies with vaginas have been neglected.”
The article, published on Sept. 1, covers the ways “silence, shame, and stigma surrounding menstruation are increasingly being challenged from various cultural domains.” It uses the term “bodies with vagina” in the place of the word “women” four times. The author, senior editor Sophia Davis, does occasionally use the term “women” as well as “people who menstruate.”
Our new issue is here! On the cover—'Periods on display' and the cultural movement against menstrual shame and #PeriodPoverty.
— The Lancet (@TheLancet) September 24, 2021
“By Friday evening, it had accumulated fewer than 300 likes and retweets combined – against the 4,600-plus replies and quote-tweets altogether, in a rather impressive ratio, which was also commented upon,” per RT.
Critics believe the move shows the publication’s dedication to politically correct terms rather than to accurate scientific inquiry. They also saw the terminology as dehumanizing.
How is it that "one of the world's leading general medical journals" with a motto of "The best science is a good start" seemingly doesn't know what a woman is?!
"bodies with vaginas" is unscientific and incredibly demeaning.
— Calvin (@calvinrobinson) September 24, 2021
Are we just supposed to accept this? Are we extremist for objecting to women and girls being de-humanised. Are we really just “bodies with vaginas” to medical professionals?
— Susan Dalgety (@DalgetySusan) September 24, 2021
Bodies with vaginas? Oh dear god. You can’t write that and then talk about menstrual shame in the same sentence
— Stephanie deGiorgio (@DrSdeG) September 24, 2021
Honestly can't believe that you can't see what's happening here. You're telling us that you've noticed that for hundreds of years you've neglected and overlooked women…and then…in the same breath..you are unable to name those people you've been ignoring. Why can't you see it?
— Milli Hill (@millihill) September 24, 2021
I wrote a very long (pinned) thread about why people don't trust "the science" any more but I could have just retweeted this for brevity. https://t.co/knQfg5TkS7
— Konstantin Kisin, Clownworld Skeptic (@KonstantinKisin) September 25, 2021
Some have said the term is inclusive to people who identify as transgender.
News 18 wrote that “the problem with Lancet’s description of womxn is, even if they did try to be trans-inclusionary, they involuntarily cut off transpeople from the definition of womxn with their misguided use of the language. Anyone with or without a vagina or identifying genitals assigned to the female sex, can identify as female, irrespective of their genitals.”
“There have been increasing attacks on language surrounding women in Britain from the medical establishment recently,” reports Breitbart. “In February, for example, the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSHU) of the National Health Service (NHS) announced that midwives should use language such as ‘pregnant women and people,’ ‘breastfeeding and chestfeeding,’ ‘mothers and birthing parents’ in order to be more inclusive.”
Women Make Glasgow, a feminist group, wrote, “When women get outraged by being reduced to a vagina, you shrug your shoulders, mutter ‘inclusion’ as you alienate, and do exactly what your weird little quote alluded to, you NEGLECT our criticism and ignore our anger.”
The Lancet was established in 1823, making it one of the world’s oldest medical journals.