Are we women or are we menstruators?

Planned Parenthood, as you may know, is the largest single provider of reproductive health services in the United States. The non-profit defines itself as “leading the reproductive health and rights movement,” and has supported millions and millions of women, over the past century, in accessing pregnancy tests, contraceptives, sex education, STD tests, abortions, and more. But do they know how women’s reproductive systems work?

Recent actions leave us guessing.

On September 2nd, Planned Parenthood tweeted, “Menstruators in New York started to #TweetTheReceipt celebrating the repealed tampon tax — but some are still charged.”

Many were left wondering what a “menstruator” was — previous to this, we’d all simply referred to each other as “women.” But it seems that Planned Parenthood’s social media intern is not the only one confused about the fact that literally only female bodies are capable of menstruating.

Marie Solis, a writer for Mic responded to the immediate push back from women, angered at having been reduced, essentially, to bleeders, by explaining, “Not everyone who menstruates is a woman! @PPact is using ‘menstruators’ to be inclusive.”

Inclusive of whom, you might ask? Solis responds, “‘Menstruators’ is meant to include trans men, for example, who may still menstruate.”

Conundrumy! How is it possible for a human being — trans or not — to menstruate if they do not, in fact, have ovaries and a uterus? Well, hold on to your hats, folks — the answer is: it’s not possible. Every single person who menstruates has a female body. Does this make you feel uncomfortable? Apparently it makes Planned Parenthood uncomfortable, which is odd, as they, of all people, should understand these basic facts about women’s bodies, as experts and educators on the very topic of women’s bodies.

Despite the fact that numerous women were kind enough to remind Planned Parenthood that it was ok to acknowledge that women’s bodies are real things that exist and are different from men’s bodies, the non-profit was back at it again the very next day, tweeting, “Purvi Patel has been released from prison, but people continue to be criminalized for their pregnancy outcomes.”

Who are these “people” who “continue to be criminalized for their pregnancy outcomes,” you might also ask. Has a man ever, in all of history, been criminalized for his pregnancy outcome? The answer, of course, is no. That has literally never happened. Purvi Patel was jailed because she has a female body, and that female body, once pregnant, miscarried. Apparently, punishing women based on the way their pregnancies end is ever-popular in the U.S., as well as in many other countries. This practice has put countless women’s lives in danger and contributes to our ongoing marginalization, but hey, no need to acknowledge this reality as a gendered one. Women’s rights are people’s rights, after all.

Oh wait, that’s not right.

You see, the reason patriarchy exists is because men decided they wanted control over women’s sexual and reproductive capacities. Not people’s sexual and reproductive capacities — women’s. Sexual subordination is a gendered phenomenon, no matter how you identify, and for an organization that exists to advocate on behalf of women — due to their female biology (you know, the thing that placed them, whether or not they chose it or like it, within an oppressed class of people) — to erase that is unconscionable.

A woman is an adult female human — it really is as simple as that. And understanding how that reality is at the root of our ongoing oppression under patriarchy is one thing that is not up for debate.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • melissa

    So i suppose one can’t ever use the word “woman” when referring to our reproductive functions? So abortion is no longer a woman’s rights issue but a people’s rights issues? It can no longer be called a republican “war on woman” for trying to strip away our reproductive rights, but a “war on people”?

    Can you imagine, can you just imagine if they attempted with crap with race? If you couldn’t say “black” anymore when talking about police brutality or hate crimes, if you always had to speak in a color blind language like they demand we do with gender now? And just the biggest irony here is that they accuse us of reducing women to their biology while demanding we call ourselves “Menstruators”. Is this for real?? I can’t with these people…wow….fucking wow…

    • Sally Hansen

      yep. and if we can’t name those who are oppressed, then we can’t name the actual oppressor: men. its like saying we can’t talk about the working class in terms of capitalist exploitation. “Well, who is being exploited under capitalism?”… “oh uh.. people… ya know… just people”. “Well, yes, but which people? And who is doing the exploiting of said people?”… “Well… ya know… just some other people. We don’t really know who they are.” utterly ridiculous.

      • melissa

        lol

      • Morag999

        ‘Well, yes, but which people? And who is doing the exploiting of said people?’

        Them. That’s the all-purpose, inclusive answer. Just “them.” Progress!

    • lk

      The article below is a few years old, but I think its relevant to this discussion..I remember reading the first line of it and just kind of scratching my head: “Women arent the only people who need access to abortions.”

      What?! Since when do human males get pregnant and need abortions?

      Being inclusive should not mean having to deny reality…the only people who have abortions are biological women.

      I don’t understand how denying or ignoring biological facts can help women or girls in any way.

      http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/08/gender-inclusive-discussing-abortion/

      • melissa

        Oh god that article made me want to stick a fork in my eyes. This is insane.”Women” is “problematic” now. There’s no oppressed, no oppressor, just people and their feelings ,feeling everywhere. I can’t imagine men ever putting up with this rubbish. Christ, how did we become such pushovers i wonder. What a fucked up culture, constantly demanding women bend over backwards to please and cater to anyone and everyone while erasing themselves.

        • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

          How people cannot see the misogyny at work here just astounds me.

      • Independent Radical

        Liberals mistakenly think that denying reality constitutes changing it. They think if we just used different language the problem would go away. It’s a result of their idealist (rather than materialist) thinking. They want to deny the real harms and effects of people being indoctrinated into gender and pretend that gender is morally neutral (so long as people get to expressive their “true self”), rather than actually abolish gender.

        • lk

          True, It seems to me that both conservatism and liberalism have a real issues with acknowledging reality and facts.

          Conservatism: There is no such thing as racism or sexism! Upbringing, time, place and etc. dont matter…just work hard and everything will be perfect. Women are naturally submissive and men are naturally dominant!

          Liberalism: Whatever you say or feel is the ultimate truth! Nothing is objective! There is no such thing as facts or right or wrong! Sex! Sex! Choice!

          It sucks that these are the dominant ideologies in American culture.

      • Cassandra

        That’s why there are many of us who call everydayfeminism “everydaymeninism.” It is for the most part completely whacked-out gender/queer theory sickness that’s totally anti-feminist.

    • susannunes

      Try the term “pregnant people.” It is absolutely demeaning and insulting to women. I am so sick of that transgender nonsense I can scream.

  • Yu Hu

    Well, if you want to get technical, not all women menstruate. Post-menopausal women and women who are pregnant don’t menstruate, for example. And if you want to get really specific, only women who have reached that particular time of the month in their menstrual cycle can said to be currently menstruating. Maybe “menstruators” was used instead of “women” to be as specific as possible?

    But really, I think you’re making too big a deal out of that single word being used. You’re seeing undertones in it that just aren’t there.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Not all women are abused by all men, yet we still say ‘male violence against women.’ It’s important to use gendered language when we are describing gendered phenomena.

      • cday881@gmail.com

        Wouldn’t menstruation be more sexed than gendered?

        • Wire Bead

          Yes, sex not gender.

    • Morag999

      Maybe you’re playing dumb?

    • susannunes

      It is very insulting to women. It is as bad as that idiot midwife outfit referring to pregnant women as “pregnant people” or some stupid thing. There is no such thing as a “transman” or a “transwoman.”

      • Morag999

        Also: “chestfeeders.” The word “breast” might cause offence or distress to people who find breasts offensive or distressing.

    • Raquel Rosario Sánchez

      “We” is the word of political movements. Without it, women are cast adrift in a hostile sea, holding our breath against the next Bad Thing.”-DGR Women’s Causus.

      If you follow your own logic, any individual’s lived realities are so specific and intersectional to themselves, that if they were to try to build community with someone in their exact same position, they couldn’t. Boiling down political debates to the least common denominator is how you dismantle a social movement. Feminism is the struggle of understanding that yes, we are not all the same and we don’t go through the same experiences at the same time, but we share a key component with over half of the world’s population: being born female.

      If I were to narrow down my struggle as a woman to whatever is it that I am going through right this second in all my positionalities, I would find nobody to ally myself with. And that’s precisely what patriarchy wants.

    • Sabine

      Not all women menstruate but all “menstruators” are women. This was in no way about being specific regarding women who are pregnant and not menstruating or women who are post-menopausal. This was about not offending people who are in complete denial about the fact that is biological sex . The undertones are explicit and deeply worrying.

    • Wire Bead

      So what you’re saying is that I am a woman only 6 days a month?

    • Cassandra

      Nope. We see exactly what’s there: Erasure and dehumanization of women (adult human females). Being called “menstruators” is beyond offensive. In fact I’m seriously considering never donating to Planned Parenthood again. That they are cow-towing to Gender Identity is a punch in the stomach and misogynist as fuck.

      Also, get your head out of your ass.

    • Alienigena

      But all born women who don’t have a medical condition that causes amenorrhea have menstruated at some point in their lives, so it is a common reference point for them. If you believe that erasing women (born female) and their experience is OK, then no, not a big deal.

    • Melanie

      “But really, I think you’re making too big a deal out of that single word being used”.

      The irony. You can’t even call a trans woman ‘he’ and they go running to the police!

  • Meghan Murphy

    All women have female bodies. A person may choose to identify as transgender, but this does not change either the reality of biology or of socialization. Women are not oppressed under patriarchy because they identify as women, women are oppressed because they are born female.

    • Sabine

      Why is this simple fact SO fucking hard for so many people to understand?????

      • DeColonise

        While it might not fit the narrative completely I think a quote from Upton Sinclair sums up things pretty well

        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

        Even if this might not have so much to do with salary, the overall thought here I think is still in play.

  • Morag999

    Have Tampax and Kotex been accused of TERFiness yet? I ask because I’ve yet to see any of their advertisements include bearded transmen frolicking in a field of daisies or playing a game of tennis in a pair of daring white shorts.

    • Sabine

      Oh my god, you made me laugh out loud Morag!!!! Absolutely!!!!!

  • WTF are we in the middle of “LANGUAGE WARS” or sth?
    …new day new neologism:
    LGB LGBT LGBTQ LGBTQIA (…LGBTQWERTY?)
    transgender
    nonbinary
    genderfluid
    non-men
    menstruators (…sperminators?)

  • Raquel Rosario Sánchez

    It always baffles me how social justice is in a current state of wokeness where *we know* how insulting and problematic the idea that we can all pretend to live in a colorblind society is, yet here we are… pretending that we can gender-neutralize everything that concerns women and girls.

    Could it be because misogyny truly is the most ingrained form of oppression+women are taught to make concessions and put ourselves and our struggles second to everyone else’s+patriarchy has taught us for millennia that there is always *another struggle* that’s more harrowing than women and girls’s struggles and thus we need to accommodate accordingly? I ask it as a question but I already know the answer. The answer is yes and yes and yes.

    This may not make sense to anyone else here but every time I read about these kinds of things, where the material realities of being born with a vulva are erased and disguised under euphemisms, I am reminded of these two pages by the superb Kajsa Ekis Ekman.

    I’ll leave this right here for you all.

    • DeColonise

      Being and being bought is an amazing book.

    • As a disabled woman, I think disability is objectively worse than being female (even though it sometimes feels like it’s the other way around). I’m thinking in terms of access to resources. I say this because there are aspects of being female that can be disabling (pregnancy, nursing, gynecological conditions) but it’s still part time disability, full time stigma, as opposed to full time disability, full time stigma. I doubt that disabled people are better off as a class than women are. That *could* change for some disabled men (which would be interesting to watch), but I don’t think it will happen soon. I can see men trying to make it happen, though.

      You could argue that the two are linked. One is fear of mortality, the other is male fear of not being manly enough (?) = a unique form of male fear of mortality.

      I don’t mean to undermine your point. Misogyny is truly entrenched in ways that are astonishing.

  • Stephanie Cleveland

    Thank you so much for your work Meghan Murphy. I view the term “woman” as an honorific, meaning, I have earned the label as a result of living as a member of that socially subordinated, raped, beaten, murdered, underpaid, prostituted, abducted, downtrodden class of folks, from the day I was born with a vagina. I am okay with being called “female” if that’s necessary now, but “menstruator” feels dehumanizing and insulting. Why are trans people’s feelings being taken into account, but not those of born women/female bodied women? It is because women are still, as we long have been, second class citizens.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Depressing.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thanks Kara!

  • Prank Fembleton

    “Has a man ever, in all of history, been criminalized for his pregnancy outcome? The answer, of course, is no”

    Men have in fact been criminalized for their pregnancy outcomes! It happens all the time when a man murders his pregnant wife or girlfriend or…

    Oh. Right.

  • therealcie

    I don’t in any way want to be one of those people who hates, shuns, or excludes trans men. For me it’s personal. My son’s best friend was a young pre-op trans man who had been raped by his father, had in fact given birth to a child due to these rapes. Sadly, his son, whom he loved in spite of the reason his son came to be, died of anaphylactic shock after being stung by a bee.
    This young man had a chronic health condition which caused him serious pain and after developing bone cancer, he disappeared. He has never been found. Our hearts are broken.
    However, being referred to as a “menstruator” is erasure of women, and it may, in fact, be erasure of trans men who still menstruate. For me, it’s along ths same lines as the misogynistic insult “egg dropper,” which is used by some oh so clever MRA types.
    I can’t imagine that anyone wants to be referred to as a “menstruator.” It’s fucking demeaning to be reduced to a bodily function. It’s demeaning for women. It’s demeaning for pre-op trans men who still menstruate. It’s demeaning for intersexed people who menstruate.
    Perhaps urologists should start referring to all their patients as “urinators.” Or gastroenterologists should refer to their patients as “defecators.”

    • Cassandra

      Do you think radfems hate and shun trans men? That’s a sincere question. I’ve never come across that. I know that lesbians who haven’t been sucked down the gender rabbit hole lament what’s happening because so many trans men are lesbians, but I’ve never heard of them shunning them. I think many of us females, whether lesbian, straight or otherwise, feel betrayed by trans men to some extent because they’re trying to opt in to male privilege (though they never really can), but in this woman-hating, ever more pornified culture is it really any wonder that young women, mostly young lesbians, are trying to escape the social role of woman? Most of what I’ve read and feel myself is that we just feel very sad about it and have compassion for them more than anything.

      As for a large portion of mainstream society hating and shunning trans men, that could very well be true. Nobody likes women who try to escape their prison.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I’ve never heard of this either, tbh.

      • Keniko Duka

        They aren’t “trying to opt in to male privilege”. In fact, a lot of transmen become ever more aware of sexism after transitioning, and continue to challenge men who act that way towards them or towards women. Also, transmen transition for the same reasons that transwomen do, and I’m sure none of them transition to enjoy the lack of male privilege.

        • cocopop133

          I wouldn’t immediately assume transmen don’t enjoy male privilege. From what I’ve encountered, there appears to be joy and relief in finally being included in the boys n men’s club. Equally true, transmen do witness men’s sexism, but not all are in a position to challenge it. It must be a particular torture to hear men speak ill of women and know that female DNA is coursing through your trans body.

          • jdndcus

            They’re not in the boys n men’s club because we know they’re not actually men, and so do they

          • cocopop133

            Some transmen have access. They’ll never get in deep, but, there are those that pass well enough to enter the hallowed halls of the m & b club. I share no illusions about transmen being men, and find it amusing that most high-tail it back to the lesbian community to find romance.

        • Zuzanna Smith

          They are trying to opt out of being seen and treated as female, and no I don’t believe they challenge men who are sexist once they transition, this would mark them as not quite male, which is what actual men really see them as. If they are trying to escape femaleness they aren’t going to stick their necks out, it would not benefit them at all.

          Oh and males transition because they are autogynephiles who think women are identities or essences or feelings that they as males can have because they are mostly sexist pigs who don’t see women as quite human.

        • Dana

          I guarantee you transmen are assumed to have male privilege when they have not been outed in a given group of men. There are short men. Transmen fit right in with that, and they pass more easily because they go through the same voice and hair changes with testosterone that boys do in the process of puberty.

          It’s dangerous for them though. The second some dudebro finds out who they really are, it will all be downhill from there. Acknowledged. But WHILE the dudebros are in the dark? A transman’s going to be taken more seriously than she was before she transitioned, any damn day.

    • genny

      What is this bullshit about men who “still” menstruate? When did a penised person start menstruating?

      • Keniko Duka

        Not every transman has that kind of surgery, and pre-op and pre-t transmen are still men, and still menstruate.

        • Zuzanna Smith

          If they menstruate then they are women, and women are female adult humans.

        • genny

          They’re women.

  • Petronella

    I loved Being and Being Bought so much. I almost cried at parts of it, and the strong, hopeful ending took my breath away. Looking forward to Kajsa’s next book. Word to the wise: you will very likely have to special-order the book, or buy it online, as the “feminism” or “women” sections of bookstores nowadays are 1) tiny and 2) given over to third-wave, trans, and other “queer” publications.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It appears as though the post has now been removed at rabble. Commenter complaints rule, apparently?

  • Sara Marie

    If they don’t have it in stock, you can ask B and N to special order it for you, and they will give you a call/email when it’s in. 🙂

    • Zuzanna Smith

      Will do, I am getting that book:)

  • Kris

    By the logic of planned parenthood referenced in the OP, we could never use a phrase like “female body” or “male body”. We should only ever specifically refer to the individual body parts we mean to reference.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I think the point is that trans men are, indeed, women…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Trans men are female. I don’t believe Zuzana meant that the defining characteristic of “women” was based around whether or not they menstruate. The point is that only women can and do menstruate.

  • Morag999

    ‘And for all the talk on the liberal feminism side about “all women not having exactly identical life experiences means you can’t group them together under a common banner”, than what exactly is the purpose of having the term “woman” AT ALL?’

    This is an excellent question. We should be always aware, looking at the ideological groundwork, which is divorcing woman from the fact of her female biology, and anticipate the direction this is all headed besides the current issues with female bathroom and locker rooms, education, sports, athletics, etc.

    It seems as though the term “woman,” insofar as it means physically female, must be made as offensive, bigoted and “exclusionary” as possible, while, at the same time, held in reserve as metaphysical term. That is, it’s important to keep it available for boys and men to use as an identity. And, way beyond that, there’s a huge effort to change its definition into a mystical feminine essence. An essence which has nothing to do with female sexual/reproductive capacities and, therefore, being a woman has nothing to do with how men exploit and control those capacities.

    It’s a way to maintain male supremacy while slowly disappearing from our language (and laws) direct references to women as the female sex. Poof! Our sex-based oppression is gone even as it continues — maybe worse than ever before, if the virulence of porn, prostitution, sexualization of girls, BDSM, etc. are any indication — in the material world.

    • Wire Bead

      Very well said.

  • Felina Femenina

    Planned Parenthood dehumanized, reduced to bodily functions, and stripped the identity of half the population in order to preserve the unfortunate delusions that a fraction of 1% of the population has chosen to grasp onto. They trampled on women’s dignity to keep content a few men whose complexes and confusion lead them to mascarade as women.

    Re-labeling our identity as “cis” without universal consent is bad enough, but “menstruators” is an extremely offensive and demeaning term for women. That is a sexist slur. It’s outrageous that Planned Parenthood would assume it is ok to call a collective of people “menstruators.” They didn’t have the respect for women to ask how we might feel, and continued to defend their use of this slur after some women told them it was not ok. “We didn’t want to hurt transwomen’s delusions, so we degraded women instead.” I can’t believe there wasn’t a greater outcry from women and the mass media; this is the first I am hearing about the incident. I suppose the fact that this is a liberal organization that serves women frees it from scrutiny and makes it a non-story. Sadly, many women hate women, and will cheer or be passive while women are erased and our basic human liberties and rights eroded for the sake of protecting the feelings of men who think they should be women.

    • Dana

      This here is actually about women who are deluded that they have become men, but yeah.

      • Felina Femenina

        I am aware that Planned Parenthood claims this is about women who think they’ve “transitioned” into men – but I don’t buy it. These women are invisible, marginalized in the trans movement, voices rarely heard. The trans movement is led by and centered around the people that everyone knows are actual men.

        I am convinced that this, as always, is about centering and protecting the feelings of this small pack of highly delusional men who fly off the handle when encountered with the biologically reality that only women menstruate, ovulate, get pregnant, and so on – these unstable men who go into hysterical fits and panic attacks, and threaten suicide or murder when anyone discusses biology or a woman talks about her own anatomy and reprodutive health.

        Planned Parenthood is claiming it’s about protecting women who “transition” to men, because it’s more acceptable than admitting that they’re prioritizing the delusions of unstable men over women, the population they serve.

  • deci

    Megs, in this case “Menstruator” refers to all those who menstruate which of course is not inclusive of all women since many women do NOT menstruate…my wife for example. Only “menstruators” were affected by the tampon tax thus the reason for them to cheer.

    “Has a man ever, in all of history, been criminalized for his pregnancy outcome? The answer, of course, is no. That has literally never happened”…this is such an awesomely great point!! I vehemently agree with the radfem view on abortion. Denying a woman’s right to make her own choice regarding pregnancy is a grave injustice just as denying a woman’s right to choose who she can have sex with and under what circumstances, is a grave injustice.

    • NBBBMO

      When I hit menopause I will still be appalled that tampons have ever been considered a “luxury”. That is not why they chose this word. Based on fear.

    • Dana

      You can bet that not all the women who tweeted about that tampon tax repeal were menstruating. Some would have been postmenopausal. Perhaps a few might have been prepubertal, and happy to be faced with one less expense after puberty. Plus, calling someone a menstruator who is not currently actually going through a period is clunky and inaccurate. I’d bet money I don’t even have that Planned Parenthood didn’t bother polling to check everyone’s physical status. I bet you didn’t check with them either. Imagine that.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I assume it’s happening within the organization itself — is that what you mean? I was kind of joking when I referenced a “social media intern”…

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m sorry. That made me laugh. Apparently I am an 11-year-old boy on the inside.

    • Anon

      🙂

      Seriously, though, that is the logical implication if we follow this idea all the way through.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m just guessing. I really am not sure what’s going on at PP. Though as an outside observer, this phenomenon seems to generally have taken hold over maybe the past couple of years? See MANA, for example: https://radfemrepost.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/open-letter-to-mana/

  • radwonka

    since they are against “carceral feminism”, I guess that theyll just say that johns arent bad and that prisons are too harsh or useless for rapists or something like that

  • Morag999

    Ha! That’s the most “inclusive” term I’ve ever heard!

  • Sadly, PP was back at it again yesterday, tweeting, “Jack shares their abortion story to remind everyone that it’s not only women who need abortion access.”

    I’d say that indicates PP isn’t going to apologise for the “menstrators” story and is just going to press ahead with their erasure of women from women’s health.

    • Cassandra

      Seriously? That is fucking horrible. When will this bullshit crash?

      If males could truly get pregnant there would be no need for Planned Parenthood because abortions, as has been said, would be a sacrament.

    • Dana

      Jack? That’s that female doctor who identified as male and now doesn’t know what she is, right? Or is there another Jack out there similarly confused?

  • Cassandra

    The ACLU in particular is a giant misogynist suppository planted firmly up the patriarchal rectum.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah sorry, my little jokes inside my head don’t always relay 🙂

  • That’s intersectionality. It’s hard to be disabled. It’s harder when you’re female and/or a person of colour.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It’s gone now, but it was the exact same article as the one above, cross-posted. You can email editor@rabble.ca to complain. In this case it is literal censorship, as the post was published, then removed. Thanks for your support — I’m very troubled about the implications of this decision.

    • marv

      I just emailed them to protest. Hope many others will.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thank you, sister!

  • Lucia Lola

    So, I guess we’ll be seeing erectile dysfunction informercials aimed at “erectors”? Right? I could go on, but we all know. This woman will keep roaring, thank you very much.

    • Dana

      Right??? I want to know if those PP locations that treat men for STDs will start calling those patients “ejaculators” now.

      • Lucia Lola

        HA! I’m going to use that, too!

      • Fran Gershwing

        But don’t forget that “ejaculator” has a positive connotation in patriarchy – as the guy who “did it” – while “menstruator” has a negative one – as the person who has that “terrible bleeding every month”.
        We live in a system where even the words we use are “labeled” in agreement with patriarchal values.

  • Dana

    Neither do women who’ve gone through menopause.

    • so menopausal women are men?

      • Felina Femenina

        If science describes a human as one who is rational and walks erect on two legs, does that mean that someone born with extremely limited mental capacity or without legs, or who loses one or the other (legs or ability to reason), is not human? Or, because some humans aren’t able to reason or lack two arms and two legs at birth, does that then mean there’s no such thing as a human being, or that “human” cannot be defined? Now, apply all of this same logic to women – female adult humans – and answer your own silly questions, sir.

    • Ken Burch

      Or women who have had their ovaries removed as a result of cancer or other health conditions.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Why is it ‘offensive’ to understand that those who identify as transwomen are males who have gender dysphoria or simply wish to appear ‘female’? I don’t understand why stating basic facts is seen as offensive?

  • Meghan Murphy

    But we aren’t the misogynist right. We are feminists and leftists, and our arguments are not ‘hate-based’, they are based in science and in an understanding of gender as oppressive.

    • damnI’mbacktherealraptorjesus!

      Forgive me, I am very skeptical of that stance. Has not science provided an abundance of evidence showing that trans people very, very likely have female brains, to put it in simple terms?

      Denying what is convenient for an agenda is not scientific, and forgive me but that seems to be the case here.

      Having said that, I agree with your point. PP is in the wrong here, and given the context, I don’t think there is anything wrong with just using the term ‘women’.

      • Morag999

        “Has not science provided an abundance of evidence showing that trans people very, very likely have female brains, to put it in simple terms?”

        Forgive me, but I think perhaps you mean that there’s an abundance of science fiction out there? And just in time for Halloween!

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uSSlYwVEMSM

      • Woody

        Men dont rape people whose brains theyve magically and correctly identified as FEMALE. They rape women bc our bodies are female

      • Jenna El-Wagaa

        Actually no. It has not proven it. Until someone shows me a research paper written about taking samples of children BEFORE PUBERTY and shows me girl and boy brains are SO different, then the science is junk. Throw a paper my way and I will tell you what is wrong with it. Just FYI up until the 50s, there was “science” that “proved” lobotomies cured depression and mood disorders (they didn’t, and they left victims severely mentally handicapped in many cases). Also, this is the same science that used to be used to justify slavery: “Black people’s brains are so much different than white people’s brains. That’s why THEIR ROLES ARE JUSTIFIED.” Give me a fucking break. This whole movement is going to blow up and it will be a real shame, because the result will be a HUGE backlash against the trans community, and that’s not what we want. But when it comes to having to erase women to accommodate transwomen, and then just make up pseudoscience and a whole “belief system” of fake biology that sets women back 100 years. Sorry but I can’t support that shit, no matter how much I want to show love to the trans community.

  • Lady Dark Helmet

    This is not ONE media mistake, they have recently posted an article about how TERFs are just sooooo evil for daring to care about biological women more than males! They refuse to listen to women who do not accept this trans agenda and keep pushing it, using childish slurs to describe women (and men) who dare to think that biology is more important than feelings. This isn’ t misjudgement, this is their political and social stance.

    Also, trans women might not be oppressors, as you say, but they are the ones who are not even asking, but demanding our acceptance (yes, not all of them, but the ones who are the most vocal and who are in the spotlight at the moment). Most women, even ones from the left whether you believe it or not, don’ t see trans women as women, so that acceptance will only be achieved by submission and silencing, two things that trans activists are actively trying to force on us. Maybe not all trans women are oppressors, but the activists are surely fighting for that title. And since I have yet to hear trans women, as a category, denounce these activists, it’ s pretty obvious that they are fine with their attitude.

  • Meghan Murphy

    If a woman who had body dysmorphia and was anorexic, but thought she was “fat,” would you say that everyone around her had to acknowledge that yes, she is obese, not dangerously thin, because otherwise it ‘denies her reality’?

    If a person told you they were an elephant, would you be obligated to agree, lest you ‘deny their reality’?

    I’m afraid that a person’s beliefs do not dictate reality. Some people believe in God, I do not. I am not going to pretend as though God exists just so that people who do believe in God are not hurt or offended. This is an impractical way to go about life — acknowledge every single individual’s personal feelings and beliefs as inarguable and necessarily congruous with material reality. It’s actually kind of a crazy way to go about life and is also a crazy thing to suggest as rational.

    Also, PP’s tweet was not an accident, though I wish it had been — they have doubled down on this kind of language since.

  • Meghan Murphy

    What is ‘extreme’ about my argument exactly? All I have done is to state basic biological, scientific facts?

    I’m open to dialoging with you about this, for the record and in case it doesn’t come off that way…

    One of the issues is that the feelings and preferences of a few people who identity as trans are being placed above women’s rights. Another is that feminists believe the idea of ‘gender identity’ reinforces harmful stereotypes about men and women and effectively reinforce patriarchy, so that’s why we see it as regressive and dangerous to talk about gender as either something internal/innate or as a superficial choice. Feminists see gender as imposed, not something people are born with.

  • Fran Gershwing

    Great comment! 🙂

  • Meghan Murphy

    1) Uh, yeah they are… That is why they are called “trans” — because they are male but have transitioned to living as a “woman.” You cannot change your biology.

    2) Some trans people suffer from gender dysphoria, others simply choose to identify as trans. This is how gender identity is defined.

    via Jody Wilson-Raybould:

    “Gender identity is a person’s internal or individual experience of their gender. It is a deeply felt experience of being a man, a woman, or being somewhere along the gender spectrum. Gender expression is how a person publicly presents their gender. It is an external or outward presentation through aspects such as dress, hair, makeup, body language, or voice.” http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/10/25/opinion/opinion-bill-c-16-flawed-ways-most-canadians-have-not-considered

    3) I think the article above explains how trans rights come into conflict with women’s rights. Also, as I already explained, the actual IDEA of ‘gender identity’ is deeply anti-feminist, in and of itself.

    4) I don’t understand what this is in response/reference to.

    5) People of colour, women, working class people, and gay people are systemically oppressed, and have been throughout history. Trans people do not share this history. Trans people suffer because of male violence, homophobia, and (sometimes) because they are gender non-conforming. This means that the problem is patriarchy, not ‘transphobia.’

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m not saying that ‘trans identity’ is a delusion, I’m saying that a man who believes he is a woman is delusional.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “You should say “some feminists believe the idea of ‘gender identity’ reinforces harmful stereotypes, as I doubt that the position you take is universal in the movement.”

    No, the position isn’t universal, but anyone who isn’t opposed to the concept of ‘gender identity’ doesn’t actually understand how patriarchy works or what feminism is, therefore I question their commitment to feminism.

    “and why do you believe that “the feelings and preferences of a few people who identify as trans are being placed above women’s rights”? That sets up the idea that trans women and women-from-birth are in some sort of competition and that there isn’t room for both groups in the female gender.”

    “Female” isn’t “gender,” it’s sex. And women did not set up this ‘competition,’ men who identify as trans did.

    “What I’m wondering is if, rather than dialog with me(although I’m glad to engage in that with you)it might be possible for you to be be open to dialog with trans women.”

    I have spoken to transwomen who are allies and who are gender critical. They agree with the feminist position w/r/t to trans.

    “Looking at this from the outside, I’m seeing this as a set of communications problems and issues in group-to-group dynamics that might be solvable and could create an alliance where there is now enmity.”

    I am happy to ally with anyone who shares a commitment to ending patriarchy. But those who support gender and ‘gender identity’, and wish to stomp all over women’s rights do not share my goals, therefore they are not allies. It’s that simple.

    “And it appears that the trans women you have had dealings with are speaking in ways that strike you as disrespectful negating, privileged; that they may feel(as other groups just finding their voice as a community have felt in the past) that they need to speak in a more-agressive, less-deferential way than you find appropriate because they are a group facing both oppression from the cis community in general and suspicion-based rejection from feminists who follow your particular analysis.”

    There is no such thing as a ‘cis’ community, because there is no such thing as ‘cis.’ I do not identify with my own oppression. http://www.feministcurrent.com/2016/09/27/need-braver-feminists-challenge-silencing/

    “In short, I think that it looks to them that you feel nothing towards them but hostility and that they feel nothing from you but denial of their identity, while you may feel that they are asking more than you feel they are entitled to ask while not acknowledging that, in the past, they may have had some privileges over you do to their birth gender and that they need to do something to address that.”

    Considering the hostility directed at feminists, from trans activists, I am kind of appalled that you would accuse women fighting for liberation of ‘hostility.’

    “Is it possible to reframe the dynamic between your wing of feminism and trans women away from total non-acceptance to, perhaps, acceptance in exchange for an agreement on their part to accept some ground rules as to how to relate to women-from-birth and some expectations of what they should be supporting and campaigning for on your behalf?”

    Sure. But then trans activists would need to express opposition to gender and respect for women’s spaces.

    • Ken Burch

      Trans women don’t have to accept being barred from women’s spaces because they are women and they aren’t sexual predators.

      And you can’t abolish gender by saying that the people can only be their genders by birth.

      Also, trans people can’t stop being trans.

      • Meghan Murphy

        No, they aren’t women… They are men who identify as transwomen. And MANY men who identify as trans are, in fact, sexual predators, so how can you say it’s fine for them to be in women’s spaces??

  • Lady Dark Helmet

    1) Yes, trans women are males, otherwise they wouldn’ t need to transition.

    2) It is highly debatable that being trans is not a choice, since now the narrative is that you don’ t even need dysphoria to be trans… but even in that case, we are not talking about the rights they get from becoming trans, but the privileges they retain by being males and being raised as males (which, again, they are, no matter how much you want to deny it) after declaring themselves trans.

    3) The feminist cause and the trans cause are in direct opposition. The T movement is undermining a good number of fights women have fought for in the past decades and that we naively thought were a thing from the past or that were, at least, being discussed: our need for sex segregated spaces, the bullshit that is the female brain theory, our right to talk about biological functions without being censored, our right to have boundaries when it comes to sex, and add to that the never ending fight against sex role stereotypes. That’ s without even taking into consideration what they are doing to gays and lesbians. You definitely need to choose a side, because supporting trans causes means being harmful to women’ s causes (and gays and lesbians’ s). Supporting their right to use sex segregated spaces according to how they identify goes DIRECTLY against our right to use sex segregated spaces according to biology. Supporting their right to use women’ s funds for their medical needs goes DIRECTLY against our right to use those funds for our medical needs.

    4) No, you’ re just saying that you need to replace the word “woman” with the word “menstruator” because the word “woman” might be offensive to people who either hate that term and refuse to use it for themselves (trans men), or the ones who have no right to use it and want to force the ones who do to discard it for their well-being (trans women). You care about them more than the ones who use that term because they have no choice: women “from birth”, as you call us (that’ s the only kind of woman that exists, by the way). Let me tell you, though, that I love that you used that term. Because by using it, you admit that there is a substantial, biological and immutable difference between women from birth (females) and trans women (males). It contraddicts completely your point 1) that they are absolutely not males: yes, they are, you know it, and you need this kind of mental gymnastics to WILLINGLY confuse yourself even further to avoid thinking rationally, because deep down you know T ideology is bullshit as much as we do, but for whatever reason, you can’ t bring yourself to say it out loud like we are doing.

    What part of my comment were you addressing with your 4) point anyway?

    5) Hilarious! There is huge difference between demanding for basic human rights, and demanding for acceptance and validation. You are comparing universal suffrage, the end of slavery and the right to get married… to trans women demanding us to call them “sisters”.

    Gay people and black people have NEVER demanded for acceptance and validation. Validation is something that needs to come from within yourself, if you rely on what other people think of you and treat you, then you are not seeking for validation but attention. As for women, Feminism 101 will teach you that one of the reasons the entire feminist movement was created was to teach women to not be defined by men’ s validation.

    As for acceptance, it’ s something that needs to come from the category you want to be welcome by, and it needs to be their choice without pressures: barging in and forcing people to do it will have the opposite reaction. Gay people, women and black people do not seek validation from heterosexuals, men and white people, and they don’ t care about being accepted in those circles as one of them. Not only it would be ridicoulous because there are obvious reasons why we don’ t belong, but also because what we want is to be ourselves and be treated as people.

    Trans activists demand validation and blind support, they demand that you stop thinking and submit to their ideology. That is what oppressors do. Gay people, women and black people never denied that they were different from heterosexuals, men or white people in one way or another (sexual orientation, biology, skin colour… not that we could, since we are constantly reminded of that): we have never tried to redefine what being heterosexual, white or a man meant. Trans activists, on the other hand, are trying to redefine what being a woman means.

    I’ ll say it again: being a woman means being an adult female human being, and being a female human being means having XX chromosomes. Trans women will NEVER be that.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You need to read the news more… Or follow this site! We’ve shared a number of stories. It happens all the time. The recent trend is to report the abuse/assaults as committed by ‘women.’ Kelly Maloney abused his wife. Many men who identify as trans have abused, exploited, or raped children. What makes you think that men who identify as trans would behave any differently than men who know they are men? http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/judge_criticises_lack_of_specific_treatment_for_women_who_download_child_porn_after_ardleigh_woman_20_is_found_with_1_200_indecent_images_1_4733506http://www.calgarysun.com/2016/09/28/female-molester-facing-strict-release-conditions https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20161021/midtown/child-killer-life-in-prison-myls-dobson-kryzie-king

    • linnet

      It boggles the mind that they are still selling this blatant lie. STILL. And people just eat it up. There isn’t one single case of a trans woman sexually assaulting women or children because they jettison them from the community the moment the crime hits the news. “Oh that’s a cis man that assaulted/groped/raped that woman, because trans women would NEVER…”

      It is a horrific thing, but, you know, these things happen, and kicking it under the rug or denying these crimes helps NOBODY.

  • Helen Staniland
  • 123456789

    Maybe transwomen are neither males nor females?

  • Woody

    Trans women have penises. They are MALES.

  • Gnome

    here is but ONE post compiling violence from TW http://furiousfem.tumblr.com/post/143545786370/hi-do-you-know-of-any-resourcesarticles-about the fact that you’re acting like it never happens and have vanished since being presented with evidence to the contrary speaks volumes.

    please also pay attention to the study that shows that post-surgery TW retain the same level of violence as “cis” men.

  • linnet

    I had to unfollow them on facebook. The only posts they make about natal women have to do with Mike Pence, literally everything else is male-focused. Rubbed me the wrong way a bit

  • Jenna El-Wagaa

    What the FUCK makes you think women CHOOSE to be born women?!!? Just because I don’t want to go through a lifetime of hormones and completely changing my life and the lives of everyone who loves me doesn’t mean I would have CHOSEN to be born a woman! I am SO SICK of this “Cis privilege” BULLSHIT. Like I fucking loved being born a female. Give me a fucking break. And btw, EVERY TIME A TRANS PERSON – OR ANY PERSON – USES THE TERM TERF, YES YOU ARE ACTUALLY WOMEN’S OPPRESSORS. And women are DEFINITELY not the oppressors of trans women. Oh! And yes, trans women ARE MALES. You idiot.

    • Ken Burch

      I don’t think women choose to be born women. cis women don’t choose to be women and trans women don’t choose to be trans. And there’s no reason for the two groups listed there to be enemies.

  • Meghan Murphy

    But only females menstruate.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Dude. Insisting that feminists who understand oppression happens on a class basis are ‘right wing’ isn’t going to convince anyone that you are here in good faith or that you have any idea what you are talking about. You have NO clue what the ‘majority of the feminist movement’ thinks. Clearly. Especially considering that those of us who are challenging ‘gender identity’ *are* the feminist movement.

  • Marcos da Mota

    Okay, but just to remember (not about the article, but about the discussion in the comments) that trans woman are individuals, even if they are wrong and there is no such thing as female and male brain and GID is only socialization. Those trans people pushing those agendas on TV are the minority, because most of them just want to live happy lifes that they cannot in their assigned gender bc of GID and the trans community is the only place that offers them this. It’s like going to crime when you’re poor, because that’s your only option left. If you think all trans woman are man trying to invade female spaces and mistreat woman, check this video: https://youtu.be/OPx2kacSQQ. This one is a guy, but there is also a bunch of fellow woman going through this thing (I didn’t put it here because we’re all talking about trans woman in the discussion) and when they don’t find this comfort in this community, they often live lifes envying the other gender or feeling bad about their bodies. Just like, saying: Y’all not biological woman!!! doesn’t help because they KNOW IT, but the distress of GID is bigger than their knowledge, so they buy into the wrong body theory that is the only that brings them comfort. They “hide” under the wings of those trans activists because they promise everything they need to be happy, not because that’s the right ideology. And while we don’t find any better for them, they’ll keep searching this ideology, because we’re humans and at the end of the day no one will care about the ideology, they’ll care about their own well being (woman, man, feminist, nazist, racist, left, right… everyone) and if that ideology can’t help them simply we cannot bring them to this side and that empowers trans activists who are making all this unnecessary gender revolution and are actually hurting woman.
    (I could write an essay with this comment)
    And just to clear it up, i’m a woman, that’s my surname

  • Meghan Murphy

    Link isn’t working?

  • oneclickboedicea

    Their ‘truth’ is a lie, they are not women

  • oneclickboedicea

    The trans community and its allies are deliberately disrespectful to women to term us bleeders rather than women. How the fuck can you not see that imposing a rebrand on unwilling subjects is nothing more than colonisation.

  • Diana

    Are intersex individuals that have a uterus and an ovary given hormones to induce a period? Individual with Klinefelter syndrome claim to get periods without hormones. From what I understand Intersex is a condition that occurs in males not women. Does anyone have any knowledge in regards to this?