It is 2016, and periods are a mess of online identity politics controversy. When referring to the group of people who engage in the act menstruation, those on the left have to be very careful, lest they suffer the consequences. Like when the #IfMenHadPeriods hashtag went trending and some of its tweeters got labelled transphobes for “erasing the experiences” of trans men who do in fact have periods.
But when Planned Parenthood tried to toe this line, they too fell victim to petty e-drama.
In a tweet celebrating the end of New York’s tampon tax they referred to those affected by the change “menstruators,” presumably to be more inclusive.
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) September 2, 2016
An online slapfight quickly erupted in the comments between those who felt the term was dehumanizing vs. those who felt it was necessary to include trans men.
— Ana Mardoll (@AnaMardoll) September 4, 2016
Mic’s Marie Solis led the pro-“menstruator” charge.
— Marie Solis (@msolis14) September 3, 2016
This controversy spilled over to the strange world of radical leftist blogs, where an anit-“menstruator” radical feminist writer got her article deleted off the site Rabble for “transphobic language.”
Meghan Murphy wrote an article (deleted from Rabble but accessible here) railing against Planned Parenthood for their terminology and making the bold claim that everyone who has a period also biologically has a “female body.”
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.
This apparently enraged the editors at Rabble, who deleted the article for its transphobia. Murphy and one of the male feminist ally editors at Rabble then proceeded to have a testy exchange on Twitter.
— Michael Stewart (@m_r_stewart) November 4, 2016