Saying "People With a Cervix" Literally Kills Women (Especially Low-Income, English Learning, and Less Educated Women)
I received a highly offensive reminder from Kaiser Permanente recently: "People with a cervix should receive a screening for cervical cancer every three years."
Setting aside the fact that I am not comfortable receiving care from a medical team that thinks "woman" is a dirty word and would prefer to refer to me as body parts and vaginal discharges, this reminder made me angry because exclusive, woman-erasing language like this literally kills women, harming the most marginalized women the most.
Here's the thing about female anatomy: it's complicated, and largely internal. Last summer, I read The Vagina Bible: The Vulva and the Vagina: Separating the Myth from the Medicine, by Jen Gunter, whom I've long admired for her scientific- and evidene-based debunking of ridiculous health psuedoscience.
What surprised me most about this book wasn't any particular fact I learned -- it was how much seemingly-basic information Dr. Gunter needed to cover before she could even begin talking about medicine. She explained that most women know very little about vaginas -- many don't realize they pee and menstruate out of different holes, or that there's no connection between the rectum and the vagina. Many don't understand basic facts about menstruation, pregnancy, or contraception.
Many don't even know what a cervix is.
Some women will go in for a pap smear even when they no longer have a cervix.
Point is, many women have a very limited understanding of their anatomy.
They know that they are women, and therefore have female anatomy. The rest, they leave up to the doctors.
So then the doctors send out a reminder saying, "People with a cervix should receive cervical cancer screenings."
If I don't know what a cervix is, how would I know whether I am a person with a cervix?
This woman-erasing language is meant to be "inclusive," because a tiny percentage of males identify as women, but obviously since they're male, they don't need female health screenings, and some females identify as men, but they are female and therefore do need female health screenings.
But in the course of "including" that tiny minority of people, Kaiser has excluded women.
In particular, women who are less educated, who did not receive proper sex education, or who are learning English. These women will disproportionately be excluded by woman-erasing language, and many will literally die of a preventable cancer as a result.
If the goal is to be inclusive, then why erase women? That isn't inclusive at all. If you want to be inclusive, shouldn't you say, "Women and people with a cervix," which would include transmen and women?
Especially considering that, objectively, it is better to risk possibly maybe potentially offending a transman than it is to risk killing women? (Though, honestly, I see no reason why a transman should be offended by the phrase, "Women and people with a cervix." How is this not inclusive?)
Or is the problem not about females at all? Is the problem about males?
Do males object to medical literature about female health care that calls women women?
Do males think they get to control the language women use to talk about their bodies, themselves, and their relationships?
I like to give people the benefit of a doubt, so I'm going to go with no. That would reek of male entitlement at a scale I cannot imagine.
This is obviously a silly, accidental oversight on the part of Kaiser. They were trying to do a nice thing, but they made a mistake, and I'm sure they're going to correct it.
Either that, or they're going to have literal blood on their hands (if they don't already). Hopefully women's health and lives and safety matter at least as much to Kaiser as male feelings.
3/18/2022 04:10:30 pm
I couldn’t agree more. Not only is the language elitist and exclusionary to anyone who has trouble understanding the new jargon of the day, it seeks to divide women and prevent them from recognizing their rights as a class. Who’s to know that the people with the cervixes are the people who get pregnant, are the people who get raped, are the people who are paid less? A word exists for these people - it’s women. You should complain to Kaiser if you haven’t already.
4/8/2022 05:35:32 am
Maybe try being a little less haughty and patronising -and listening to the other side -and you might last longer on Quora.
4/12/2022 02:20:08 pm
Bro, I'm not haughty and patronizing. I'm just right.
4/14/2022 12:31:27 am
Lol, being right (even if you were) wouldn't stop you being haughty and patronising! They're not mutually exclusive!
4/25/2022 06:56:50 am
Lol I got banned from Quora for not using my name. Even after I changed my profile to include it, they still didn't let me answer any questions.
4/29/2022 11:29:33 am
4/25/2022 07:10:12 am
I'm glad to see you haven't become part of the Borg like so many on the left leaning side have these days, Eva. This is all just narcissism and crybully behavior, plain and simple.
4/29/2022 11:37:33 am
The anti-woman trans movement is the greatest example in my lifetime (and, really, that I can even think of) of mass brainwashing. It is truly amazing to see how many people are willing to deny what is plainly true and obvious and right in front of their eyes. I think a lot of the "support"/compliance they get is not from people who believe their obvious nonsense, but from spineless cowards who are afraid of getting canceled for saying biology is real.
4/29/2022 10:14:25 pm
It's a multi-pronged indoctrination that includes not just radical trans ideology but also things like DEI and CRT. I'm glad I grew up being taught the importance of critical thinking to the point where I can see through this fake science and fake history. The whole point is not just to divide but for those pushing it to take advantage of that division to grab power. The thing that made it clear to me that DEI is a scam is the fact that the most important thing about DEI is always that you need to keep paying these "experts" not just to consult but then to implement their proposed "solutions". It's a never-ending hustle with no accountability whatsoever. Don't even get me started on frauds like Robin DiAngelo, for example. The woman projected her own ignorance and racial bias onto all white people and continues to make millions acting like a white savior while deliberately pushing divisive rhetoric that is completely anti finding a solution because a solution means she's no longer needed.
4/29/2022 10:20:22 pm
*belong in those female spaces.
7/31/2022 02:12:41 am
What about those of us born with both parts? I mean, cervical cancer still affects us lol.
7/31/2022 10:41:39 am
It is not the shocker you think it is that some people have DSDs. That doesn't mean women need to be dehumanized and literally killed by their care teams.
5/2/2022 06:37:17 pm
Smells like transphobes in here.
5/2/2022 07:38:01 pm
Awww! You poor, confused little sweetie! Who brainwashed you into thinking "biology is real" is transphobic?
5/2/2022 08:17:49 pm
Who brainwashed you into thinking equality was a zero sum game?
5/9/2022 07:34:20 am
It's cool that you know fancy big boy words like "zero sum game," but it would be even cooler if you used the correctly instead of in a way that proves you don't actually understand what they mean.
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Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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