Leading medical journal, The Lancet, described women as “bodies with vaginas” on the front page of its latest edition, prompting a barrage of critical responses on social media condemning the publication for misogyny and erasure of women.
The backlash prompted the editor-in-chief of The Lancet, Richard Horton, to issue an apology to readers “who were offended.” Refusing to budge on the impropriety of referring to women as “bodies with vaginas,” Horton chose instead to only address those who took offense to the journal's description of women.
British political commentator Piers Morgan slammed The Lancet for its description of women, stating, “What the hell are you talking about? They’re called WOMEN.”
GB News presenter Andrew Doyle asked, “If I were to ask a rabid misogynist for a synonym for ‘women’, I think ‘bodies with vaginas’ would be at the top of his list.”
Self-described “Black radical feminist” Claire Heuchen, better known as Sister Outrider, stated: “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. Medical misogyny exists - and refusing to acknowledge women perpetuates it.”
Doctor Phil Hammond stated, “Top tip for all bodies with penises. Don’t ever serenade with ‘You’re more than a body with a vagina to me’, no matter what the Lancet advises.”
Following the backlash, Horton told the Daily Telegraph, “I apologise to our readers who were offended by the cover quote and the use of those same words in the review,” according to the Daily Mail.
The article, which was published on September 1, is an exploration of the taboos and history of menstruation at the Vagina Museum in London, and features the word “women,” but occasionally substitutes it with the term “bodies with vaginas.”
A quote from the article was used on the journal’s front page stating, “Historically, the anatomy and physiology of bodies with vaginas have been neglected.”
Efforts to erase women with dehumanizing terms like “bodies with vaginas” is a growing trend in the medical field, and comes months after Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust directed staff members to substitute “mothers” and “breast milk” with “birthing parents” and “human milk,” Rebel News reported in February.
Adding to his non-apology, Horton, who has been the editor-in-chief of The Lancet for over 25 years, stated: “I would like to thank all those who have responded to the words on this week's Lancet cover and understand the strength of feeling it has provoked. The Lancet strives for maximum inclusivity of all people in its vision for advancing health.”
“'In this instance, we have conveyed the impression that we have dehumanised and marginalised women,” he added. “Those who read The Lancet regularly will understand that this would never have been our intention.”
Horton explained that the article was “a compelling call to empower women,” but that the journal intended to “emphasise that transgender health is an important dimension of modern health care, but one that remains neglected.”