Only women have a cervix

It’s time we stopped kowtowing to the genderfluidity ideologues.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Feminism Identity Politics Politics UK USA

Fifty years ago there was a struggle for women’s rights. Today the struggle is for the right to say ‘women’. To see how regressive woke politics is, look no further than its creeping erasure of the w-word. Once upon a time progressives fought for the right of women to enter public life. Today’s pretend progressives fight for the expulsion of even the word woman from public life lest its utterance offend biological women who identify as men, or biological men who think they’re women, etc etc.

An individual with a cervix. That’s what we’re meant to call them now. CNN caused a storm last week when it tweeted advice from the American Cancer Society with the words: ‘Individuals with a cervix are now recommended to start cervical cancers screening at 25 and continue through age 65…’. They mean women. Only women have a cervix. Only women need to go for a cervical-cancer screening. Sure, an infinitesimally small number of these women will self-identify as men in their daily lives, but if they have a cervix, and therefore should attend regular cervical-cancer screenings, then they are women. That’s a matter of fact, whereas their identity as men is merely their own, rather eccentric opinion.

But you can’t say women now, even when promoting the life-saving service of cervical-cancer screening, because you might offend people with cervixes who do not identify as women, and people without cervixes (blokes) who do identify as women. ‘What about us? We’re women but we don’t have cervixes’, these born men are liable to cry, which is bonkers. In more reasoned times, the need to use plain, universal language in the promotion of health services would trump the urge to avoid offending tiny numbers of people who identity as the opposite sex. But we don’t live in reasoned times. We live in an era in which the cult of genderfluidity is increasingly influential and anyone who blasphemes against it can expect to be expelled from polite society.

The most striking thing about the CNN tweet wasn’t the tweet itself but the response to it. When people understandably pushed back against the tweet – asking CNN if it was talking about women – the trans lobby and its supporters in high places went crazy. They loudly justified the erasure of the word woman. It is perfectly proper to say ‘individual with a cervix’ instead of ‘woman’, they said, because using ‘gender-neutral language’ is more ‘inclusive’.

This is patent nonsense. The whole point of this so-called gender-neutral language is to exclude. In this case to exclude the term woman from women’s health services, and, more broadly, to exclude from public life anyone who refuses to genuflect before the ideology of genderfluidity and its Orwellian linguistics. Witness the incessant hounding on campuses and social media of feminists who question the idea that someone with a penis can be a woman. Activists Posie Parker and Venice Allan have got into trouble simply for saying the word woman. Their billboards giving the dictionary definition of woman – ‘adult human female’ – have been taken down, and their t-shirts bearing the same words also cause a storm. It has become a risky business to say ‘woman’ in public.

The ‘individuals with a cervix’ nonsense excludes in another, even worse way. Imagine you’re an immigrant woman in the US whose English isn’t exactly perfect. Or you’re a woman who doesn’t know the names of all the parts of the female reproductive system. It is entirely possible that the phrase ‘individual with a cervix’ will be confusing to these women. ‘Woman’, on the other hand, is plain and universal and true; we all know what it means. To sacrifice such universal words at the altar of genderfluidity and the right of tiny numbers of people never to feel offended is wrong and immoral – especially in matters of health.

The trans lobby’s instinct for exclusion and even punishment of heretics who refuse to speak its language became clear when Labour MP Rosie Duffield supported some of the criticisms of the CNN tweet. Duffield was hounded and harassed, including by Labour-aligned trans activists. She later tweeted: ‘I’m a “transphobe” for knowing that only women have a cervix…?!’ That led to even more demonisation, because, yes, it is now considered ‘transphobic’ to point out the biological truth that only women have a cervix. You couldn’t ask for clearer confirmation that the slur of ‘transphobe’ is increasingly used to silence anyone, especially if it’s a woman, who deviates from the transgender cult and who expresses truths about sex and gender.

It is incredibly important to stand up to all this. The trans ideology – which is backed by almost the entire establishment – is a menace to reason, freedom and even to the socialisation of children. It spreads confusion among younger generations, some of whom engage in sex-change surgeries that are later regretted, and it undermines women’s rights and women’s spaces and seeks to censor any woman who dares to question this process. It is a regressive, censorious and frequently misogynistic movement. Which is why it was so disappointing at the weekend to read that Boris Johnson apparently does not have the stomach for a ‘culture war’ against the trans ideology and has reportedly instructed his equalities minister, Liz Truss, to hold back on her plans to toughen up the process by which someone can change gender.

This looks like cowardice on Johnson’s part. It isn’t those of us criticising the trans worldview who are engaging in a culture war – it’s trans activists and their legion supporters in the cultural, political and educational establishments. They are rewriting language, censoring dissent, demeaning women, and undermining the male / female binary that is the means through which so many of us, especially children, make sense of the world and our place in it. If Boris cannot hold the line on the truth that there is such a thing as men and women, what can he hold the line on? Conceding defeat in the trans wars would represent a dire blow for truth, liberty and women’s rights.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Feminism Identity Politics Politics UK USA


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