Does The Huffington Post Know Men Don’t Menstruate?
The Huffington Post published an article Thursday evening implying that men can menstruate.
In the article, which focused on Planned Parenthood’s increasing use of gender-neutral language, author A.J. O’Connell claimed that a new app created by Planned Parenthood is designed to help both men and women track their periods.
“In March, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America launched Spot On, a free period tracker and birth control planner developed by Planned Parenthood’s Digital Products Lab. Like many such apps, it allows users to track their physical symptoms, moods, and birth control use,” O’Connell wrote.
“But what makes Spot On unusual is that it’s aimed at anyone who menstruates — not just women,” she continued.
“The app discusses body symptoms and birth control, which may include ‘sore breasts’ and reminders like ‘take your pill,’ but doesn’t assume that the person with the breasts or the pills is a woman. Instead, it speaks directly to the user as ‘you.’ There are no pink flowers and there is no gendered language,” O’Connell explained.
O’Connell’s explanation of the app closely resembles the one featured on Planned Parenthood’s website: “And unlike other period trackers, Spot On is for any person who gets a period, and doesn’t make assumptions about users’ gender or sexual orientation. So you won’t find every shade of pink or lots of flowers and butterflies in Spot On,” the abortion provider’s website states.
The implication seems to be that a birth control-consuming biological woman who identifies as a man is, in fact, a man who just so happens to menstruate and take birth control to keep from getting pregnant.
Planned Parenthood is embracing transgender inclusivity in other ways, too.
O’Connell turned to Maureen Kelly, vice president of communications at Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, for an explanation of the organization’s efforts to be more inclusive. One way the organization is doing this, Kelly said, is by replacing gendered phrases in educational materials. The phrase “the man becomes erect,” for example, is replaced by “the penis becomes erect.”
In Planned Parenthood clinics, O’Connell wrote, “the patient intake form has changed to reflect the fact that gender is not a binary. Where there were two separate intake forms — one for men and one for women — there is now one that allows clients to describe themselves, write in their gender, and indicate the name they choose to use if it differs from their legal name.”
HuffPo isn’t the first news organization to advance the claim that boys can menstruate.
Just last month, a New York Times article about a high school girl who identifies as a boy included the sentence: “When he had his period, he wondered if he should revert to the girls’ bathroom, because there was no place to throw away his used tampons.”
“But he had started feeling like an intruder in the girls’ bathroom, and the single bathrooms were so far out of the way it was hard to get to class on time,” that article continued. “So he stuck with the boys’ bathroom.”
Earlier this week, prominent feminist Kathleen Sloan argued that the transgender movement is harmful to women, threatens their safety and erases the historical oppression they’ve suffered.