Medical Journal Sparks Outrage With ‘Bodies With Vaginas’ Cover

by : Emily Brown on : 25 Sep 2021 14:45
Medical Journal Sparks Outrage With 'Bodies With Vaginas' CoverThe Lancet/Alamy

Medical journal The Lancet has been hit with backlash after featuring the phrase ‘bodies with vaginas’ on its cover. 

The peer-reviewed general medical journal announced its new issue on Twitter yesterday, September 24, along with a picture of the cover, which featured a phrase on a white background rather than an image.


The publication has been known to share similar covers in the past, but this week’s issue caught the attention of the internet due to the wording involved in the phrase, which reads, ‘Historically, the anatomy and physiology of bodies with vaginas have been neglected.’

The Lancet cover page (The Lancet/Twitter)The Lancet/Twitter

Using the phrase ‘bodies with vaginas’ in place of the word ‘women’ appears to be an attempt at inclusivity with regards to the non-binary and transgender community, though it is taken from an article in which the writer also uses the word ‘women’ numerous times.

Titled Periods on Display, the article was published on September 1 and reviews an exhibition on the history of menstruation at the Vagina Museum in London.


Professor David Curtis, a retired psychiatrist and honorary professor of genetics at University College London, responded to the release of the article by describing the phrase as ‘absolutely inexcusable language to refer to women and girls’.

In a post on Twitter, he announced that he had asked The Lancet to take him ‘off their list of statistical reviews’, as well as cancel his subscription and cease all contact.

Expressing a similar opinion, GP Dr Madeleine Ní Dhálaigh wrote, ‘You can be inclusive without being insulting and abusive. How dare you dehumanise us with a statement like this?’


Claire Heuchan, an author who describes herself as a ‘Black Radical Feminist’, questioned why The Lancet hadn’t said ‘women and trans men’ if it wanted to be inclusive, adding that the article ‘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’.

In a thread on Twitter, she continued:

Medical misogyny is exists – and refusing to acknowledge women perpetuates it.

Until @TheLancet start writing about “bodies with penises”, dehumanising and neglecting research specific to men, I’m going to call this erasure out for what it is: sexism.


At the time of writing, September 25, the cover of the article remains live on Twitter.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: News, no-article-matching, Non-binary, Now, transgender


The Lancet/Twitter
  1. The Lancet/Twitter