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'Don't call us menstruators' petition taken down by Change.org

Women who don't want to be called menstruators created a petition using Change.org to ask that the practice be stopped. Instead, Change.org cancelled the petition.
Amy Eileen Hamm Montreal, QC

By now, the entire world – or at least everyone in the world with a Twitter account – has heard of the controversy superstar author JK Rowling ignited with her criticism of using the word “menstruator” to replace the word “woman”.

Rowling and a worldwide community of gender critical women have taken issue with the trans movement both reducing women to their biological functions, and dismissing that those biological functions are what differentiate women from men. At the same time as the trans activists decry women's belief in their own bodily experience, they use words to reduce them to it.

The Body Shop, a soap and lotion company, has also adopted use of the term "menstruator" to describe females, referring to "girls and menstruators" and the hardships they face as a result of menstruation. Many gender critical women began a hashtag campaign on Twitter to boycott The Body Shop.

We think periods should not limit anyone! This World Menstrual Health Day, we’re here to stand with Plan International's...

Posted by The Body Shop on Thursday, May 28, 2020

It doesn’t take a wizard to figure out why women don’t respond well to being named after a biological function. But that hasn’t stopped several organizations and corporations from doubling down on the descriptor under the guise of inclusion. One woman, Twitter user @jadakix, took to Change.org in response.

The petition, titled “Don’t call us menstruators”, garnered 3,000 signatures in less than three days before Change.org removed the petition for violating the site’s “Community Guidelines”.

After receiving this email from Change.org cancelling her petition, she posted it online so that the community of "menstruators" who would rather be known as women were able to see what they were up against.

She writes "My petition "Don't call us menstruators" which had 3000 signatures in under 3 days has now been REMOVED by @change for 'violating terms + conditions'. They've literally silenced women on a petition about women being silenced."

The email @jadakix received, which she then posted online, stated that Change.org has “to make sure the platform is as safe as possible.”

She reached out to Change.org to find out just what she had done wrong. "I'd love to know what I included which 'violated your community guidelines' @change... Maybe just asking for women to be heard? Is that enough to do the trick?"

However, her questions to find why her petition had been removed was not met with a response. On their community guidelines page, Change.org claims to provide an open platform “committed to free speech.”

They purport to remove content and petitions for the following reasons: incitements to violence; hate speech; content from recognized hate groups; lies; privacy violations; bullying; graphic material; spam; personal information; illegal activity; or anything that harms children.

The author of the petition tweeted that she does not know how her petition violated Change.org’s guidelines.

When The Post Millennial reached out to her for comment, she said she’s “extremely disappointed that women have been silenced on a petition about women being silenced.” This was, in fact, what her petition was about in the first place.

Part of the removed petition read: “It’s not hateful to say that women exist and experience many things because of their sex. It is not transphobic to acknowledge that menstruation and pregnancy are not ‘gender neutral’ experiences.”

We are now at a point where when women ask that the term woman has a basis in biology, they are told that it does not. And when women ask that their female reproductive functions not be used as the name for what they are, they are denied that right as well. Women are told repeatedly by men and organizations that they are not allowed to own their own identity. Women are meant to both accept that their bodies no not define them and that they are defined by their bodies, at the same time, in one breath.

On Facebook, meanwhile, executive director of Change.org in Canada, Jamie Biggar, offered his best guess as to why the petition was removed: “I imagine there were other reasons [not censorship] that it was removed, likely relating to anti-trans language.” In another comment, he said he is “on parental leave” and suggested people contact Change.org’s community support team with their questions.

Telling, though, how Biggar was able to surmise from so few details – that a petition to not call women menstruators was pulled – that the issue was likely related to so-called “anti-trans language.” The mere mention of the word “woman” is clearly considered a dog-whistle for transphobia in certain circles.

JK Rowling is not having it. Women are not having it. We will persist.

The Post Millennial reached out to Jamie Biggar but has not received a response at time of publication.

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Amy Eileen Hamm
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