The Lancet Calls Women 'Bodies with Vaginas; Editor Responds with a 'Sorry-Not-Sorry' Response

The editor of acclaimed medical journal The Lancet has created a new controversy by describing women as 'bodies with vaginas' on the front page of its latest edition. The journal is receiving a backlash despite a 'confusing' apology from its editor.

Richard Horton
Richard Horton Wikimedia Commons

Misguided Use of the Language

On September 25, Lancet tweeted about an article called 'Periods on display' which said, "Historically, the anatomy and physiology of bodies with vaginas have been neglected." Many users have accused the journal of "sexism" and of "de-humanising" girls and women.

According to a report by Daily Mail, the article, which was published on September 1, examines an exhibition exploring the taboos and history of periods at the Vagina Museum in London.

The medical journal's editor-in-chief Richard Horton has since apologised to readers who were offended.

"In this instance, we have conveyed the impression that we have dehumanised and marginalised women. Those who read The Lancet regularly will understand that this would never have been our intention," Horton said. "I apologise to our readers who were offended by the cover quote and the use of those same words in the review."

Statement from Richard Horton
Statement from Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet Twitter

Horton argued that the title was intended to include all people "who have experienced menstruation" and to assist transgender people that reportedly struggle with healthcare access.

Outrage on Social Media

Many people on social media have asked the editor to resign. Some netizens said that they would cancel their subscription to the journal while others called it a "misguided pursuit of woke points".

Dave Curtis, a retired psychiatrist doing genetics research said, "Only just seen this. How completely awful. Just wrote the Lancet to tell them to take me off their list of statistical reviewers and cancel my subscription and never contact me about anything ever again. Absolutely inexcusable language to refer to women and girls."

One user said, "Had he been trained in #Pakistani madrasa and has #Taliban mullahs as advisers?"

Another said, "So women and girls are now reduced to their body parts by Richard Horton, who advised the UN on women and children's health. Was that when he joined the gender campaign which promotes sterilising children enmasse?"

One comment read, "They let their woke hearts overrule their common sense." Another comment read, "The Lancet has become a medical tabloid."

"I lost all respect for lancet and NEJM when they published lies about HCQ and had to retract. Too political," twitted one user.

"We are in serious trouble if the Lancet is a major medical journal and talks like this," shared another.

"We're not 'offended.' We're angry with you colluding with the political erasure of women. Especially in a context when you are supposed to be rectifying that historic erasure," said Dr. Jane Clare Jones.