What could possibly be offensive about this Instagram post?
No nudity. No f-bombs. No pools of blood or up close vag shot. I'll tell you why. It's the word "WOMAN" on the shirt. It celebrates the power of woman. Specifically, the power of women to give birth.
It what social justice warriors call "non-inclusive" language and a form of hate speech
To support women, to serve women and to hear that mighty woman's "roar" is not okay. Suddenly the being a feminist is not left/liberal enough. In fact, the feminists are the new enemies. The LGBTQ has a name for those of us who are into empowering women. It's a slur. In case you didn't know...you are now a "TERF", which stands for TRANS EXCLUSIVE RADICAL FEMINIST. When we tout the power of "woman", we are excluding men who give birth. And asexuals that give birth....all the transgenders, bigenders and all others who don't identify with women but still grow a baby in a uterus and push it out of a vagina. In general we are talking about the biological female who chose to change into a man or other, then chose to use their female biology to have a baby.
For them, the tiny, tiny population of folks are mad that we use the words birthing women, mother and the pronoun "she". They feel hurt, and unsafe. And the Social Justice Warriors are on the warpath to make it "right".
These are the guidelines we as midwives are now supposed to use when referring to our pregnant and birthing population in speech and in writing:
- You can't say birthing or pregnant woman, you have to say pregnant PERSON
- You can't say, laboring woman. It has to be laboring PERSON.
- You can't say mother. You have to say PARENT.
- Maternity Care and Maternal Child Health is also on the chopping block. A suggested alternative is Parental Child Health and Parental Care (??) Again, misleading and confusing and not medically correct or acceptable for publication.
- Any "Women and Children's Hospital" would have to be renamed.
- Then there are the pronouns. You cannot use "She or Her" when writing or speaking about your clientelle, unless speaking directly about a self describing "she/her" client. "THEY is generally the non-binary pronoun of choice that we are supposed to use. However, according to the TSER, The Trans Student Educational Resources, "There are an infinite number of pronouns as new ones emerge in our language." Below is a list of pronouns that are emerging as politically correct alternatives to replace SHE/HER/HERSELF. Instead we may be required to talk as if everyone is plural with the THEY/THEM/THEIR, as if you are speaking to conjoined twins or someone with multiple personality disorder.
So why do you care? Why not just keep using she/he and let them do their own thing and not worry about who will be offended?
1-As midwives, we are sensitive folks and want to take care to nurture and make all of our clients feel comfortable.
2-Because it soon may be illegal to use traditional pronouns and gendered speech. I am not kidding. In Canada a bill was passed where using the non-inclusive pronouns is considered hate speech and thus a hate crime.
Supporters of the bill say that that is not the intention of the law to make using the word "birthing woman" illegal. However, we know that laws have unintended consequences. No one intended the Affordable Health Care Act to drive up insurance premiums to $1500 a month with a $5000 deductibles. But that is exactly what is has done in Alaska. It wasn't the intent. But it was the direct result of the law.
3-On a national and international level, there is a push to change our entire educational and certification processes to gender neutral. Already in the US with Midwives Alliance of North America changed it's Core Competencies to remove any reference to "woman". That is just the start. At the MANA national conference which I attended a few weeks ago, the leadership was clear that the most pressing issue and goals of the organization are diversity and inclusiveness, not the promotion of midwifery.
This cultural shift is not just happening in the US. The Australian College of Midwives wisely pushed back against a bill that would require them to use gender neutral language exclusively. I wish our US midwifery association would follow suit. Instead they are full steam supporting the elimination of all words feminine, foolishly pandering to the well funded LGBTQ lobby, whose representatives were very conspicuously present at our conference.
Below is the article from the Daily Telegraph in Australia about the issue. Below is a screen shot of the original article.
And here below is the revised title that popped up a day later. Interesting, isn't it? The edited title makes the midwives seem like they are being unreasonable as they "rail" against a "code of conduct". No doubt the language police were behind this. Apparently is par for the course in the Social Justice war zone. I am new to this arena, just having been sucked in the last few weeks. I have much to learn but I have seen bullying and intimidation first hand.
Where is this all leading? what does this all mean?
I really have no idea. I am not a political person. I have been totally out of touch with the whole Social Justice scene and just minding my own business serving families on the edge of survival in the Gulf of Alaska. People bust ass for 12-18 hours at a time to make a living and don't have the luxury of feelings hurt by semantics. But now that I am being asked to rewrite my 98 pages of practice protocols and informed consent to remove any reference to women, I am pissed. Now when I speak in public or teach midwifery classes I have to tip toe around pronouns and walk on eggshells. Now, SJWs, you have my attention.
Bottom line, this is what I believe: I should be allowed to refer to a clientelle that carries a baby in a uterus and pushes a baby out of a vagina as a she, a woman and a mother. Don't ask me to remove the ancient divine feminine from birth. Don't ask me to ignore the archetype of mother, the mother that brought each and every one of you into existence. Don't ask me to remove the word "woman" from a profession that means, literally "with woman".