Laurel Duggan, DCNF
The New York Times referred to women as “menstruators” for the first time in a Thursday article on changing attitudes towards feminine hygiene products.
“New menstruators,” the article said in reference to young girls who have recently started their periods, “often turn to a parent for products and advice — now parents can hand over more than a disposable pad or tampon.”
The article avoided using feminine pronouns when noting that “the average menstruator can use thousands of tampons in their lifetime.”
The author did not use the words “woman” or “female” at any point in the article, and the article only says “girls” in reference to two specific girls the NYT interviewed for the piece. Instead, the author says “people” when referring to women experiencing menstruation periods and “young people” to describe girls experiencing menstruation.
“Young menstruators are having a completely different experience in terms of managing their periods with reusables throughout their life,” Michela Bedard, executive director of Period Inc., told the NYT.
The term “menstruator,” mirrors other efforts to describe female-exclusive experiences with gender-neutral words, such as “birthing person,” “chest-feeding,” “pregnant person” and “vagina-owner.”
These new phrases have been popularized by activists and prominent Democrats, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush, culminating in Democrats’ decision to end the use of gendered terms like “father” and “daughter” in government documents.
Democrats began using gendered language again after just nine months in an abortion bill that used the word “women” 14 times to describe the impact of abortion restrictions.
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