ACTION: Demand that Media Outlets Report on Healthline’s Use of the Medically Inaccurate Terms “front hole” and “internal genitalia” Instead of Vagina

The Issue

Healthline, a major mainstream source of information and resources on health and healthcare, recently announced that it will use the ridiculous and insulting labels “front hole” and “internal genitalia” when discussing medical issues pertaining to vaginas. This is outrageous, as is the fact that this is not being reported in any left-leaning media outlets. (This follows on La Leche League’s asinine use of the term “chestfeed” in lieu of breastfeed, and Doula Trainings International’s absurd insistence that “not everyone who gives birth is a woman”).

Women have vaginas (as opposed to penises), not “front holes” or “internal genitalia.” In response to backlash, Healthline’s editorial team issued a statement denying that it is replacing the word vagina, but it states that it will retain the words “front hole” and “internal genitalia.” This obtuse use of medically inaccurate words is still insulting to women.

What You Can Do

Email major left-leaning media outlets and tell them to report on this ridiculous and insulting use of inaccurate language by a major mainstream health resource page. Copy Healthline (script below).

Email Script

Dear Left-leaning Media Outlets,

Healthline, a major mainstream source of information and resources on health and healthcare, recently announced their decision to use the ridiculous and insulting labels “front hole” and “internal genitalia” when discussing medical issues pertaining to vaginas. This is outrageous, as is the fact that this is not being reported in any left-leaning media outlets. This follows on La Leche League’s asinine use of the term “chestfeed” in lieu of breastfeed, Doula Trainings International’s absurd insistence that “not everyone who gives birth is a woman,” Planned Parenthood’s sex education guidelines stating “Your genitals don’t make you a boy or a girl,” and The Diva Cup’s use of “menstruators” to mean women and girls.

Women have vaginas (as opposed to penises) not “front holes” or “internal genitalia.” I know that Healthline issued a statement denying that it is replacing the word vagina completely, but it states that it will retain the words “front hole” and “internal genitalia.” This obtuse use of medically inaccurate words is insulting to women and continues millennia of social shaming of women and girls for their specific biology.

Further, when you go to Healthline’s main page, the site invites you to sign up for its newsletter, including a newsletter on “Women’s Wellness.” How on earth is Healthline to be trusted to distribute accurate information on women’s wellness when it is using these utterly ridiculous and medically inaccurate terms for women’s genitalia? I also noted, while viewing Healthline’s “About” page, that exactly one out of its 15 medical reviewers has a medical degree (the medical reviewer for the “front hole” and “internal genitalia” announcement does not).

Why are you not reporting on this?

Your corporate ties appear to make you unwilling to report important news. I also know that Planned Parenthood is funded in part by lobbyists who advance “gender identity” ideology and that Healthline is funded in part by the same equity firms helping to institutionalize the same ideology. How do your financial affiliations affect your unwillingness to cover any voices that are critical of this issue?

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees you and your readers the right to free speech and freedom of the press. Further, you are held to standard of journalistic integrity. According to the Society of Professional Journalists, ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair, and thorough. Accordingly, journalists are obligated to:

  • Seek truth and report it;
  • Minimize harm;
  • Act independently; and
  • Be accountable and transparent.

By choosing not to cover this obvious refusal of Healthline to share clear and scientific resources with its readership, you are utterly failing to hold yourself to these standards.

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME]

Targets

Copy and paste this email list:

guardian.readers@theguardian.com, USinfo@theguardian.com, mcgrory@globe.com, readers@washpost.com, acooper@sfchronicle.com,  dbaquet@nytimes.com, cosmo.mail@hearst.co.uk, evening@cbsnews.com, NBCNewsMediaRelations@nbcuni.com, readers@washpost.com, Rachel@msnbc.com, betsy.reed@theintercept.com, submissions@truthdig.com, info@truthout.org, counterpunch@counterpunch.org, queries@cjr.org, letters@harpers.org, hrwpress@hrw.org, scoop@motherjones.com, mail@newleftreview.org, comments@newstatesman.co.uk, support@salon.com, slateoffice@slate.com, newsdesk@independent.co.uk, Stephanie.ebbert@globe.com, editorialsubmissions@nymag.com, comments@nymag.com, outreach@democracynow.org, stories@democracynow.org, nermeen@democracynow.org, mike@democracynow.org, producers@democracynow.org, amy@democracynow.org, metro@sfchronicle.com, Charlotte.greensit@theintercept.com, jeffrey_goldberg@theatlantic.com, swati@theatlantic.com, sgaiser@sfexaminer.com, swilliams@abqjournal.com, dharris@azcapitaltimes.com, webteam@postandcourier.com

Copy Healthline: marketing@healthline.com