Víctor López Ferrando

Mathematics, programming, politics and science dissemination.

Wandering in Newspeak land

8 November 2020

The other day I came across a piece of news by CNN that got me worried:

I’m 30 and have never had such a screening: might it already be too late? I hope not. But then, I’m not even sure if I have a cervix… so probably I should just visit the doctor anyway and find out.

Unable to resist the urge to search more information online, I found more insight in an article titled Pregnant People Need to Have Cervical Cancer Awareness Too!. The article had now sidetracked me: who are these pregnant people? Could I be one of them too? After reading Should pregnant people not drink coffee? The answer is complicated, I hoped not: I like my coffee strong and simple. As if I needed any more convincing, I also found out that pregnant people may be at higher risk because of COVID:

I still wasn’t sure who these pregnant people were and where they came from, but it seems Amnesty spotted some of them in Ireland a couple of years ago, where they got the right to have abortions.

More recently, Amnesty International reports people in Poland want to retain the right to have abortions. I’ve never been to Poland, so it’s not clear to me whether it’s all people in Poland who can be pregnant. However, the images seem to hint us on how these people may look like: they have long hair, wear lipstick and nail polish.

Also tackling the issue of abortions, the Sands organization in the UK, makes clear they offer comfort both to birthing parents and to non-birthing parents.

In case you were wondering whether birthing parents were linked to pregnant people, the Harvard medical school seems to confirm this point:

Thanks to the FemCare Community Health Initiative, we also know that menstruators are somehow related to pregnant people too.

The fact that one of my parents must have been a birthing one was still sinking in when I got hit: had I lived so many years with a menstruator without ever realizing? It would certainly explain the occasional blood I spotted in the toilet. Anyhow, I’m all in for menstruators’ rights, including the post-COVID world:

Apart from having babies —or theybies— people have all kinds of things these days. Some people go to the extent of having a vulva (Vulva-Havers Get Stage Fright, Too), or as others put it, own one:

Yet, owning a vulva is not the same as, say, owning a Volvo. If you read the article, between the lines you may deduce that people who own a vulva generally also own a vagina, which can’t always be said for Volvo owners. The article Sexual anatomy for people with vaginas takes a more explicit stand on the matter.

All this talk about vaginas is undoubtedly confusing to many of us. Both in a Healthline guide, and in a Human Rights Campaign sex guide, we can find the golf-inspired term "front hole", which makes the subject much more approachable.

Once a birthing parent has had his baby, feeding it becomes one of the greatest concerns. One option that hadn't occurred to me is "chestfeeding". La Leche Leage in the USA informed us all that they support it:

Now, I may be ignorant enough to not know if I have a cervix, but I do know I have a chest. I guess I’m all set then, off to read What It’s Like to Chestfeed: my daughter will be delighted.

After realizing that chestfeeding wasn’t made for me after all, the original angst came back: what if I have cervix cancer? The answer to this question came from an unexpected source: a Vogue article on anal sex. There I found the following drawings:

This made all the pieces fall together. Just like I know I have a chest, I am pretty aware that I have a penis, and apparently that makes me a prostate owner. Not only may I enjoy anal sex more, but that means I’m not a non-prostate owner, and you guessed right: non-prostate owners are the ones who have a cervix.

No cervix cancer for me —though that was close.

At risk of jumping to early conclusions, I would dare say there is a significant overlap between people with a cervix, vulva-havers, people with vaginas, non-prostate owners, menstruators, pregnant people, birthing parents and chestfeeders. Surely we could come up with some handy word to name them, right? We probably should, unless there was something inherently bad in this group of people. If that was the case, it’d be better they remained unnamed.