Dear National Geographic, You Made an Error.

I think you made an error on your most recent cover.

Not because you included folks from across the gender spectrum, but because you seemed to have missed a gender- cis women.

The title on the cover is “Gender Revolution” and I think it’s fantastic to see gender being discussed as a spectrum instead of a binary. As someone who identifies as genderqueer, but assigned female at birth, I was ecstatic to actually see some form of representation. Not only are people of various genders on the cover, but people of various races are also featured. This is a huge step in the right direction.

For once, we were gonna talk about gender outside a binary, and someone who dresses how I dress,  someone who identifies how I identify was gonna get a platform. And then I noticed it. On the far right is the gender designation “male”, but when I pan to the left, there is  no “female”

There is (cis)  male, androgynous, trans male, bi-gender, trans female, intersex non binary, but no “female” of a cis variety. Now I must wonder, why aren’t (cis) women included? Was it a mistake? An intentional slight?

If the cover had been strictly non cis people, it would’ve been perfect. If it had all gender identities, including cis women, it would have been perfect.

But you didn’t do that. And I am concerned.

I am concerned because all too often women are victims of sexual and domestic violence. Victims of poverty and rape culture. Women get lower wages, and aren’t considered for leadership roles.Then there’s the street harassment, the legislation aimed at removing women’s rights and agency.  I also know first hand that because I am read as a woman, that I suffer from misogyny, regardless of how I actually identify. Corrective rape threats and gender slurs are a common experience for me. Likewise, those are common experiences for anyone who identifies as female person or is read as being a female person. When we talk about gender, we also need to talk about the inherent misogyny around the world, across cultures, and the wide range of abuses women face. You made a mistake by leaving cis women out, because by making that choice, you left out the ability to have a larger conversation about misogyny.

This is especially concerning since you opted to include a cis male on the cover. how did men across the gender spectrum come to be the face of your gender revolution, while women across the spectrum are being left out? national-geographic-publishes-special-issue-on-gender-revolution-01

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