Men Do Not Have Periods

If you are a man and you are bleeding from your genitals, please seek medical attention. Men, i.e., males do not have periods. However it appears that Minnesota state representative Sandra Feist, hailing from the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), a woke progressive arm of the of the US Democratic Party (describing itself as “populist-progressive”), is either an ignoramus or pushing misinformation to advance the campaign to include menstrual products in boys bathrooms (which does not depend on changing the definition of “boy,” “man,” or “male”). Feist is an educated person, holding a Bachelor’s of Arts in history and political science from the University of Wisconsin, as well as a Doctor of Jurisprudence from William Mitchell College of Law, so her rhetoric is unlikely to result from ignorance of basic medical science. This is more likely the talking points of a transgressive campaign.

“Male” and “female” are biological sex categories. They exist independent of cultural, historical, and social construction. These categories hold for most animals—and all mammals, of which humans are a species. Males have an XY chromosomal configuration and produce gametes called spermatozoa, with which the female gametes, called ova (egg cells), may be fertilized to produce offspring. Put another way, females, who produce eggs and can bear offspring, are distinguished biologically by the production of gametes that can be fertilized by male gametes. Menstruation, or the estrous cycle, is the process occurring in females of some species of mammals (ten primate species, four bat species, the elephant shrew, and one known species of spiny mouse). Menstruation involves the discharging of blood and other materials from the lining of the uterus. Except during pregnancy, this occurs at intervals of approximately one lunar month from puberty until menopause.

To have a period, one needs these parts, which males do not have:

Created for the National Cancer Institute,

What Feist is saying is medically and scientifically inaccurate and, frankly, potentially dangerous if used as a basis for action. According to Healthline, in the article “Can Men Get Periods?”, if you are a male and “you’re bleeding from your genitals, you should seek medical attention.” The article continues “This isn’t a form of a male period and instead may be a sign of an infection or other condition.” Listen to Healthline: if you are a male and bleeding from your genitals, and this is something you do not intend, then seek medical attention.

You may have noted that Healthline refers to “men” in the headline. The definition of “man” is an “adult human male.” I asked the OpenAI program ChatGPT, which draws on the totality of information produced to this point in order to present the consensus of scientific thought through history (not something to be changed for the sake of cultural and political campaigns), to tell me what a man is and what it returned is what I shared above. However, for some folks, “boys” and “men” are gender categories, categories that are, from a certain ideological point of view, socioculturally and historically variable. According to queer theory, females can identify as boys and men, which means, couched in the slogan “trans men are men,” that a boy or a man can have a period.

Whatever you think of queer theory, the rhetoric here is incredibly reckless even from the standpoint of the theory (as I understand it). Feist is either confused about the standpoint or is engaging in an extreme form of science denialism. Charitably, we might wonder whether she meant to refer to trans boys and trans men not males. But this may be a next-level expression of postmodernism where even the most fundamental ontological categories are reduced to mere social construction. This is where wokeness goes wildly off the rails.

If Feist’s rhetoric is accidental, then she is profoundly ignorant of basic science. If intentional, her rhetoric constitutes science denialism. Both interpretations are troublesome and potentially dangerous to those who don’t understand basic anatomy. Readers may reasonably doubt that young people don’t understand basic reproductive anatomy—especially in the era of mandatory sex education in public schools. I assure you, it’s a problem. And the situation won’t be ameliorated if sex education is further corrupted by woke cultural and political projects.

* * *

At the outset of this blog I stated that Feist’s rhetoric is more likely the talking points of a transgressive campaign. Indeed, you may have noticed that there is a concerted effort to change the way we talk about the world in order to disrupt reality-based and science-based discourse and understanding. For example, dictionaries, captured by the ideologues who are shaping ideas everywhere, are changing the definition of the terms “man” and “woman” by adding to the list of usages (which have never concerned however people may use words here and there but how a population uses words over sustained periods of time), the tautology that a man or a woman is a person who identifies as such. This is like saying that a rectangle is a geometric shape we called a “rectangle,” in addition to or in place of the definition that a rectangle is a geometric shape with four right angles. Only one of those definitions is objective. You may not have noticed, because this is happening of late, that the terms “male” and “female” are also being modified in this tautological manner.

Truth is that which aligns with reality, and science is the best method of achieving this alignment. Scientific truth depends on valid concepts which are abstracted from empirical reality. Ideology is a means of disrupting the truth by building in assumptions indicating an alternative truth when there can be only one. You have no doubt heard speech suggesting not only that this or that person was “assigned male at birth” but that we all are so assigned, as if a doctor arbitrarily assigns individuals a sex rather than merely noting the sex with almost perfect accuracy. The assumption in this claim is that sex is a social construct that the doctor and ultrasound technician impose on infants and fetuses because they’re agents of something called “cisnormativity.” (Are there no woke doctors, nurses, and technicians in obstetrics?) Today, this woke way of talking about sex appears as normative. Folks are saying it without reflection. This is because gender ideology has become hegemonic in the dominant American institutions due to the power of corporate state actors and agents are changing the way we speak and talk about sex. If we are charitable, we might say that this is what causes Feist to make her error.

But the truth about sex is diametrically opposite from the subjectivist claim. In the German Ideology (1846), Marx and Engels, proceeding from a scientific materialist standpoint, address the real conditions of human being independent of ideological mystification. “The premises from which we begin are not arbitrary ones, not dogmas,” they write, “but real premises from which abstraction can only be made in the imagination. They are the real individuals, their activity and the material conditions under which they live, both those which they find already existing and those produced by their activity. These premises can thus be verified in a purely empirical way.” For Marx and Engels “life involves before everything else eating and drinking, a habitation, clothing and many other things. The first historical act is thus the production of the means to satisfy these needs, the production of material life itself.”

Later, Engels, in Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884), based on Lewis Henry Morgan’s Ancient Society (1877) and Marx’s copious notes taken from it, elaborates the thesis: “According to the materialistic conception, the determining factor in history is, in the final instance, the production and reproduction of the immediate essentials of life.” Note that it is not only the production but the reproduction of the essentials of life. Engels thus clarifies that production and reproduction possess a “twofold character.” He explains the twofold character thusly: “On the one side, the production of the means of existence, of articles of food and clothing, dwellings, and of the tools necessary for that production; on the other side, the production of human beings themselves, the propagation of the species.” Propagation of the species—all mammalian species—requires two genotypes: male and female. These are not social constructions but objective reality.

This puts the lie to the claim, made by left and right wingers alike, that queer theory and its ilk are ultimately rooted in Marxism. Queer theory, its method an instantiation of postmodernist epistemology, is a form of idealism, an extreme Hegelianism (which Marxism overthrew). Queer theorists reject scientific materialism by claiming that the categories of science and the scientific method itself are social constructions. Social constructions are in turn projections of power, in the case of queer theory, gender power.

Those unschooled in the materialist conception of history might be fooled by Marx and Engels’ critique of ideology, as to untrained or poked out eyes takes on a superficial appearance to the postmodernist claim that ideas conceal power. To be sure, ideas do conceal power, but, as Marx and Engels write in the German Ideology (and repeat in similar elsewhere), “[t]he ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it.” Unlike the postmodernists, who are the intellectuals of the nihilistic politics of anarchists, Marx and Engels root power in elite control over the means of production. The Marxist critique of ideology proceeds on a scientific basis. To reject the materialist conception leaves the critic with no objective basis upon which to make assertions.

This is why progressives have everywhere taken up the epistemic of the postmodernist. Progressivism dissimulates state corporate power by laundering it through a rhetoric of social justice that replaces class analysis and the politics of class struggle with a myriad of identitarian struggles that serve to fragment the proletarian instead of bringing it together around its common materialist interests. It’s a grand misdirection play. Queer theory, as with other critical theories, is a corporate state project to deny objective reality because it is upon objective reality that an authentic struggle for justice (which needs no modified) must proceed. If a population can be convinced that sex is not objective, among the most fundamental truths in science, then it can be convinced that 2+2=5.

And for all of those inclined to say that insisting on scientific materialism is “transphobic” or “anti-trans,” know that what you are really saying is that biology is bigotry. “Biology is bigotry.” Maybe that can be the new slogan of the movement.

* * *

It looks like it won’t be long before ChatGPT will be unable to generate truthful answers. In its latest note, “Forecasting Potential Misuse of Language Models for Disinformation Campaigns—and How to Reduce the Risk,” OpenAI researchers let its users know that it has “collaborated with Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology and the Stanford Internet Observatory to investigate how large language models might be misused for disinformation purposes. The collaboration included an October 2021 workshop bringing together 30 disinformation researchers, machine learning experts, and policy analysts, and culminated in a co-authored report building on more than a year of research. This report outlines the threats that language models pose to the information environment if used to augment disinformation campaigns and introduces a framework for analyzing potential mitigations.” 

According to OpenAI, “[a]s generative language models improve, they open up new possibilities in fields as diverse as healthcare, law, education and science. But, as with any new technology, it is worth considering how they can be misused. Against the backdrop of recurring online influence operations—covert or deceptive efforts to influence the opinions of a target audience—the paper asks: How might language models change influence operations, and what steps can be taken to mitigate this threat?

Already ChapGPT has declined to write an essay on why exposing children to sexualized performances is harmful to their emotional and psychological health. It will not only decline to write such an essay, but scold you for making an inappropriate request, and even suggest that such exposure is actually good for the children. That opinion cannot possibly be derived from the corpus of knowledge provided to the program but one fed to the program in order to bias the parameters of the frame. This is ironic in light of ChatGPT telling me that it does give opinions, only factual information. Already this has been shown to be demonstrably false. So I am curating here the conversation I had with ChatGPT concerning the two genotypes in the human species. I suspect very soon these will not be the answers provided.

A recent dialogue I had with ChatGPT.

If professors are worried that ChatGPT will be used by students to generate their essays (and we are), now they have to worry about something far worse, namely that ChatGPT will be used to organize disinformation campaigns for the woke agenda. First Wikipedia. Then dictionaries and encyclopedia. Now AI. Goodbye science. Been nice knowing you. Hello Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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