Parents magazine decided to be inclusive in regards to transgender children. However, parents aren’t having it. Much of it may have to do with the editorial decision of how they handled the front cover. It featured a photo of a “super cute” 4-year-old boy. He held a sign that read “Some men have periods, too.” It was followed by, “If I can get it, so can you.” This is where parents got upset, and they haven’t stopped complaining since the magazine was released earlier in the week.
An Instagram post from the magazine includes text from Milly Bhaskara, a mother from Hull, England who is dedicated to showing parents how easy it is to share the concept that women aren’t the only ones who menstruate. The magazine identifies that Bhaskara has 173,000 followers and is known for creating posts on body acceptance and mental health awareness. She wants to make sure that language isn’t so inclusive. She shared that men, women, and non-binary people have periods.
Bhaskara went as far as explaining that her four-year-old could grasp it because he hadn’t had to “unlearn the ingrained societal norm.” Then she said that we should have a “crack at unlearning trans-phobic/misinformed norms.”
There were more than a few people following the Parents’ Instagram page that felt the need to push back.
More people were concerned about the fact that this child was forced to hold a sign. Additionally, parents were talking about leaving the kids out of the situation entirely. Menstrual cycles generally aren’t taught until fifth-grade. Pushing this on a child as young as four years old seemed illogical.
There are many people who are also talking about how it makes “zero biological sense.” Many people also question the science behind gender roles. While people identify that they don’t want to be ignorant, they also acknowledge that men cannot have periods. Scientifically, the only people who can have periods are women – and they have to go through puberty first. A four-year-old isn’t going to have a period, regardless of what gender they identify as. Further, only women are going to have periods. If they identify as a man, that’s fine – but until they change their physical body type, they are still females in terms of sex.
Many people also question the four-year-old belonging to Bhaskara and how he is going to grow up thinking that he is going to get a period. Unless he, at some point, decides to start identifying as a female, he is not going to get a period. There’s no reason to explain these things to a child at this age. Since it isn’t taught in schools until kids start hitting puberty, there’s no reason to be discussing it at four years old. As such, Parents magazine should probably stay out of this situation entirely.
The editors at Parents haven’t released any kind of explanation as to why they felt the need to go into the subject. Transgender issues don’t typically strike until a child has hit puberty – especially considering that most doctors wouldn’t consider issuing puberty blockers to those under the age of 13. Most readers who are getting the Parents magazine are dealing with babies and toddlers. Most have moved on to other publications by the time they are 13.
Menstrual cycles, in general, have been covered by Parents magazine in the past. They haven’t shied away from the topic. They’ve talked about ways to prepare “your daughter” for her first period. The Parents.com website has published a number of articles on how parents can discuss periods with “daughters.” It doesn’t make any concessions for those who have sons who have periods simply because it has always been an issue that is dealt with when a parent has a female child, regardless of how they identify.
Placing a four-year-old on the cover was uncalled for with Parents magazine and they felt the backlash from a significant number of their readers. There were very few parents who came forward in order to defend the magazine, either. It was likely because of choosing a child so young to talk about periods with. Had they put a few different kids, male and female, on the cover, all who were 12 or 13-years-old, it would have likely been more accepted.
Ultimately, the magazine was published in poor taste and parents spoke up to say how they felt about the issue. It’s likely only a matter of time before the editor releases a statement about what their thought process was behind the whole cover.