Bette Midler has been met with criticism on social media after tweeting about the “erasure” of women in wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
On Sunday (July 3), the actress, singer and comedian appeared to reference the new ruling on abortion laws in a tweet that has been described by many as transphobic.
Her post read: “WOMEN OF THE WORLD! We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even of our name! They don’t call us ‘women’ anymore; they call us ‘birthing people’ or ‘menstruators’, and even ‘people with vaginas’! Don’t let them erase you! Every human on earth owes you!”
“The far right and the far left have found the one thing they can agree on: Women don’t count.”
Midler’s words soon came under fire, receiving over 20,000 replies (at time of writing), with many accusing her of excluding transgender individuals who also need abortion care.
The actress was subsequently described as a “TERF” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) by some, while others threatened to boycott the upcoming Hocus Pocus sequel on Disney+, in which Midler reprises her role as Winifred Sanderson the witch.
WOMEN OF THE WORLD! We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even of our name! They don’t call us “women” anymore; they call us “birthing people” or “menstruators”, and even “people with vaginas”! Don’t let them erase you! Every human on earth owes you!
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) July 4, 2022
Summing up the issue with Midler’s tweet, cosmology author Katie Mack wrote: “The term ‘pregnant people’ includes pregnant women & also people who are pregnant but are not women. It doesn’t in any way erase/deny women; it’s just more inclusive. I am a woman. I have friends who are not women but can get pregnant. Language that includes them doesn’t hurt me.”
On Tuesday (July 5), in an attempt to clarify her comments, Midler shared a New York Times opinion piece by Pamela Paul, which argued that “the far right and the far left have found the one thing they can agree on: Women don’t count.”
Alongside the article, Midler wrote: “PEOPLE OF THE WORLD! My tweet about women was a response to this fascinating and well-written piece in the NYT on July 3rd. There was no intention of anything exclusionary or transphobic in what I said; it wasn’t about that.”
She added: “It was about the same old shit women – ALL WOMEN – have been putting up with since the cavemen. Even then, men got top billing.”
Last week, Midler was heavily praised by her followers after she ironically called for a US ban on viagra, a remark made to mock the logic of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade.