“Womxn” or “Womyn”: Campus Feminist Groups Can’t Hold Discriminatory Spelling Anymore
Don’t be surprised to see strange new words appearing in English that seem like products of a teenagers’ imagination products or awkward misprints. “Womyn” or “womxn” – which would you prefer? Actually these “Urban Dictionary children” are meant to replace the familiar “woman” – brrr, that evil word visiting all the English-speaking feminists around the world in their worst nightmares.
Campus feminist groups across the U.S. are increasingly adopting an alternative spelling of the word “woman,” preferring to use such variants as “womxn” and “womyn” instead. One of the reasons for such a bizarre measure is the desire to avoid spelling the word “man” or “men.”
The University of Iowa’s Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC) uses “womxn” in their “Womxn of Color Network.” WRAC’s operations coordinator Simone Fernandes said that the alternative spelling was inspired by the website Everyday Feminism. For anyone “on the outside”, it is a website that provides online “social justice lessons” for those who interested in “learning how to decolonize your feminism, transform white guilt into anti-racist action, or even unlock the wisdom of tarot” and explains the differences between the terms “gay” and “queer.”
“Womxn removes the sequences of m-a-n and/or m-e-n from the term ‘woman/in’ that sheds light on the prejudice, discrimination, and institutional barriers womxn have faced, but to also show that womxn are not a subcategory of men, while providing active resistance to transphobia to include transwomen, trans*femme, and other gender non-conforming womxn,” Fernandes said, adding that, in spite of the new spelling, the word is still pronounced “woman.”
This raises the question of why not change the name of the center itself? Not clear.
The Undergraduate Womxn in Economics Society at the University of California, Davis also opted for the alternative spelling “womxn.” Anya Gibson, an Undergraduate programs supervisor, said that the spelling is meant to “be more inclusive to all students who may identify as women.”
“The spelling signifies that we acknowledge as the many ways in which a person may identify as a woman, beyond biological sex,” Gibson said, stating that the group chose the spelling “womxn” over the alternative “womyn” because the former is “more inclusive of transgender identities.” In contrast to Iowans, the group of California even made up a new pronunciation of the word – “women-x.”
The Womxn of Worth Initiative at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, whose motivation “stems from the strives that womxn have made in the past to declare independence from men,” says that spelling “woman” with an “x” acknowledges the “history of exclusion in many second-wave feminist organizations” and “signals its welcome to all woman-identified individuals, regardless of assigned sex at birth.”
“We chose to use ‘womxn’ instead of ‘womyn’ to promote an inclusive environment for transwomen, who were oftentimes excluded for not being a ‘real’ woman. Thus, the x represents the non-binary, independence of gender identity from assigned sex at birth,” program assistant Kamesha Chalmers said.
Texas State University’s “Womxn of Color” website states that “Womxn is the non-standard spelling of ‘women’ adopted by some feminists in order to avoid the word ending with ‘-men’ in efforts to be more inclusive.”
The University of Richmond’s Connecting Women of Color Conference, meanwhile, recently restyled itself as the “Connecting Womxn of Color Conference” in order to “emphasize anew our dedication to inclusivity.”
By the way, some people don’t feel any discomfort using these weird bunches of letters in their posts on social networks.
Exactly!!! These womxn go unheard of in the media and it’s disgusting!— Milly ???? (@cryoverbooks) January 9, 2019
crying happy tears because a young Black womxn got a paid journalism internship this summer!!!!— taylor crumpton (@taylorcrumpton) January 10, 2019
Some Twitter users will have to spend a bit more time to master the “new grammar”, though…
Everything that you said is cool but saying "womxn" is pretty dumb lol— vish (@vishisadisaster) January 6, 2019
What’s next? Perhaps the next step in feminists’ right with their own common sense will be a battle against Christians who believe Eve was created from Adam’s rib. How to explain the linguistic inaccuracy in the words “he” and “she”? The latter has more letters and contains “he” within itself which must be a mistake as only men can offend WOMYN.
Anyways, hold on and try to keep your sanity, guys. It can’t get any worse. Probably.