Women/Womxn/Womyn/Wimmin/Wommin

In the course of my research on gender and sex, I have run into heated arguments about not only the use of pronouns but also gendered nouns (i.e. woman, man)– as expected.

The Seattle branch of the Women’s March created the term “womxn” in 2016. The branch stated that this was in an effort to use more inclusive terms and to part ways with “man,” the word which derives “woman.” Although this move surprised some, this choice from the Women’s March was not wholly new. In fact, women throughout the 20th century attempted to replace the term “women” with other words (as listed in this blog’s title).

Despite numerous attempts, these new words have struggled to find their place in mainstream American and international culture. When a London museum used the term “womxn” in an October 2018 tweet, public backlash led to edits and a public apology.

I have found these discussions especially informative to writing my article on feminist metaphysics. Of course, my aim is to use inclusive language (i.e. language that recognizes the diversity of people represented by certain terms).

I am studying Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble and Bodies That Matter. In both works, she uses “women,” not “womxn” nor another term. When Butler wrote these works, these discussions on the replacement of the term “women” were ongoing, yet she chose to use the term “women” in both works. It is not explicitly clear whether Butler chose the term “women” in order to make her philosophy more “understandable” for other people at the time or if she rejected other terms for a more elaborate belief.

In an effort to be more inclusive, I feel drawn to using the term “womxn.” However, I am hesitant to do so since this might misrepresent Butler. Although I am committed to using the pronouns they/them/theirs for general references in the article, I am still in discussions regarding use of the term “womxn.

 

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/27/uk/womxn-inclusive-language-gbr-scli-intl/index.html