Believe it or Not, Using "Womxn" Isn't as Inclusive as You Think

In recent years there has been a societal push to get rid of certain terms in favor of ones that are more inclusive. One of the most notable instances of this is the referral to the  Latinx community instead of saying the Latino community. In a similar format, some people are attempting to use “womxn” as a more inclusive way of saying woman or women depending on the context. While there are mostly well intentions behind the push of the term, it’s not as inclusive as one might think at first glance.

Womxn has become more popular recently, but its origins date back to the 70s. The term womxn was used as a way to avoid encouraging the perceived sexism behind the “man” part of the word woman along with the “men” part of the word women. Around this same time, the term “womyn” also came about but has very different intentions. While womxn has issues that will be further discussed, womyn has always had negative connotations. The term was coined by radical so-called “feminists” who believed that trans women weren’t women because gender was determined by a person’s genitals. 

Women sitting together Photo by RF._.studio from Pexels

Individuals who use womxn are probably under the belief that the term is more inclusive of those in the trans and non-binary communities. However, making the distinction between trans women and women isn’t helpful, because trans women are women. There is no difference. You don’t have to differentiate trans women from other women if your end goal is to be inclusive to all. The popularization of womxn is another example of cisgender women trying to determine what’s best for the trans and non-binary communities without hearing directly from these communities. Once again, this is not to say that these women are ill-willed, but they are making decisions on behalf of communities that they themselves are not a part of.

This year, on the first day of Women’s History Month, popular online streaming platform Twitch received a lot of backlash after sending out the tweet “Join us in celebrating and supporting all the Womxn creating their own worlds, building their communities, and leading the way on Twitch”. This remark made the company trend for all the wrong reasons. While Twitch without a doubt had good intentions and wanted to be as inclusive as possible in their tweet, they fell victim to only being an ally on the surface level. It takes very minimal research to understand the harm that comes with replacing the word women with womxn.

six Black women in white standing against a floral wall Photo by Clarke Sanders from Unsplash

There are some individuals who choose to identify themselves as being womxn, and they are valid in doing so. The harm comes when the term is used in regards to an entire group of people. Womxn does not replace the word women. You should use the term if someone tells you that they want you to, but you shouldn’t assume that people are comfortable with the term.

three women posing Photo by Omar Lopez from Unsplash