First used in 2010, the word ‘womxn’ has a political tone associated with it. It aims to promote and segregate women from men, and subsequently emphasizes that women are capable of their own without the aid of men. Womyn, Womxn, Wombyn are some of the alternative politically correct spellings used by people to refer to the effeminate nature. With the advent of the third wave of feminism and a better understanding of intersectionality, the use of the spelling variant helps to branch out of patriarchal terms and be more inclusive about queer identities.
Historically, the word ‘Woman’ has its origins in the word ‘wifmann’ which translates into ‘human female’, suggesting that ‘wifmann’ was an extension of men. The new orthography also promises to incorporate women of color, women of third world countries and transgender women as well. It also foregrounds gender binaries and extends its support to non – binary people.
The word ‘womxn’ also carries a fair share of critiques. Some have criticized the word for being extremely difficult to pronounce while others have appreciated the ambiguity in the pronunciation, considering the fact that it makes people stop and think about the correct way it shall be pronounced. In a society where systematic misogyny is common, swapping of the letter, ‘E’ with an ‘X’ seems like a welcome change.
With intersectional feminism continuing to become more mainstream, some have also argued about changing the name ‘Feminine hygiene’ products to ‘Menstrual hygiene’ as all who menstruate may not identify themselves as females. The word ‘womxn’ tends to bridge this gap in-between ‘people who menstruate’ and ‘women who menstruate’. In the same vein, some argue how even the term menstruation has the word ‘men’ in it, begging the possibility that perhaps the word ‘menstruation’ will have an alternative spelling in the coming times echoing the political narrative.
What is in a name? OR A name is enough! Which side of the debate are you on?