Companies have come under fire for using the word “womxn” instead of “woman,” after worrying the latter word excludes transgender people.
Feminists have argued that it is biological women who are being excluded by the newly popular word, and that no one calls men “mxn.”
The Wellcome Collection apologised on Wednesday after being criticised for using the word to describe women and non-gender-conforming people in promotional material for its new exhibition “daylighting”, a piece of artwork that “explores the presence of womxn through their art, thinking and speculations”.
Jess Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley said in response: “I’ve never met a trans woman who was offended by the word woman being used, so I’m not sure why this keeps happening. As if internet dissent now replaces public policy. I get what they are trying to do but why is it only women not men where this applies.”
Feminist campaigner Carolie Criado Perez agreed, adding: “What the hell? You can’t just make up words.
We’ve had some questions about why we’re using the word womxn for this event. We’re using it because we feel that it is important to create a space/venue that includes diverse perspectives. It was agreed during our conversations with collaborators as the programme developed.
— Wellcome Collection (@ExploreWellcome) October 9, 2018
“Who are these ‘collaborators’ that told you it was ok to wholesale change the word for 50% of the human race? “Aside: I’m really fed up of women being just a big grab bag of anyone who isn’t a proper default human, aka a man. Read some bloody de Beauvoir & pull your head out of your a–.”
A spokesperson for the museum apologised, adding that the word will no longer be used.
They said in a statement: “We should have put more thought into whether this was the right term to use when communicating about the event. We made a mistake, and we should not have used it. We’re sorry that we made the wrong call. “We invite challenges to our thinking and we listen to our audience, so we’re removing the word from the website and from our communications about the event.”
Clothing shop H&M has also been criticised by feminists, after an event it is sponsoring used the word.
Her Stories, a fundraising initiative, advertises that it is supporting “charities dedicated to womxn seeking asylum and refuge in the U.K. Spelling women differently to emphasise inclusivity, the organisation has launched the first womxn-only art auction; for womxn, by womxn.”
I've never met a trans woman who was offended by the word woman being used, so I'm not sure why this keeps happening. As if internet dissent now replaces public policy. I get what they are trying to do but why is it only women not men where this applies. https://t.co/f0gC3J1q9p
— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) October 10, 2018
Read more on the Telegraph.