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Twitch withdraws use of ‘Womxn’. How the ‘X’ in Womxn is Counter-Productive to the Idea of Inclusivity

Amazon Owned Twitch withdraws use of ‘Womxn’ after criticism by Transgender communities. Here is why ‘Womxn’ is Counter-Productive to the Idea of Inclusivity

Popular gaming site Twitch overturned its decision to introduce gender-neutral spelling “womxn” after censorship from transgender organizations, which claimed the move to be exclusionary and transphobic. “While we initially tried to use a term that recognizes the lack of a gender-binary vocabulary after hearing directly from you, especially members of the LGBTQIA+ group on Twitch, “we will be using the spelling, ‘woman’ to move forward. The swapping of ‘woman’ with ‘womxn’ and now again, back to ‘woman’ can particularly be seen as a process of evolving to provide inclusivity. To gender activists, a transwoman is nothing but a woman. A term, linguistically distinguishing a woman from a transwoman is counterproductive. The term is not really giving inclusivity to the trans women but is eradicating the exclusive identification of transwomen.

Here are the problems with the term, ‘womxn’

‘Womxn’ is a form of misgendering. Womxn, when used as an umbrella term in order to refer to women, who already are women, is certainly misgendering, which is not inclusive but harmful.

Many people argue that ‘womxn’ is a form that rejects ‘men’ being a part of ‘women’. They perceive it in a way that it could reject patriarchy of including the term ‘men’ in ‘women’ and often the ‘x’ in ‘womxn’ is interchangeable with ‘y’  making ‘womyn’ is an alternative spelling. But the fact that matters is neither ‘womxn’ nor ‘womyn’ is not equal to ‘not men’.

So, for the fact matters, adding an ‘x’ or a ‘y’ can not provide inclusivity, here, the context is the key.  For example, the term, Latinx/ Latine is used in place of the binary, Latina/ Latino. or ‘folkx’ in places of folks’ but these are the terms that are not gendered, to begin with, hence, the question of inclusivity doesn’t arise as they were already gender-neutral, hence, inclusive.


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So, how to be more inclusive?

There can be instances where you desire to be inclusive, but your words, terms, language happens to be not so. In such situations, specify and mindfully use the terms and pronouns while consciously identifying their meanings. Say what and who you are referring to, to make it more inclusive.

– If it’s to refer to the people who menstruate, say it.
– If it’s people harmed by patriarchy, say it.
– If it’s to refer to women, and gender non-binary, say it.

The process of understanding gender is essentially the process of learning, unlearning, and relearning. While Twitch, in an attempt to be more inclusive and understanding of gender, used the term, ‘Womxn’, the backlash it received with this is immense. And hence, in their tweet, when they write “We want to assure you that we have, and will continue to, work with the LGBTQIA+ community. We’re still learning. Our good intentions don’t always equate to a positive impact, but we’re committed to growing from these experiences, doing better, and ensuring we’re inclusive to all.” and again switching back to the term, ‘Woman’ is in itself a progressive more. It only shows, to be gender-equal and inclusive, the best is to be in the process of learning and accepting the wrongs and rights.

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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.
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