International WomXn’s Day

Is the X Inclusive or eXclusive?

By Jessenya Guerra
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Let me begin by saying that I am not anti-Feminist, and I am not some crazy person who is trying to get rid of International Women’s Day. I am a student, just like you—and I have an opinion, just like you. In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, I will share what my opinion as a woman is.

As I pursue my degree in Humanities & Communication, I have encountered many controversial topics that make my head turn. Being a part of this major, and being in higher education has almost locked me into an echo chamber of like-minded people; however, when it comes to this topic, I find myself on the opposing side of my peers.

In my opinion, the “x” that we put in “womxn” has the opposite effect of its original intent. The “x” is supposed to be inclusive of all genders, and is for individuals who identify as a woman. However, when I see the word, I see it specifically emphasizing men. I believe that when we use the “x” in women, we are intentionally highlighting that men are not included.

Now this may not be the original intent—because I know that many Feminists do not wish to exclude men—but this is where we are. I understand why the “x” was originally introduced, as I am Latina and have seen the “x” used in Latinx and Chicanx.

This makes sense to me because those words are gendered. By replacing the “o” with an “x” at the end of the word, we remove the gendered portion to include all people of Latin descent. I have even seen famous Latin-American actors and singers use the “@” symbol instead of the “o” when writing Latin@ or Chican@. The “@” is a combination of “o” and “a” together; it is essentially Latino/a.

But my question for using the “X” is: When is it too far? The word “women” is not gendered. We do not modify the word “women” to include or exclude any gender, it is a word that is used by all people. The word “women” also does not exclude any person who identifies as a woman. If you identify as such, then you say you are a woman. End of story.

When we insert the “X” in women, it highlights the word “men” within the word “women.” For some reason, it is not okay for the three letters that spell “men” to be included in the five letters that spell “women.” When we remove the “e” in women and replace it with an “X,” we remove the word “men” from the word “women.”

This is not where I believe the Feminism should be heading. I believe that we need to include men in Feminism, because if we don’t then nothing will ever change. We should not change the word “women” to remove “men,” because men will feel that they are not welcome to our movement.

We need to emphasize the word “men” in “women” because we need men to join the movement. WoMEN. By attempting to include all people that identify as women by adding an “x,” we are actually excluding men.

When we use the word “movement,” we do not replace the “e” with an “x” to say “movemxnt” because we know that the word is not specifically referring to men. Even though there is the word “men” within the word “movement,” we know that the word is not gender exclusive. When we actively remove “men” from “women,” we are making the word gender exclusive rather than making it gender inclusive.

I’m not saying that we need to reinvent the wheel here, and I’m hoping that I didn’t lose you all in the wording. I believe that it is important to include all people, especially those who are marginalized. However, how far is too far before are inclusivity accidentally becomes exclusive?

When it comes to words that end in a feminine or masculine letter, I understand the need for the “x,” but when we take words out of context, we are going too far. I urge you to think to yourself whether or not you identify more with the word “women,” or “woman.”

I am a student. I am still learning. If you are interested in sharing your opinion with me, I would love to hear it. Email thelutrinae@csumb.edu. We will also be sharing a poll on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see which word women identify with more in honor of International Women’s Day.

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