‘Womyn’ can kiss my buttons.Posted: August 4, 2011
People who spell woman/women as ‘womyn’ fundamentally piss me off for two reasons.
First of all- it’s a pseudo-feminism that operates off the assumption that in order for a woman to be strong and independent, she must disassociate herself from men altogether- whether philosophically or socially. In other words, in eliminating the ‘man’ part of woman, they are seeking to break away from men altogether, ejecting them linguistically and theoretically from what it means to be a woman. I’ve always viewed that way of thinking as complete bullshit.
Yes, feminism was about asserting independence and autonomy and due to the extent that women suffered under a forced dependence upon men, this required the establishment of a strict demarcation between the sexes so that each could be dealt with independently and on their own merit. However, while this mentality had a time and a place in Western society, I personally don’t think that is does now. I do not believe it is a way to move forward. I say Western society because I have mainly only seen women in Western society using the term ‘womyn’, and I’m also acknowledging my own cultural bias and the assumptions underlying that bias that influence my viewpoint. I think it’s reached a point where asserting one’s femininity in spite of men is not only childish, it’s misguided.
As a matter of fact, it achieves the opposite of autonomy. If you’re always asserting your womanhood in opposition to or in defiance of men, then you are always operating in tandem to whatever masculinity it is that you are seeking to reject. Your womanhood is never in and of itself, it is always being created in reaction to what is viewed as its opposite. It also suggests that for women to remain strong in themselves they actually have to be isolated from or distinct from men because otherwise they are unable to retain their autonomy or sense of self. In my opinion, that is a remarkably offensive view of the female gender.
This isn’t just insulting to women, however, it’s also insulting to men. The rejection of the ‘man’ implies that the ‘man’ is a corruptive and negative element in the ‘woman’- which is such an insulting synopsis of the male gender that it transforms the use of ‘womyn’ from being incredibly stupid to incredibly sexist.
Not to mention the other sexist assumption underlying the extrication of ‘man’ from ‘woman’, which is that ‘man’ is the root and ‘woman’ is the derivative. Now, for all the reasons above I don’t really give a shit as to which is which- because ultimately it doesn’t matter- but there is a certain hyprocrisy that operates in that assumption that gives me the shizzles.
Furthermore, by seeking to enforce this ‘womyn’ mentality, what is reinforced is the notion that male and female are distinct categories, with specific and separate sets of characteristics, behaviours and ways of thinking- without allowing for cross over or ambiguity. In other words, by separating people out so distinctly by their gender, they and all the things inherent to them are permanently filtered through the framework of their gender. This is, in my mind, partly what feminism sought to escape- the essentialising and reduction of human behaviour into simplistic gender categories. Eg. ‘You think that because you’re a woman’, ‘It’s a guy thing’ – etfuckingcetera
What is being missed here is the opportunity to promote and engage in the symbiotic, mutual and reciprocal relationship that men and women can have when we stop relying so heavily on the ultimately divisive issue of gender which can easily dominate our interaction and way of thinking about one another. ‘Womyn’ does not escape this binary opposition, rather it reinforces it while asserting a kind of isolationism that does absolutely nothing to promote harmony and unity between the sexes. In a world in which hybridity and inclusiveness are becoming more and more of our every day, isn’t it taking a step backwards to make such isolationist and protectionist statements that reject others and refuse to acknowledge the fundamental way in which we are all connected to one another?
If your answer is yes then congratulations- you agree with me and I am made of magic.