Let's get some self-revealing stuff out in the open before I proceed to challenge the wisdom of calling a follow-up to last year's highly successful Salem Women's March a Womxn's March.
I'm a heterosexual (cisgender, just to show that I'm clued-in to some new-speak) man. I'm old, 69. I believe in using English words that can be pronounced. I'm married to a woman, Laurel, who was one of the lead organizers for the 2017 Salem Women's March. I created a web page that showcased this event, which attracted 4,200 enthusiastic people -- see below.
So depending on your point of view, I'm either (1) a old fogey who doesn't understand how important it is to get "men" out of "women" by making it "womxn" in order to make this word more inclusive, especially of transgender womxn, or (2) I'm someone who is knowledgeable about what made the 2017 Women's March a big success and is concerned that going down the Womxn Road is a bad idea.
As you probably can guess, personally I'm going with (2).
Yesterday I learned about the upcoming Womxn's March by coming across a Salem Resists Facebook post, a group I heartily support. A woman had questioned whether it was wise to use Womxn when other upcoming marches around the country use Women. She shared the images below.
(Note: Salem Resists isn't sponsoring the Womxn's March. The group just shared a notice of the event on their Facebook page.)
Some Googling revealed that it looks like many Women's Marches are going to be held on Saturday, January 20, while some Womxn's Marches are going to occur on Sunday, January 21 -- which is when the Salem event will be. For example, Seattle is having a Womxn Act On Seattle event on January 21.
But Seattle had a 2017 Womxn's March, so the 2018 event with a similar name is building on the 2017 success.
By contrast, here in Salem many of the 4,200 people who attended the 2017 Women's March are going to be confused by the Womxn's March. Aside from not being able to pronounce the name, they likely will wonder if it will bear any resemblance to the previous Women's March.
I also am concerned about the January 21 Womxn's March being held on a Sunday from 11 am to 1 pm. I'm not religious, but many people in Salem are. I don't know when the typical church service is these days, but I'm assuming that many are in the morning, which could cause fewer people to come to the Womxn's March.
My biggest concern, though, is how featuring "Womxn" in the name of the event is going to affect how Salemians view the march. Obviously the focus of the 2018 march should be on the horrors being wrought by the Trump administration, women's rights, and the "Me Too" wave of sexual harassment awareness.
Anything that detracts from this focus is a distraction. And often progressive groups get involved in unproductive disputes over who is more politically correct to the Nth degree which dissipate energy that should be directed at the real enemy: Donald Trump and his Republican cronies.
It appears that the organizers of the 2018 Salem Womxn's March have settled on that name. Well, I'm hoping that they will change their minds.
It'd be better if the event echoed the successful 2017 Women's March by having the same name. Then include mention of "Womxn" in the promotional materials, explaining that this word is viewed as more inclusive by some people. Also, change the date of the event to Saturday, January 20.
That way all the publicity around the Women's Marches in Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other cities can help generate interest in a Salem march on the same day.
Look, I've spent a lot of time and energy on trying to Strange Up Salem. I'm not only fine with weirdness, I'm a huge fan of it. But there's a time and a place for strange. Womxn is a weird word that shouldn't be used for a 2018 Women's March that, like the first march, should attract a broad spectrum of people in our town.
Women. Men. Liberals. Conservatives. Religious believers. Ardent atheists. People of all ages, races, ethnicities, sexual persuasions. Words can bring people together, and they also can push people apart.
My view is that Womxn is a divisive word in the context of a Women's March. I could be wrong, of course. I just feel that the risk is too high that "Womxn" will become a focus of the march rather than the pressing issues and problems that need attention in these Trumpian times.
Just read your comments about Women/Womxn, Interesting topic. I helped plan the Women's March on NYC. A lot of people had the pink "pussy" hats and believe it or not, a lot of transgender ppl were mad about the hats, because they felt it shouldn't have been about "pussies," I'm old enough that I'm embarrassed to even type the word! LOL I kind of like the Womxn thing, I honestly think you'll get the same happy marching 4,000 people to come to your march regardless of the X or E, but if you don't use the E, and use the X, you may get some extra folks and you may get some extra press. ;) These are my own thoughts and not a reflection of The Women's March Alliance, and thanks for including our Women's March Alliance page!
Posted by: Teresa Gins berg | December 27, 2017 at 02:22 PM
Teresa, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes, I'm frequently amazed, and dismayed, at how liberals/progressives will spend so much time and energy getting upset with each other about small things, when there is That Giant Thing called Donald Trump we all should be focused on, along with his GOP accomplices.
Or course, I could be accused of doing just that in this blog post. However, I've tried to be reasonable and polite in my critique of Salem having a Womxn's March on the Sunday after many other cities are having a Saturday Women's March. I feel that calling the event a Women's March likely would attract people who'd wonder what the heck a Womxn's March is, and whether they're welcome at it. But you may be right that the "x" would attract more interest from both ordinary people and the media. I'm just not sure to what extent the interest would be positive.
Posted by: Brian Hines | December 27, 2017 at 07:46 PM
For future reference: womxn includes transgender and women of color. That is the difference between womyn and womxn. Doesn’t seem so harsh to me! Try not to take things so personally, allies (almost) are always welcome.
Posted by: Marissa | January 14, 2018 at 10:49 PM
Hmmmm . Marissa, I'm pretty sure women of color have been happily using the word "woman" to describe themselves. I wonder how many of them feel they need help from those who want to substitute "womxn"? Ditto with transgender women. Maybe ;you're right, and "womxn" will become a widely accepted word. I just am doubtful that such will happen, or that such is needed.
Posted by: Brian Hines | January 15, 2018 at 12:00 AM