Womyn Creating Consciousness Collectively - Alternative Spellings

Woman, Womyn, Wimyn, Womin, and Wimmin:
Why the alternatives spellings?


   This past semester I received an email from an male individual asking why we do not spell the words “woman” and “women” the traditional way, with an “a” or “e.”  While this in itself is a legitimate question for those who have never seen these alternative spellings of the words “woman” and “women” he threw in a little something extra.  He made up an email address specifically for the purpose of this letter; “spell_it_with_an_e@yahoo.com.” 
   It is important to point out that this alternative spelling of the word “woman” is not about men.  It is about womyn.  It is about reclaiming a term, that has been used as a reason to discriminate and oppress us for centuries, and making it our own.  These alternative spellings of the word “woman” is about the redefinition of ourselves, as we are spiritually, socially, and physically, on our own terms and not in relation to men. Throughout our lives as womyn, we have different and unique experiences that differ from the experiences of men in our society.  It is our way of telling the world that we DO exist separately from men in our society and that we should be acknowledged as such.
 

   By taking the “men” and “man” out of the words “woman” and “women” we are symbolically saying that we do not need men to be “complete.  We, as womyn, are not a sub-category of men.  We are not included in many of the history books, studies and statistics that are done in male dominated societies, thus they do not apply to us, for in these items we do not exist.   In these societies men are the “norm” and women the “particular,” a mere sub-category of the “norm,” of men.  The re-spelling of the word “woman” is a statement that we refused to be defined by men.  We are womyn and only we have the right to define our relationships with ourselves, society, with other womyn and men.  These re-spellings work as a symbolic act of looking at and defining ourselves as we really are, not how men and society view us, but through our own female views of ourselves, as self-defined womyn.     



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