Twitch, the popular video live streaming service, recently faced backlash on social media over its usage of the term “womxn.” In honor of Women’s History Month, the company pledged to begin using the phrase as a means of being more inclusive of its trans and non-binary streamers. “Join us in celebrating and supporting all the Womxn creating their own worlds, building their communities, and leading the way on Twitch,” said the now deleted Tweet.
LGBTQIA+ Twitter users didn’t take so kindly to the news, wondering whether terms like "womxn" and "folx" are performative and transphobic. While widely assumed to be gender neutral as opposed to “women,” the unconventional spelling of the word fundamentally contradicts that trans and non-binary women are women. "Womxn" has no place in any inclusive feminist’s vocabulary.
“Womxn”— Natalie Wynn (@ContraPoints) March 2, 2021
Who is the X for exactly, who is it supposed to help?
This needs to be said:— CauseImEd 🏳️🌈 (@CauseImEd) March 2, 2021
"Womxn" is a term made by terfs. Trans women are women.
Folks is already gender neutral. Not everyone likes "folx". Respect peoples wishes.
Latine people have stated many times they don't like the term "Latinx".
Don't be performative. https://t.co/P5oWV2rdiV
“After hearing directly from you, including members of the LGBTQIA+ community on Twitch, we will be using the spelling ‘women’ moving forward,” Twitch later formally apologized. “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 positive impact, but we're committed to growing from these experiences, doing better, and ensuring we're inclusive to all.”
Still, social media users were left wondering how the streaming giant could bypass such offensive language. This incident is one among many in recent years where major companies have been criticized for perpetuating bigotry in one way or another. BBC News’ Ben Hunte reports that Twitch employees forewarned the company that its problematic usage of the term “womxn” wouldn’t be well received. This apparently didn’t deter overhead from releasing the campaign anyway. “Here’s an idea,” one person replied to Twitch’s apology thread. “Hire trans and non-binary people and then LISTEN to them.”
here's an idea, hire trans and nonbinary people and then LISTEN to them : )— katthew (@shutup) March 2, 2021
Top Image By Caspar Calille Rubin from Unsplash
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Jamilah Horton is a graduate of Wellesley College with a B.A. in Cinema & Media Studies and Africana Studies. She lives in Harlem, NYC and enjoys watching and critiquing the latest films and television shows, especially those that center Black women and femmes. Subscribe to her YouTube channel That's A Wrap TV for more!