TEDxLondon, the London branch of the conference company Ted, has rebranded its annual TEDxLondonWomen event as “TEDxLondonWomxn” – a change that it claims will highlight the “prejudice, discrimination, and institutional barriers” faced by “womxn.”
“TEDxLondonWomxn is coming back (virtually)!” the company tweeted.
In a follow-up tweet, TEDxLondon clarified that this was not a typo and explained that it was making the change to be more “inclusive and progressive”:
“Why we’re using ‘womxn’
No, that’s not a typo: ‘womxn’ is a spelling of ‘women’ that’s more inclusive and progressive. The term sheds light on the prejudice, discrimination, and institutional barriers womxn have faced, and explicitly includes non-cisgender women.”
TEDxLondon’s decision was slammed by Twitter users who suggested that changing the spelling of women is “not inclusive“, an attempt to “erase female people as a category,” and a vehicle for pushing “woke editorial censorship.”
TEDxLondon’s change to the spelling of women follows a recent push by activists to replace references to women with what they deem to be with “neutral” or “inclusive” language.
Author J.K. Rowling is one of the most high profile public figures to speak out against these activists and their attempts to erase references to women. This has made Rowling and her supporters one of the main targets of these activists with several people, including author Gillian Philip and literary agent Sasha White, being fired for supporting Rowling.
Many large institutions have seemingly sided with the activists and joined the push to erase references to women and replace them with what they deem to be “gender-neutral language.”
For example, news outlet CNN has started to use the term “individuals with a cervix” and the United Nations has told people to stop using several terms including “husband” or “wife” to “help create a more equal world by using gender-neutral language.”
Google and Microsoft-owned GitHub have also started to enforce the use of “neutral” language in their code which has resulted in common coding terms such as “blacklist” and “whitelist,” which have been part of codebases for decades, now being prohibited.
In addition to large institutions attempting to police people’s speech, researchers are also working on algorithms that scan and identify “misogynistic” tweets.