Handmaid's Tale author Margaret Atwood called 'transphobic' for sharing post on gender-neutrality

Margaret Atwood shared a Toronto Star op-ed titled 'Why can't we say 'woman' anymore?'


                            Handmaid's Tale author Margaret Atwood called 'transphobic' for sharing post on gender-neutrality
'Handmaid's Tale' writer Margaret Atwood has been slammed for an op-ed that she shared (Instagram/@therealmargaretatwood/IMDb)
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Canadian author Margaret Atwood who has become widely known for her novel 'The HandMaid's Tale' which gave rise to a successful TV franchise, has been branded transphobic for sharing on Twitter an article complaining about gender-neutral language.

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Atwood shared a Toronto Star op-ed titled, "Why can't we say 'woman' anymore?" on Tuesday, October 19, where columnist Rosie DiManno, argued that the adoption of gender-neutral language creates an "erasure of women," which leaves "well-meaning people tongue-tied, lest they be attacked as transphobic or otherwise insensitive to the increasingly complex constructs of gender." DiManno claimed that "woman" was "in danger of becoming a dirty word". The word was at risk of being "struck from the lexicon of officialdom, eradicated from medical vocabulary and expunged from conversation," according to the columnist.

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'Including more people is NOT deleting anyone'

The 81-year-old author shared the post sans a caption but it was enough to fire up the critics, many of whom were Atwood's fans. "No one is banning the word 'woman.' Many organizations are — rightly — opting for precise language when talking about things that have to do with biological traits rather than gender identity. It’s not an attack on womanhood to NOT equate gender with specific biology," one of them said, while another noted, "I’m disappointed you shared this because it’s factually untrue. We can still say “woman” & we can also say 'people' when it makes sense to use more inclusive language. I’m nonbinary. I also menstruate and gave birth to 3 kids. Saying 'people with periods' includes women AND me." A third commented, "Good news, we still can! big fan of your fiction on the dangers of enforcing extremely rigid bio-essentialist ideas about gender btw."

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"Oh no you're right I just tried to say it and a bunch of non-binary people stormed into my apartment and made me throw out my dresses. Ugh I just wish I had as much power as trans people do," one more quipped. The next remarked, "I'd have thought you would have understood this when a company called Gilead referred to women as 'individuals who have receptive vaginal sex.'"

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Another wrote, "This is *exactly* how many men reacted when feminists used to argue for gender inclusive language like 'congressperson' or 'he or she.'" A commenter tweeted, "I’ll never understand why changes like these are resisted when they make room for people that have been oppressed or are living under oppression. WHY?! It’s no skin off your ass." Another said, "What??? You can say woman AND you can also say trans man and non-binary person, or if you want to include all in one word you can say pregnant person. Including more people is NOT deleting anyone." A person reacted with, "Oh look you're angry language is finally starting to include people like me. Disappointed in you. But not shocked. I hear JKR is looking for friends. You can sit at her table."

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