Margaret Attwood met with huge backlash by ‘disappointed’ fans over sharing article on use of word ‘woman’


Margaret Attwood
Margaret Attwood sparked a huge backlash on Twitter (Picture: Getty)

Margaret Attwood has sparked a huge backlash on Twitter after she shared an opinion piece on the platform, questioning the discussion around gender.

The Handmaid’s Tale author, 81, posted a link to an opinion piece from the Toronto Star on her page, with the headline: ‘Why can’t we say “woman” anymore?’

In the piece, which is behind a paywall, columnist Rosie DiManno stated: ‘“Woman” is in danger of becoming a dirty word … struck from the lexicon of officialdom, eradicated from medical vocabulary and expunged from conversation.

‘It shouldn’t leave well-meaning people tongue-tied, lest they be attacked as transphobic or otherwise insensitive to the increasingly complex constructs of gender.

‘There’s more than a whiff of misogyny to it. Why “woman” the no-speak word and not “man?” Why not “persons who urinate standing up” or “people who eject semen?”

‘Certainly there are words — they are slurs mostly — that are no longer acceptable. “Woman” shouldn’t be one of them.’

Margaret didn’t offer any other comment with her post other than the link and headline.

However, fans were unimpressed with the tweet, and slammed her decision to share the piece with her 2million followers.

Flooding the post with replies, one commented: ‘We can say women. And we can say people when that’s more accurate and inclusive. Women are people.’

‘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,’ another agreed. 

‘I’m nonbinary. I also menstruate and gave birth to 3 kids. Saying “people with periods” includes women AND me.’

‘You can say woman or women or ladies or girls whenever and however you want. We’re just also recognising that, when discussing repro rights, biology, and many other things, saying “women” is often inaccurate or outright exclusionary,’ a Twitter user responded.

‘For example, I say “folks with periods” or “people who menstruate” because not all women menstruate and not everyone who menstruates is a woman. No one is taking away any words from you or anyone else.’

A follower vowed: ‘Literally no one is stopping anyone from saying the word “woman”.’

As one added: ‘I also want to point out that there’s a certain level of hyperbole in this piece; absolutely no one is saying an individual woman cannot call herself a woman.

‘People are just saying that not every pregnant person or person with a vagina is a woman, which is a verifiable fact.’

Hitting back at some of the backlash, she insisted that people should ‘read’ the piece before making judgements on her post.

Quote-tweeting a user who commented, ‘Ugh, not you too,’ she added: ‘Read her piece. She’s not a TERF.’

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