“Women” is a bad word

So after a handful of discussions in open source, work, and my personal life I am slowly discovering that the word woman is actually exclusive and offensive.

So I am putting together a simple resource to help folks along the way with crafting how they chose to use various words.

Rule 1. An absence of men does not imply a group of women

If we had a room full of people and asked all the men to leave, what do you have left?

Will all of the men please leave the room?

You are still left with a room full of people, all of which do not identify as men.

Most of these people might refer to themselves as a woman but we can’t guarantee that. There could also be gender fluidgender non binaryqueer, and gender flux left in the room as well.

Imagine asking a 2nd question in the room, and asking everyone who is not a woman to leave. Then watching as a handful of underrepresented queers bowed their heads and walked out in shame.

Will anyone who is not a woman please leave the room?

When I was in the “Justin Bieber” phase of my transition I definitely wanted to be a woman but I didn’t necessarily fit the part, so I would have been one of those lowly queers walking out of the room because I wasn’t woman enough to be left in the mix.

Rule 2. Replace women with another word.


“As all the men in the room left, the resulting women remained.”


What if you are referring to a marginalized group?

“As all the men in the room left, the resulting underrepresented genders remained.”

Or a minority?

“As all the men in the room left, the resulting gender minorities remained.”


Or just be a fucking person?

“As all the men in the room left, the resulting people remained.”

You can even have fun with it

“As all the men in the room left, the resulting badass amazing people remained.”


Rule 3. The word female is even worse

In general the word female is fucked, it’s basically labelling people as an extension/possession of our male counterparts. On that note enough, it’s demoralizing to use.

Furthermore female implies biology.

I don’t have ovaries (unfortunately). I never will. Biologically I am not female. If you want a sure fire way to piss me off and make me feel unwelcome, refer to a group lacking in men as female.

Imagine our room from above. Shortly after kicking the non binary queers out I ask a third question.

Will everyone who is not a female please leave the room?

Myself, and another 10 transgender women silently walk out and join the queers in tears in the hallway crying about our lack of ovaries.

Punch yourself in the face

“As all the men in the room left, the resulting females remained.”

Rule 4. Using any gendered word is risky

In English we have 2 genders in our language, male and female.

The world is simply not that simple, and there is a gender scale that needs to be considered. If you use either gender in your language you are taking a huge risk and implying that you think the world of gender is binary.

Because the words don’t represent reality that makes them bad or poor words to use in a sentence. Hence women is a bad word, as it’s a bad idea to chose to use that word.

men, women, males, females, man, woman, etc

A friendly reminder that there is nothing wrong with thinking and referring to someone as, simply, a person.


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