Volume 92, Issue 32

Friday, October 30, 1998

big money


Spell checked

Re: Spell feminism, Oct. 27

To the Editor:

This is in regards to Dave Theobald's letter (and Warren Flood's postscript to his otherwise commendable letter) in the Oct. 27 issue of The Gazette. While I see the good intentions (at least in Dave's letter – and I applaud him for that), I want to point out that Alexa Duggan had most likely spelled woman/women as womon/wimmin purposely herself.

This is an act (not unique to just Alexa) that is used to address the politics of language (and hence, spelling) and to address the fact that language can sometimes be a vehicle for oppression.

In the case of woMAN/woMEN, there is the implication that woman came from man, among other things (and there is a curious irony here because in the real world, man actually comes from woman through childbirth and prenatal nurturing – unless you go by the biblical story of Eve being formed from Adam's rib, which I would argue was a product of a highly patriarchal society/time period).

While I hold no strong opinion going either way (it is, in fact, a controversial topic even among feminists), I respect that the alternative spelling of woman/women can be a sign of empowerment for women. It is a political act, an act of consciously rejecting what is considered to be the "norm" if this norm goes against your views.

I realize that some people may think this idea ridiculous, but I challenge these people to think more thoroughly about the politics of language and how language has played a role in the oppression of various groups (among them, racial and ethnic groups, for example) in the past – and present.

Helen Luu
Sociology III

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Copyright The Gazette 1998