The future of women is changing at Santa Ana College — and it starts with an “x.” This semester, the year-and-a-half-old Women’s Empowerment Club removed the “e” in the first word of its name and replaced it with an “x.” The purpose is to use more inclusive language to empower not just men and women, but all genders and non-binary identities in between.
Womxn’s Empowerment Club President Diana Flores says that to her, the word changing to not include “men,” means being fluid. “It represents I could dress up tomboy one day and I can wear heels the other day,” Flores said. “I could be submissive one day and be dominant the next day.”
“Women” is not the only word that has undergone changes to be more inclusive.
Latino and Chicano have also added an “x” to the end of the words, as a way to remove the gendered suffixes from the Spanish. “I first saw [a change] with Chicano since now we call it Chicanx and [also] Latinx just to include everyone in it,” Flores said. “But with ‘womxn,’ it’s different and kinda expands into no gender.”
Regardless of the rise in alternative spellings since the 1970s feminist movement — such as “wimmin,” “wombyn” and “womyn” — students at SAC either accept the club’s use of the “x” or are puzzled by it.
“A lot of people are confused like ‘Why the ‘x’?’ and thinking we’re just trying to be cool,” admits Flores. “I feel like it’s important especially in the Santa Ana community to understand there’s a lot of trans folks here … You can be a woman and not necessarily look like a woman.”
The Womxn’s Empowerment Club itself has also been misunderstood due to the club’s name. Some students think it’s a group for man-haters. “It’s not that we hate men, we hate the system,” explained Flores.
Treasurer, Stephen Lopez, the only cis-gender male in the club, said he supports the “x.”
“We have to create a new language,” Lopez explains. “This is part of creating a new language because to have men and women spelled with an ‘e’ supports the binary. The ‘x’ is against that binary; we’re saying ‘No, there’s diversity.’ That’s what the ‘x’ represents is that we’re moving beyond the binary.”
The club has been hosting events for the past year, like the Code Red Project, in support of homeless women in need of feminine products. At their weekly meetings, they bring in guest speakers that discuss different issues affecting womxn, such as sexual assault, mental health, sex, ending domestic violence and more.
“Empowerment means being okay with your pain and sharing your pain. We’re not here to change anyone’s minds. We want everyone to be more aware,” said Flores.