Womxn - to the untrained eye it may look like a typo.
But when the Wellcome Collection - a museum and library in London - sent a tweet promoting an event using the word it led to a Twitter backlash from hundreds of women, and an apology from the organisation.
Typeset women back into history with #Daylighting our four-day programme of letter printing presses, zine workshops, discussions on how womxn can challenge existing archives, wikipedia 101 & more. 18-21 Oct. Explore the programme: https://t.co/jt7HitkDaA #free pic.twitter.com/uWTpEhhhwK— Wellcome Collection (@ExploreWellcome) October 6, 2018
Like women, womxn refers to females, but it is an attempt to get away from patriarchal language.
Dr Clara Bradbury-Rance, fellow at King's College London, said the spelling "stems from a longstanding objection to the word woman as it comes from man, and the linguistic roots of the word mean that it really does come from the word man".
The word is also supposed to be inclusive of trans women, and some non-binary people.
But how is it pronounced? "I've heard womxn pronounced in lots of different ways. I've heard some pronounce it 'wo-minx'," Dr Bradbury-Rance says.
Why did the Wellcome Collection use womxn?
The museum was promoting a four-day event called Daylighting, which featured women's writing, art and ideas. In a tweet, the museum said it was using the spelling womxn because "we feel that it is important to create a space/venue that includes diverse perspectives".
We’ve had some questions about why we’re using the word womxn for this event. We’re using it because we feel that it is important to create a space/venue that includes diverse perspectives. It was agreed during our conversations with collaborators as the programme developed.— Wellcome Collection (@ExploreWellcome) October 9, 2018
But the term led hundreds of people, many women, to mock and criticise the Wellcome Collection.
Guardian journalist Hadley Freeman said the museum's "new gender categories are 'men' and 'other'".
Suzie Leighton said she would not be referred to as a womxn until men became mxn.
I’ll be a womxn when men become mxn. Until then jog on and stop eroding women’s rights.— Suzie Leighton (@suzietcce) October 10, 2018
One Twitter user said it was "demeaning and insulting to women".
Vanessa Bailey called it "nxnsense" and Gillian Craigie referred to it as "a load of bxllxcks".
Many mocked the spelling, one wrote: "Wxll you xnd your collxborxtors clxxrly hxvx too much timx on your hxnds. Gxt x grip!"
Was the term inclusive?
Who exactly is this meant to include? Trans women call themselves women, non-binary people don't call themselves women at all. The only thing that comes to mind is that this could be to include both "woman" and "women", which implies there are women who identify as plurals.— Sam Baxter (@szbnahl) October 10, 2018
The Wellcome Collection said it used the word womxn "with the intention of being inclusive".
One of the groups that the term was supposed to include was trans women. But campaign group Trans Media Watch said it would never use that term.
Chair Jennie Kermode said: "We would generally just write women in the usual way because we feel it's important for people to recognise that trans women are women.
"Trans women aren't a special, separate category."
One Twitter user said: "I'm not a womxn though, I'm a woman, so I guess that excludes me."
If the Wellcome Collection can't get their next lot of collaborators to agree to use the term mxn, they will have failed to create a space/venue that includes diverse perspectives. Your move, guys https://t.co/MQCcqU04rH— Marina Hyde (@MarinaHyde) October 10, 2018
Labour MP Jess Phillips said: "I've never met a trans woman who was offended by the word woman being used, so I'm not sure why this keeps happening."
I've never met a trans woman who was offended by the word woman being used, so I'm not sure why this keeps happening. As if internet dissent now replaces public policy. I get what they are trying to do but why is it only women not men where this applies. https://t.co/f0gC3J1q9p— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) October 10, 2018
Dr Bradbury-Rance said: "As far as I can tell I think that the problem has been seen as being too simplistic in their suggestion that they're being all-inclusive.
"To say just using this word makes them completely inclusive in all lots of different ways - trans women, non-binary people.
"They seem to have used womxn as a fix-all."
A Wellcome Collection spokeswoman said: "We should have put more thought into whether this was the right term to use when communicating about the event.
"We made a mistake, and we should not have used it.
"We're sorry that we made the wrong call."
Ms Kermode added the Wellcome Collection had always done its best to be inclusive "across the spectrum", but added the museum should have anticipated this response.