Did you know that the word “man” in English was originally gender neutral? It basically meant the same thing as “person” does now.
A male person was called ” wer” or “wǣpmann” and a female person was called “wif” or “wīfmann“, which over time rounded out and blended together to sound like the modern word woman. (Words and werewolves and wives, oh my!)
So what happened?
Why did we drop the “were” prefix but keep the “wife”? It’s not hard to imagine that this has something to do with which kind of person officially counted as a “
man” person. (And how did a prefix that originally just plainly meant “female” get whittled down into such a narrow and optional aspect of womanhood?)
You could take classes on this kind of thing, if you’re into it, so let’s not worry about the historical injustices of the English language here…
Instead, let’s worry about the current ones!
Etymology aside, the word “man” now pretty exclusively describes male people. No problem, female people are called “women”, right? and when we want to talk about all of us, we say people. Or humanity. Or mankind. Or just …Man…? Okay so there is a problem. And hold up, what’s the difference between, say, fireman or human and woman? (Surely these things are not just different types of man!)
You may have noticed the non-traditional spelling of our upcoming Womyn’s Nite on Dec. 6 (which is a radical* ladies’ night for all self-identifying womyn, woot!) We’re not the first ones to spell women with a Y, and some people even spell it wymyn, (which perhaps has something to do with nixing the association between women and the womb? maybe? There are definitely womb-free women. To each her own, mhaaaaaan.) There are various motivations for changing up the letters, but the obvious one is to differentiate women from men–as more than just a sub-catergory or rib or something.
So, Why the Y at Lunik?
Well, plain and simple, we are an inclusive, anti-oppressive space. And we want to know what everyone has to say. Which means that when we want to get the gals together, we invite not just the ladies, not just the girls, not just women, but WOMYN. All of them.
*BTW did you know that the root of the word “radical” is actually root, not extreme or alternative or hipster. Being radical is really just getting back to our roots… how rad is that?!)
See you in the basement on December 6.