Margaret Atwood has some explaining to do.
This morning, the 81-year-old Handmaid’s Tale author shared a transphobic op-ed by problematic journalist Rosie DiManno titled “Why can’t we say ‘woman’ anymore?”
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) October 19, 2021
In the past, DiManno has mocked a male survivor of sexual assault for coming forward with his story and used derogatory terms to describe Black and Indigenous people. Just last year, she made headlines for stupidly hitting “reply all” on a company memo then sending 60 colleagues a racist email.
Why Atwood decided to share DiManno’s latest op-ed, in which she voices sympathy for transphobic author JK Rowling and rails against “trans activism run amok”, with her 2 million Twitter followers is anyone’s guess, but people are not happy about it.
What makes the whole thing even weirder is that, just last year, Atwood spoke out against Rowling’s transphobic remarks and voiced her own support for the trans community.
“You can believe all you like that trans people aren’t people, but it happens not to be a fact,” she said in November while discussing her support for the LGBTQ community with The Times, the British daily. “It is not true that there are only two boxes.”
Here’s what they’re saying about the author’s latest tweet…
More pressing issue: when JK Rowling was being savagely attacked and maligned for asking precisely this question a year and a half ago, why didn’t you express solidarity with her, instead of doing the very opposite?
— Boring Liberal (@BoringLiberal) October 19, 2021
good news, we still can! big fan of your fiction on the dangers of enforcing extremely rigid bio-essentialist ideas about gender btw
— michael wave: gourd boy edition (@SzMarsupial) October 19, 2021
Please don’t give aid and comfort to transphobes.
— meli-boo! 👻 (@melico24) October 19, 2021
You can say woman.
But ALSO it’s OK TO SAY PERSON.
YOULL BE FINE JESUS CHRIST MAGGIE.
— Concierge Marie (@CoadyQuilts) October 19, 2021
No one is banning the word “woman.” Many organizations are — rightly — opting for precise language when talking about things that have to do with biological traits rather than gender identity. It’s not an attack on womanhood to NOT equate gender with specific biology.
— Katie Mack (@AstroKatie) October 19, 2021
I’d have thought you would have understood this when a company called Gilead referred to women as “individuals who have receptive vaginal sex” pic.twitter.com/DfJuGxsBrS
— Women’s Voices (@WomenReadWomen) October 19, 2021
The idea that trans people are forcing cis women to to stop using the word woman exists to imply trans people are making irrational demands, and to dissuade trans people asking for inclusive language as an option, for fear of being dogpiled for “erasing the word woman”
— Laura Kate Dale (@LaurakBuzz) October 19, 2021
Why is this always directed at clear attempts to use inclusive language, and never at actual problems e.g. Republicans in America calling women “host bodies”?
— Anna 🏳️⚧️ (@EvolutionofAnna) October 19, 2021
‘woman’ is used 8 times in this very article, and ‘women’ 12. I’m not entirely convinced the premise here is corect. pic.twitter.com/Ptb71L3rqY
— Randeep (@randeep_93) October 19, 2021
Really disappointing to see you retweeting TERF rhetoric.
— Ana Mardoll (@AnaMardoll) October 19, 2021
Oh look you’re angry language is finally starting to include people like me.
Disappointed in you.
But not shocked.
I hear JKR is looking for friends. You can sit at her table.
— Ouaquaga on Chenango (@JnxOuaquaga) October 19, 2021
Welp, that’s an unfollow.
— Tabatha Southey (@TabathaSouthey) October 19, 2021
Earlier this month, author Joyce Carol Oates made a similar blunder when she launched an unprovoked assault on nonbinary people saying “they/them” pronouns are confusing and language is supposed to be about seeking clarity and blah, blah, blah. The 83-year-old later apologized.
No comment yet from Atwood, other than a few replies to angry followers telling them to “read Rosie’s piece” and insisting she’s “not a Terf” (the acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist).
For the record, we did read Rosie’s piece and she is, indeed, a TERF.
Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.