UCLA Daily Bruin Loses Letter to the Editor Over Dispute About Spelling of Word ‘Women’

Members of a student group at UCLA recently pulled a letter to the editor they had submitted to The Daily Bruin after the paper’s editors declined to run the group’s favored alternative spelling for the word “women.”

As Bruin staff explained in an editor’s note (hat tip @Westendorf), “[T]he Asian Pacific Coalition decided to withdraw a submission to our Opinion section which addressed two incidents of racist and sexist slurs against Asian American women that occurred on campus last week.  The submission contained the word ‘womyn.’  The Daily Bruin informed the students in charge of the submission that we would not publish that word in our newspaper and asked for the word to be changed to ‘women.’ The students who handled the submission felt that taking this word out did not allow them to convey their message.”

According to Google, womyn is a “nonstandard spelling of ‘women’ adopted by some feminists in order to avoid the word ending -men.”

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In a post on the group’s blog featuring the letter, the APC writes, “The Daily Bruin won’t accept the term ‘womyn’ in their news magazine because of ‘journalistic balance’ and wants to change it to ‘women.’  They can accept the terms ‘whore’ and ‘sluts’ yet not womyn?  Again, the API [Asian-Pacific Islanders] and womyn community on campus are being silenced!  APC stands to represent all API womyn on campus and thus will NOT be publishing our letter to the DB.”

What do you think?  Should the Bruin have accepted the alternative spelling, given its inclusion in a letter submitted by an activist group with seemingly noble intentions? Or is the paper correct in sticking to its editorial guns over a word that, let’s be honest, is considered correct and nonthreatening with a ‘men’ ending by most people on planet Earth?

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