Margaret Atwood Accused of Transphobia on Twitter

The 'Handmaid's Tale' author posted support for 'Toronto Star' writer Rosie DiManno, who condemned the use of gender-inclusive language in an op-ed

Photo: Mauro Rico / Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación

BY Allie GregoryPublished Oct 19, 2021

Handmaid's Tale author and Toronto-based woman Margaret Atwood has come under fire for her support of an op-ed that many Twitter users consider to be transphobic.

This morning, Atwood shared a link to an article titled "Why can't we say 'woman' anymore?" which, among dozens of TERF dog whistles, also contains the following passage:

"[J.K.] Rowling was branded a TERF — activists do like their neologisms — meaning trans exclusionary radical feminist. As if she was hostile to the trans movement, which she assuredly is not."

The article, written by Rosie DiManno for the Toronto Star, implies that the Harry Potter author and known transphobe's gender-critical views "got her bludgeoned by the mob" of trans rights activists. The article also claims that in the "outer orbit of linguistics," the word "woman" is "being blotted out" because of medical texts that use language inclusive of all genders. Further, the article reduces pregnant people who aren't cis women to a "tiny" number of people "born with female genitals."

The supposed "erasure" of women is among the most common tropes of TERF rhetoric — however, Atwood has still come to DiManno's defence, telling her followers: "Read her piece. She's not a Terf."

Many disagree with Atwood, as well as DiManno, and, as we all know by now, Rowling, on their stance that womanhood is being erased by gender-inclusive language. Several of Atwood's followers have pointed to the fact that no one is banning the use of the term "woman," meanwhile, the use of gender-inclusive language does not specifically target women or "people who menstruate," as there is a spectrum of genders represented by such terms.

See Atwood's tweets, as well as Twitter's reaction, below.

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