The author of The Handmaid's Tale tweeted a column defending the word 'woman' and the woke are outraged

(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Margaret Atwood is the Canadian author whose most famous creation is the dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” about a future American theocracy in which women have no rights. The book was published in 1985 and more recently became a popular television show starring Elizabeth Moss. The show, which premiered in 2016,  inspired a lot of political activity, especially during he confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh when women in red handmaid cloaks were a frequent site at protests. Atwood’s creation has really become part of the American political zeitgeist.


Today, Margaret Atwood did something that has some people on the left freaking out. She shared a column on Twitter:

The article in question is from the Toronto Star. Author Rosie DiManno argues that efforts to make language inclusive have gone too far.

“Woman” is in danger of becoming a dirty word … struck from the lexicon of officialdom, eradicated from medical vocabulary and expunged from conversation.

Which is a bitchy thing to do to half the world’s population.

It shouldn’t leave well-meaning people tongue-tied, lest they be attacked as transphobic or otherwise insensitive to the increasingly complex constructs of gender.

“The Lancet,” the prestigious and highly influential British medical journal, put “Bodies with Vaginas” on the cover of its latest issue, referring to an article inside, entitled “Periods on Display,” a review of an exhibit about the history of menstruation at the Vagina Museum in London.

DiManno also references the recent ACLU tweet in which they revised a quote by Ruth Bader Ginsburg to make it more inclusive. But then DiManno touches the third rail of social justice politics by suggesting that maybe JK Rowling had a point.

All of this recalls the point bestselling author J.K. Rowling was trying to make, wryly, in a tweet that got her bludgeoned by the mob: “People who menstruate. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

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…

Certainly there are words — they are slurs mostly — that are no longer acceptable. “Woman” shouldn’t be one of them.


On social media today, this argument is considered positively regressive and hostile. So Atwood, as a feminist icon, is taking a lot of heat. Of course not everyone is upset. Some people are basically saying “Welcome to the party, pal!”

But, popcorn aside, the woke really are coming for her.


This guy writes for the Colbert show but really I could go on and on. There are thousands of angry leftists swarming over her tweet:

Atwood attempted to pushback a bit saying that the author of the column was not a TERF:

I don’t think Atwood gets it…yet. A TERF is anyone the woke left decides is the enemy of their agenda. That means the author of the column and, because she shared it, Atwood is now a TERF too. At least she will be unless she recants, which is still a real possibility. Seriously, it’s either walk this back or become a permanent exile online like JK Rowling. Frankly, Atwood has a lot wrapped up in support from the left. It’s not just her book and the ongoing TV show, it’s her entire legacy. I’m not sure she can afford to have her fanbase turn on her over a tweet. Wouldn’t be surprised to see her issue a groveling apology within the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the revived Gawker has already written a piece calling her too old to know what she’s talking about:


To be clear, Atwood was born in 1939, back when the Ontario Hockey Association’s Oshawa Generals had only just won their first Memorial Cup by besting the Edmonton Athletic Club Roamers at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. That is to say, she is quite old and likely had no idea what she was wading into here.

Most of the replies to Atwood follow the same script, i.e. person is more inclusive than woman so let’s use that. I found this particular exchange interesting. It starts out the same as the others but someone points out that sometimes you may want to differentiate between men and women or moms and dads.

And back to the point about “firefighter.”

This is a debate we really ought to be having but the response to Atwood’s tweet shows why we aren’t having it. Frankly the problem isn’t the idea that maybe in some circumstances we could use more inclusive language. Again, that’s something reasonable people can discuss. The problem is that the left is increasingly not made up of reasonable people. It is made up of people who will consider you a heroine one moment and then tell you to “F**k off” the instant you fail to toe the line, whatever line that is. Today, Margaret Atwood is learning that lesson the hard way.


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