Women, Wimmin, Womyn


Dominika Chruszcz

Sabrina Lopez and Grace Coudal, founders of Lane’s Organization of Womyn, showcase the W.

By Dominika Chruszcz

The English language consists of more than 170,000 words. Each sentence, each phrase, each expression can be carefully strung together to create one of most powerful meanings. Some may argue that a spelling change would cause someone to stop and think.

And it can. This is exactly what the word “womyn” strives to do.

So why the Y?

Ms. Feuer, an English teacher and sponsor of the Organization of Womyn, explains that the word “woman” does not have to be a variation of the word “man.”

“The feminist movement has in recent years played with that, to say it doesn’t have to be about a man,” Feuer said.

Since their early stages in the late 19th century, feminist movements have progressed in waves. According to the library at the University of Chicago, the first-wave of feminism went from campaigning for a right to vote to a fourth-wave in the 21st century where feminism isn’t linked to “women only” but gender equity for all.

Not only has there been more mainstream publicity about sexual abuse, slut-shaming, unequal pay and the overall underrepresentation of women in political discourse and science, Lane caught on with its own feminist movement.

Club President Sabrina Lopez, Div. 751, said “The Organization of Womyn is an intersectional feminism club that welcome people of all genders, sexuality, race and religion.”

The term “intersectionality” means that various groups of people have different aspects of themselves that may be responded to with discrimination and oppression.

Co-founder Grace Coudal, Div. 779, said that she has identified as a feminist ever since she started making zines and writing slam poetry.

“I am a feminist because women make up 50 percent of our population and yet we have still never been given the equal rights we deserve,” Coudal said.

Lopez started the club in response to her friend at Payton who was involved in the school’s own Organization of Womyn.

“I realized we didn’t really have anything like that at Lane,” she said.

Contrary to the stereotypical belief that the club is just for women, the club fulfills interest for anyone who cares about a woman figure in their life, whether that be a mother, sister or friend.

“It’s not just a club for women,” Feuer said. “Just like my [Women in Literature] class is not just for women. You can be a member of BSA or you can be a member of the Muslim Student Association. You have an interest in supporting that group or in their culture.”

The Organization of Womyn holds events of their own. This month they’re holding a tampon drive for the homeless.

“Menstruation products are usually overpriced and so having to decide whether paying for these products is essential versus a meal is an added stressor to an already stressful situation,” Lopez said.  

These menstruation products belong to the “pink tax” where hygienic-care items are taxed ultimately because they’re tailored towards women. The “pink tax” refers to the extra amount of money a woman pays for goods and services.

According to the The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, women often pay between 3 and 48 percent more for the same products geared towards men, such as razors, deodorant, and perfume.  

The fact that such a tax exists can be viewed as unfair, but the idea that homeless shelters often overlook the need for female hygiene products can truly be baffling. Anyone can leave donations in Room 229, which is also where the group meets every week on Wednesdays to talk about impending issues.

The organization can provide individuals with a safe space where any issues can be acknowledged.

“As long as we support each other and listen we can make a change,” Coudal said. “We need to change gender equality not only in America but in the world.”