Anti-Woke Arkansas Governor Mandates Use of Gender-Specific Terms in State Documents

Arkansas Capitol © Paul Brady |

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas has issued an executive order directing state agencies to use gender-specific terms when describing women in official documentation.

The move is aimed at countering the recent trend of adopting “culturally conscious” or “inclusive” language that erases the identity of women.

In her executive order, Governor Sanders wrote, “The science is clear and real; There are things only women can do, like perform the miracle of birth. Government should reject language that ignores, undermines, and erases women. Instead, it should celebrate gender distinctions between men and women.”

The directive comes at a time when institutions across the U.S., from schools to workplaces, are reevaluating language that defy science.

For instance, terms such as “pregnant people” have been introduced to claim that not all individuals who can become pregnant identify as women.

However, Governor Sanders’ new mandate specifically requires Arkansas state entities to use terms such as “pregnant women” or “pregnant mom” when referring to expectant individuals. Additionally, the terms “menstruating person” or “chestfeeding” will be replaced with “woman” and “breastfeeding,” respectively.

This decision has stirred a nationwide debate on language and gender identity. Critics argue that inclusive language recognizes the diverse experiences of individuals beyond traditional gender norms. Proponents of Sanders’ decision believe that gender-specific terms uphold the unique experiences of women.

Other regions in the U.S. have also been scrutinized for their language directives.

Recently, Portland, Oregon, encouraged city staff to use a “culturally conscious” vocabulary. An elementary school in Vermont, including Broward County, Florida,  made headlines for removing “male” and “female” language from science lessons on human anatomy.

Sanders’ order provides a detailed list of forbidden terms and their designated replacements. For instance, “breast milk” should be used instead of “human milk,” and “woman” is preferred over alternative spellings like “womxn” or “womyn.”

Governor Sanders’ decision underscores a larger national debate on gender identity, language, and inclusivity. How institutions navigate this delicate terrain will likely continue to shape discussions on gender and identity for years to come.

Here are the forbidden terms and their now-mandatory replacements, per the order.

a. Rather than “pregnant people” or “pregnant person,” use “pregnant women” or “pregnant mom.”

b. Rather than “chestfeeding,” use “breastfeeding.”

c. Rather than “body fed” or “person fed,” use “breast fed.”

d. Rather than “human milk,” use “breast milk.”

e. Rather than “birthing person,” use “birth mom.”

f. Rather than “laboring person,” use “birth mom.”

g. Rather than “menstruating person” or “menstruating people,” use “woman” or “women.”

h. Rather than “birth-giver,” use “woman.”

i. Rather than “womxn” or “womyn,” use “woman.”


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