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Synonyms: Femslash, sapphic
See also: Bisexuality and fandom
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wlw stands for woman-loving woman, or women loving women. It is thought to have originated in Black American Vernacular English in the 1920s,[1][2] but has since been more widely adopted.

It has come to be regarded and used as an umbrella term that refers to two (or more) female-presenting or woman-aligned individuals in a relationship, regardless of what their specific sexualities or labels might be. This might mean that fans can agree on a headcanon of a character as wlw without needing to debate whether this character would identify as bisexual, lesbian, queer or something else; or that fans can talk about ships in terms that they see as more inclusive of different sexualities. E.g.:

Full disclosure, I am a bi woman, and since the start of the show, I’ve seen Vanya as a lesbian, though if I had to describe her canon-wise right now I’d just say “wlw” due to lack of confirmation. If she’s bisexual, or pansexual (or another label that I cannot think of at the moment)? That’s fantastic, any LGBT+ rep is important to have and should be celebrated.[3]

"Wlw fandom" tends to be used to denote fans who are wlw, rather than fans of wlw ships/characters, though naturally many wlw fans will also be fans of wlw characters and ships.


This article or section needs expansion.

Rise of the term in fandom? Do certain fans prefer to use wlw over femslash?

Pokemon Fandom

After Wooloo was revealed as a new Pokémon featured in Pokemon Sword and Shield, fans began to play on the Pokémon's name and the term wlw, creating "wooloowoo" fanart with Wooloo coloured to resemble various Pride flags and/or depicted in wlw relationships. Others made jokes that "Wooloowoo" was the evolved form of Wooloo and was a lesbian or Pride-type Pokémon.[4][5]

A fan comment in 2019:

I genuinely love how the wlw community saw Wooloo and we immediately claimed her as one of us[6]


  1. ^ WLW, SlangLang.net, accessed April 24, 2021.
  2. ^ Even if the origin of the term “wlw” lies in black lesbian communities, Tumblr post by butchcommunist, October 22, 2015. (Accessed April 24, 2021).
  3. ^ An excerpt from a longer meta post about Vanya Hargreeves from Umbrella Academy, by probiepannikar. Posted August 7, 2020 (Accessed May 7, 2021).
  4. ^ Tumblr post by plimsoll-punk, June 5, 2019. wooloo evolves into wooloowoo and its category is the lesbian pokemon (Accessed May 6, 2021).
  5. ^ Tumblr post by earlgraytay, June 5, 2019. is the evolution of wooloo called wooloowoo / does it have rainbow fur / asking for science (Accessed May 6, 2021).
  6. ^ Tumblr post by claraowl, published June 6, 2019 (Accessed May 6, 2021).