In your opinion which word would you choose to be banned in 2015? Perhaps you would go for some of the cringier classics: ‘yolo’, ‘bae’ or even ‘twerk’. But what about the word ‘feminist’?
Time magazine has become embroiled in controversy after including the word ‘feminist’ as one of their choice words to exclude from day to day conversation. Time’s reasoning for including this was that “you have nothing against feminism itself, but when did it become a thing that every celebrity had to state their position on whether this word applies to them, like some politician declaring a party? Let’s stick to the issues and quit throwing this label around like ticker tape at a Susan B. Anthony parade.”
Reports earlier this week have suggested that ‘feminist’ led the poll of words to be banned, with around 45% of the vote – thanks to a majority voting from 4Chan and 9Gag who are renowned for their anti-feminist content.
So why was ‘feminist’ included? When Time released this article were they really thinking about what feminism actually means to thousands of women? Although the word isn’t perfect, it has been a rallying point for women around the world. To dismiss the word ‘feminist’ is to dismiss the movement that has empowered so many today.
Perhaps the problem with Time including ‘feminist’ as part of their entourage of terrible words is that many define it with the extremist groups. Not all feminists are man hating, unwashed totalitarians. Quite the opposite. Let’s go back to the very beginning to the suffragettes who used feminism as a way of liberating themselves and gaining some sense of equality and freedom in society.
The word has led to great social change and there’s so much more still to be done. Women still face sexual harassment on a day to day basis and face discrimination in the employment market. Women are under represented in top level jobs and in our elected government. The feminist movement is not redundant and therefore we cannot allow the word to become obsolete. We need to be proud of the word ‘feminist’ and rather than trivialising the movement and singling it out as a negative declaration we must take charge of the word once more. Its portrayal as a divisive movement only demeans it further.
Although the word was taken down, the Time article has highlighted a significant problem and the question remains the same: Why must we continually degrade any sense of identification as a woman?