How the mighty have fallen. Feminist, a word that your mother would have proudly declared herself, has been devalued by decades of anti-feminist rhetoric. How else can we interpret the fact that Time has added it to its list of obnoxious terms up for banishment in 2015?
On Time’s list, feminist is right up there with the words “literally” and “bae” in terms of its cringe-worthy factor, according to a recent post on the magazine’s website in service of the magazine’s fourth annual “word banishment poll”—in which readers vote to officially cast off played out and/or obnoxious phrases and terms. Previous “winners” include twerk, OMG and YOLO.
Some of the other words up for contention in 2015 are “influencer,” “basic,” “said no one ever,” “sorry not sorry” and “yaaasssss.”
Why is feminist on this goofy list? According to Time’s Katy Steinmetz, it’s guilt by association. “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,” she writes.
However, I don’t really see her point. I’m assuming that what she objects to is the nonsensical manipulation of the term, i.e., when a starlet or singer gets naked to sell something and declares herself an empowered feminist so we conveniently forget the irony. If that’s the case, then argue for smarter cultural conversations and more pointed responses to nonsense rather than abandoning the term all together.
I don’t want to see feminist banned. In fact, I’m calling for the opposite. I’d like to see it proliferate in 2015. I’d like to see and hear every human being—male and female, starlets and singers, naked and otherwise—declare themselves in favour of the term and its associated issues.
And I’d also like to offer a ninth-hour substitution. Instead of feminist, let’s ban misogyny in 2015. That, and influencer.