We Spleen: TIME‘s “Feminist” Hate-Fest

Feminist. Feminist. Feminist. Screw you, TIME!

That was my immediate reaction when I read that TIME had included “feminist” on a list of choices for its annual “worst words” poll, where readers can select the inescapable and overused buzzword of the year that they never want to hear again. The criteria for such distasteful words:

If you hear that word one more time, you will definitely cringe. You may exhale pointedly. And you might even seek out the nearest pair of chopsticks and thrust them through your own eardrums like straws through plastic lids.

(In the past, words such as “twerk,” “OMG” and “YOLO” have won).

In her explanation for including “feminist” in the poll, TIME correspondent Katy Steinmetz wrote:

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.

First off, where are these Susan B. Anthony parades happening because that sounds incredible and way more fun than the ones I throw by myself in my apartment.

And second, we here at Ms. think the feminist “moment” we’re having right now is a great thing, something to be celebrated. That the word feminist has blitzed into the zeitgeist on such a scale that it’s now a question bound to pop up in celebrity interviews helps to kill the perception that feminism is some radical fringe movement. There’s nothing fringe-y about it.

Feminism is just, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie put it, a belief in the “social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” It’s not some flash-in-the-pan pop culture trope, it’s a social movement that’s helped to put issues like reproductive justice, equal pay, sexual assault and domestic violence on the map.

Sadly, feminism is leading the pack in “ban it!” votes. But, according to a report at Jezebel, it looks like the knuckle-dragging trolls over at the misogynistic 4Chan are responsible for that. Jezebel shared a screenshot taken from one of the 4Chan forums where everyone is being pushed to vote for “feminist” in the poll, with one user posting, “Let’s trigger some bitches.” See the depressing TIME results for yourself below:

To all the haters, all I have to say is sorry not sorry, bae! Feminists are obvi going to keep getting turnt and being bossy, and if you can’t even with that, you can go om nom nom nom on some kale with your basic self.

Maybe I can do a write-in vote for words more deserving like “feminazi,” “reverse sexism,” or “TIME”?

Tell TIME you disagree with their decision—sign the Feminist Majority Foundation’s petition!

Screenshot of Beyonce’s VMA performance taken from MTV.com



Associate editor of Ms. magazine