Ban the Word “Feminist”? The Problem With TIME Magazine’s Poll
Some may question why there should be so much talk surrounding one article dismissing feminism. There are other more important things to invest my time and energy into, right? Well, the answer is no.
TIME magazine is a renowned publication. Presidents and world leaders have graced the cover. The stories that come out of this magazine matter and the name TIME has power and authority in the realm of media. If a person makes TIME’s 100 Most Influential People In The World list, it is an honor and privilege. So when I read that TIME posted an article entitled Which Words Should Be Banned in 2015? I was completely taken aback and in outright denial they included the word ‘feminist’ on the list. Ironically, the same magazine presently has Taylor Swift on the cover with an interview featuring her discussing feminism. The same publication simultaneously has one article putting down feminists and one article talking about the importance of feminist issues. Someone seriously overlooked that one.
Prior TIME issues have dealt with controversial topics with a progressive attitude, such as Laverne Cox’s cover story entitled The Transgender Tipping Point. The same magazine promoting trans-awareness, which is inherently a feminist issue in itself, now decides it’s okay to denounce the women’s movement? I was seriously disturbed by this contradiction. TIME has since apologized for including the word ‘feminist’ amongst other words like “bae” and “turnt,” but it has exposed something vital about our society: why we need feminism now more than ever.
The article penned by Kath Steinmetz states we need to “quit throwing this label [feminist] around” and “when did it become a thing that every celebrity had to state their position [on feminism].” Firstly, celebrities have an immense influence on society whether we like it or not. In my opinion, we should be thrilled that more celebrities are openly embracing feminism and “throwing this label around.” People who had previously rejected the term are now identifying with it, such as the case of Taylor Swift, which I see as a positive influence on society, not a thing everyone is doing to be “cool.”
Moreover, why should we be be angry the label feminist is being tossed around? I will gladly label myself feminist. In fact, I would argue this label needs to be passed around even more; we should not be afraid to label ourselves as feminists. It cannot be overlooked that we still face inequalities: the wage gap, sexual harassment, reproductive rights, and violence, just to name a few. The label feminist holds weight; it is not a term to be taken lightly as TIME’s poll portrays it out to be. This fight is not going end any time soon, praising self-identified feminists by “throwing this label around” is one step forward in the on going battle.
The most repulsive feature of the article are the results of the poll itself. ‘Feminist’ was leading the poll in which word to ban in 2015. Furthermore, the other words on the poll such as “bae,” “turnt,” and “basic” are very racially charged. My post is focused specifically on the word ‘feminist,’ but I wanted to note that the matter of race would need a whole other article just to take up the issue.
TIME has since closed the poll and expressed regret, but it has further proved the necessity of feminism that many deny we need today. As the Huffington Post article states, Feminist Isn’t A Buzzword, It’s A Movement.
Instead of banning the word ‘feminist,’ we should celebrate it.