Time magazine apologises for suggesting we ban ‘feminist’

Oh, you know what women are like. Always wanting equal rights, like the ability to walk down the street or to be on Twitter without being threatened with violence, or to be paid the same as men for work of the same value. Feminism: what a snooze, right?

That seemed to be what Time magazine was thinking last week when they published their annual poll of the most annoying words of the past year. Along with ‘bae’, ‘yaaasss’, and the perennially irritating ‘disrupt’, they suggested ‘feminist’ as a word that we might like to ban in 2015.

But, they went on to explain in a short commentary under the poll (in which the winner should CLEARLY be ‘om nom nom nom’ – what are we, babies? From 2009?), it’s not that fighting for equal rights is a problem, it’s that we keep blathering on about it (when we should be scrubbing the kitchen floor, presumably):

‘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.’

Predictably, women saw this less as a tongue in cheek attempt to ‘disrupt’ the conversation around equal rights and more of a slap in the face, suggesting gender equality is a passing fad. Also predictably, the bros from 4Chan and men’s rights groups sent out a bat signal to flood Time with anti-‘feminist’ votes.

The magazine’s now had a rethink, halting the poll and adding a new introduction to the article, which says that including feminism on the list was misguided and that ‘While we meant to invite debate about some ways the word was used this year, that nuance was lost.’

Ultimately, of course it matters more whether politicians or the heads of news organisations care about issues that affect women than how pop stars label themselves, and if Time had dared to approach the topic in a less inflammatory way it might actually have opened up an interesting conversation. But by framing feminism as something women need to shut up about, they just perpetuated sexism.

And, almost as bad, they took attention away from the important issue of getting people to stop saying ‘om nom nom nom’. Unacceptable.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

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