Feminist Hulk Smash

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 7.55.42 PMTime Magazine, feminism, and the end of journalistic integrity, if that was ever actually a thing

So Time magazine (I use the phrase “magazine” loosely at this point) released this poll today, Which Word Should Be Banned in 2015? It’s dumb and ill-conceived and totally flawed — half of the “words” are actually phrases — but, well, read the list for yourself and guess what really pisses me off.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 6.36.09 PM
One of these words is not like the others…

Yes, you read that correctly. Among tumblr phrases, text abbreviations, and for some unknown reason, the word “bossy,” lies the word feminist. 

Speaking of tumblr phrases…I can’t even.

I’m not a very angry person. I don’t usually write angry blog posts. I mean hell, the first person I came out to — a therapist, no less — told me I probably wasn’t actually gay, but she had no experience in that area, and she suggested I go to church, and we never spoke of it again. And I’m not angry at her. Because I’m not an angry person. But I get truly upset when people tell me that “feminism” is a fraught word or a controversial concept.

Okay. Before I just totally Hulk out, let’s start at the beginning. If you say you’re not a feminist, or if you say “I don’t need feminism,” I would really and truly like to give you the benefit of the doubt: maybe you just don’t know what “feminism” actually means.

Quick! Put on your goggles! Don your traveling coat! It’s into the dictionary we go!

From Merriam-Webster's Dictionary
From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

Great. So we’ve established what a feminist is. It’s someone who believes that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.

“So, Queer Girl,” you say (although why you’re still talking to me I don’t know, since we obviously don’t get along), “if a feminist believes in equal rights for the sexes, why not just call that humanism?”

I’ll let Sherrie Silman of Feminspire answer that:

Feminism operates on the tenet that gender is not an acceptable basis for discrimination, subjugation, marginalization, oppression, enslavement, and/or eradication. …It’s called Feminism because the gender being denied personhood and subjected to other oppressions was (and still is) female, hence the “fem.”

“But Queer Girl!” (Omg, you’re still here). “It’s 2014. Hilary Clinton is going to run for president! Women aren’t really being “denied personhood and subjected to other oppressions” anymore. I mean my god, look at Taylor Swift, she makes way more money than I do, and she’s like 22!”

If you think that women aren’t marginalized in 2014: first of all, I assume you’re only thinking of, like, the good old US of A and places in Western Europe. But all right, since we’re there, let’s have that conversation. How are women being marginalized in the US today? Why in the world would a modern American woman need feminism? I mean, women already got Sex and the City, isn’t that enough?

Oh, I don’t know, we might need feminism, off the top of my head, in the last couple of weeks, because of…

And so many other reasons. That was a pretty weaksauce list, actually. I could just keep adding and sorting items literally all night. But I’ve hit 500 words in this post, and I’ve got some men to emasculate in the living room, so.

And my god, if you truly just are so stubborn and you hate the word “feminism,” fine. I’ll call it “canned peaches,” I don’t care. But the need for gender equality — in the United States, but ESPECIALLY in other parts of the world —  is not something that is up for debate.

2 thoughts on “Feminist Hulk Smash

  1. Update: “feminist” is winning as the word that should be banned. It’s winning by a lot. It’s got 48% of the “vote,” behind bae at 13%. In other words, fuck the internet, I’m going home.


  2. Update update: Time’s sorry (not sorry) statement below.

    Editor’s Note:

    TIME apologizes for the execution of this poll; the word ‘feminist’ should not have been included in a list of words to ban. While we meant to invite debate about some ways the word was used this year, that nuance was lost, and we regret that its inclusion has become a distraction from the important debate over equality and justice.

    –Nancy Gibbs


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