Apparently, for the last four years, Time Magazine, which still exists despite all evidence to the contrary, has conducted a poll of online users over which “Word of the Year” to ban. To this day, none of the winners, including “YOLO” and “twerk” have been effectively banned, as we know because people still insist on both using them, and that Miley Cyrus is being deliberately terrible in pursuit of some sort of Dada-esque artistic merit.
This year, in a fit of what is clearly masochism, Time decided to include the word “feminst,” which, by all accounts, thanks to the Internet’s perpetual cycle of outrage, has lost all meaning as an ideology. Their rationale? It’s become a celebrity buzzword, that movie stars and 25-year-old priveleged memoir authors plaster on themselves before considering, for example, which women-only sweatshop their designer-inspired makeup bag hails from.
feminist: 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.
Their point was inarticulately made, but prescient: feminism isn’t so much about women’s rights any longer as it is about the constant, deafening Internet wail of unemployed Women’s Studies majors with little to do except update their Tumblr pages and await the day their student loans come due. The marked change in strategy has meant that womens’ rights crusaders focus primarily on their own First World problems, like whether you can effectively weed out marketing majors on Tindr, and whether dry shampoo is, indeed, the latest in the Patriarchy’s tools of oppression. And, it seems, the problem of a major American publication questioning their commitment to actual womens’ rights.
The wailing, gnashing of teeth and relentless hair-pulling became so loud that Time, yesterday, felt forced to issue an apology.
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.
Which, of course, only served to make Time’s original point. Just four days ago, CNN published a story about global gendercide, which, according to UN estimates, accounts for 200 million women missing in the world today, simply because they were never given the chance to be born. Four days ago, most of the feminists on Twitter were more concerned with whether a guy who landed a robot on an asteroid for the first time in history should have worn a more appropriate shirt to his press conference.
For the greater part of this week, all attention has been focused on whether a magazine that is utterly incapable of actually banning any words in the English language or any other language, held a poll on whether a word should lose its spot in society because it has lost all meaning, thus demonstrating that a word has lost all meaning. Part of this is probably thanks to 4Chan, who discovered long ago how easy it was to goad the feminist Internet hive mind into a collective mental breakdown, but let’s put it this way: a collective mental breakdown by prominent women across the country over a meaningless Internet poll isn’t exactly broadcasting female empowerment.