Time gave its readers a list of 14 candidates that included "kale", "disrupt", "influencer", "said no one ever" and ... "feminist". I try to imagine the meeting at which the list was being drawn up and someone was proposing "feminist" and all I can think of is Ricky Gervais. But it went on the list and a writer (named Katy Steinmetz -- imagine how this story goes if a man writes the article) generated the article summarizing the arguments to ban each offending word. (To throw another log on the irony fire, Steinmetz wrote this article earlier in the year, snarking at other persons' efforts to ban words.) Her campaign speech to ban "feminist" was:
"You have nothing against feminism itself, but when did it become a thing that [link in original]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."
So the poll was launched and, of all things, which word jumps way ahead of all the others but "feminist." OOPS! Who saw that coming (said no one ever, at least within Time Inc.).
And then Glenn Reynolds called attention to it in his USA Today column
and apparently a backlash grew about
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.