Word of the year 2017? Merriam Webster says Feminism
Ha. What else could it be? Word of the year 2017? Merriam Webster says Feminism. It was a top search throughout the year. It saw several spikes that corresponded to various news reports and events. “The general rise in lookups of the word feminism tells us that many people are interested in this word; specific spikes give us insight into some of the reasons why,” noted Merriam Webster.
Merriam-Webster defines feminism as the “theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activities on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”
There is a lot that went on through 2017 to put feminism on the front pages. After decades of this movement beginning we finally saw the world wake up to understanding that it underlines the basics of women’s rights. Feminism searches spiked following news coverage of the Women’s March on Washington, DC in January (and other related marches held around America and internationally), and follow-up discussions regarding whether the march was feminist, and what kind of feminism was represented by organizers and attendees. The word spiked again when Kellyanne Conway said during an interview that she didn’t consider herself a feminist. In this case, the definition of feminism was itself the subject of the news story—an invitation for many people to look up the word.
Harvey Weinstein, we imagine, led people to search for feminism. Lookups of feminism have been increasing in conjunction with the many accounts of sexual assault and harassment in the news. Many women have come forward to share their stories with journalists and many more women joined in on social media using the #MeToo hashtag to say that they too have been affected by such behaviour. “The string of breaking news stories regarding the resignations, firings, or dismissals of men who have been charged with sexual harassment or assault has kept this story in the news,” noted MW.
It provoked discussion on caste hierarchies, generational disparities in the feminist sorority and firmly put social media as the primary medium the millennial woman was going to adopt to dismantle the patriarchy
Women were mainstreaming feminism, and feminist became the new epithet to throw at a woman.
Lookups of feminism have been increasing in conjunction with the many accounts of sexual assault and harassment in the news
Donald J Trump has inspired the biggest awakening of feminism since the Suffragettes tweeted Amy Siskind, President of The New Agenda. Advocate for women’s, LGBTQ rights and equality. “Sometimes the catalyst for progress and change is resistance to hatred and darkness.”
Interest in the dictionary definition of feminism was also driven by entertainment this year: we saw increased lookups after the release of both Hulu’s series The Handmaid’s Tale and the film Wonder Woman.