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.

“I am happy that it is the word of the year,” says Elsamarie DSilva of Safecity. “In India unfortunately Feminism is equated with women’s rights and is not seen as gender equality or the equality amongst the sexes. So I hope having it as word of the year will inform more people on its true definition and inspire them to be feminists or advocates of gender equality as it benefits everyone.”

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.

“The most people discuss and debate the evolving nature of feminism, the better it is for the community whose main objective is equality. I believe the world needs to better understand what feminism stands for, and so this digital wave and the surge in the search for the word is great news,” says Shaili Chopra, Founder of SheThePeople.
“High time feminism made it to word of the year and I couldn’t be more chuffed,” notes Kiran Manral, Ideas Editor at SheThePeople. “Feminism is a word that is much used, and much misunderstood, and the year 2017 has seen a strong, vocal movement by women to reclaim their space and tell their stories, whether of abuse or others with campaigns like #MeToo #AintNoCinderella and more.”

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

In India, feminism came under debate and fire with the Raya Sarkar #MeToo list of academia, with the battle lines being drawn firmly between feminists on either side of the fence, those for the naming and shaming and those against. 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.

A film like Lipstick Under My Burkha fought a pitched battle with the censors because it dared address the real issue of female sexuality in small town India. Casual sexism began to be called out, whether on social platforms or on entertainment channels. The Women’s Cricket team made us proud. Women were mainstreaming feminism, and feminist became the new epithet to throw at a woman. “Frankly, that made it a badge of honour. Here’s to feminism, may we ensure that the many waves it has been through break down the stone wall of the patriarchy,” Kiran adds.

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.

 

Email us at connect@shethepeople.tv