Banning ‘Feminism:’ TIME Caves to Feminist Media Outrage

November 17th, 2014 1:22 PM

TIME might not challenge today’s “feminism,” but reason will. 

In a Nov. 12 piece announcing TIME’s “fourth annual word banishment poll,” correspondent Katy Steinmetz asked, “Which Word Should Be Banned in 2015?” When the poll suggested the word “feminism,” the media vehemently (and ironically) reacted. Three days later, TIME caved.

After the feminist media uproar, Time’s managing editor Nancy Gibbs issued 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. 

That “distraction" came from those who would have most benefitted from “debate:” the feminist media.

Feminism today champions trends (think: free tampons) that insult women who face real threats while bashing women who think differently.

But “distraction” remained the focus as Bustle’s Chris Tognotti called the apology a “relief.” “Let it be known that you shouldn’t be piling dirt on ‘feminist,’” he wrote. “It’s a good word, for a great cause, and it’s here to stay.”

“Thankfully, it seems criticism of the magazine’s decision has overcome trolls’ support,” Salon’s Jenny Kutner gushed.

In opposition to the other voices, The Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow wrote, “The bullying campaign worked.” She continued: “This could have been a moment for radical feminists to rethink their tactics, but no, they confirmed everyone’s worst conceptions about the movement and thus set women back yet again.”