It's official: leading US dictionary Merriam-Webster says that its 2017 word of the year is 'feminism'. Peter Sokolowski, Mirriam-Webster's editor-at-large said that people searching for the word was up 70 percent. "The word was in the air", said Sokolowski.
Described as “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes” by the dictionary, the word 'feminism also means “organised activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests”.
Other contenders for 2017’s prize were “complicit” (which was widely used in the Trump/Russia scandal) and “dotard” (which is the adjective Kim Jong-un used to describe the US president).
The word 'feminism' got a huge boost with the November 21 Women's March in DC and around the world. With Women's Marches all over America, the event is considered to be the largest activism march ever.
Just when searches were perhaps slowing down, the #metoo movement began, which put 'feminism' once again on the front burner, boosted yet again by TIME magazine's person of the year award as 'The Silence Breakers'.
Republican women do not strongly identify with the word 'feminist' and Mirriam-Webster says Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway also gave searches a boost. The Washington Post clarifies:
“It’s difficult for me to call myself a feminist in the classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male and it certainly is very pro-abortion, and I’m neither anti-male or pro-abortion. So, there’s an individual feminism, if you will, that you make your own choices…. I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances,” Conway said during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor in Maryland last February.
In fact, feminism is not pro-abortion, but a core belief is the women have a right to control our own bodies and that opposition to a right to birth control, for example, is now unconstitutional. Feminism does emphasize body autonomy within a range of sensible restrictions.