Time apologizes for suggesting ban on the word "feminist"

The beleaguered magazine claims its attempt at sparking debate lacked nuance

By Jenny Kutner

Published November 17, 2014 2:11PM (EST)


Last week, Time magazine posted a list of suggested phrases to be considered in its fourth annual word banishment poll, which asks readers to vote from a series of (typically overused) terms on one that should be dropped from use in the coming year. Alongside words like "yaaasssss," "bossy," "turnt" and "kale," Time included the word "feminist," adding a brief explanation that decried the ever-increasing number of celebrities who identify with the label. There was outrage in response, but there was also trolling -- from the notorious misogynists at 4chan, who quickly voted "feminist" to the top of Time's poll.

Thankfully, it seems criticism of the magazine's decision has overcome trolls' support. Over the weekend, Time's managing editor, Nancy Gibbs, issued an apology for including "feminist" in the poll:

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.

The word still appears on the banishment list, but the poll itself comes after Gibbs' apology.

Jenny Kutner

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4chan Controversy Feminism Feminist Feminists Misogyny Online Misogyny Sexism Time Magazine