Any guesses? This may or may not turn out to be a surprise, but Merriam-Webster’s word of the year has been selected-elected and it is – well – “feminism” (isn’t a surprise to me).
So it has been a long year or maybe two for the word ‘feminism’ which has emerged out since a couple of years – so much that in 2017, the lookups for ‘feminism’ increased by over 70% compared to that in 2016. This achievement for feminism came after following the Women’s March in Washington DC and around the world. Then again, the searches spiked in late February when US president Donald Trump’s spokesperson Kellyanne Conway said at a conservative conference that she didn’t consider herself a feminist, and again when the revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment of women in Hollywood triggered other accounts of assault to mushroom.
Defined as ‘the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes’, feminism word was famed during the ‘Me Too’ movement that rose out of dust by Harvey’s allegations and further other ‘silence breakers’ that brought down rich and famous men of media, politics and the entertainment worlds. Widely used over social media in a general way to describe inclination towards equality of females, this word is even regarded for the gritty hatred towards men. But it is all about evolution as the word was first entered in an English dictionary in 1841, by Noah Webster, when it was defined simply as “the qualities of females”.
Feminism has been in Merriam-Webster’s annual Top 10 for the last few years, including sharing word-of-the-year honors with other “isms” in 2015. Socialism, fascism, racism, communism, capitalism and terrorism rounded out the bunch. Surreal was the word of the year last year. In a year that powerful, white men lost their positions and jobs when called to account for sexual assault, “feminism” was a weapon in women’s arsenal, an ally in a heady time and that is what has emerged the word as the word of the year.