Time Magazine has apologized for including the word “feminist” in its annual list of words to ban for the new year. Nancy Gibbs, the magazine’s managing editor, penned an apology that is included as an editor’s note above the article:
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.
“Feminist” was nominated along with words like “bae,” “basic,” “disrupt,” “kale,” “bossy” and “turnt,” among others, with humorous explanations of the words. Previous castoffs have included OMG, YOLO and twerk. "Feminist" has since been removed from the poll.
As for why Time's staff chose to have readers vote the word "off the island" in the first place, its inclusion was explained: “You have nothing against feminism itself, but when did it become a thing that every celebrity had to state their position on whether this word applies to them, like some politician declaring a party? Let’s stick to the issues and quit throwing this label around like ticker tape at a Susan B. Anthony parade.”
Adding "feminist" to the list was clearly an attempt at humor, but it left a bad taste in quite a few readers’ mouths. Blogger and professor Roxane Gay wrote in an opinion piece for the Washington Post, “The list is supposed to be funny, but it is largely a policing of the vernacular of anyone who isn’t a white, heterosexual man."
In the Los Angeles Times, blogger Susan Rohwer opined it was “deeply troubling a news organization like Time would suggest banning a word that means something as basic and seemingly uncontroversial as ‘all humans deserve the same rights regardless of their gender.’ Apparently, we need yet another reminder of why anti-feminist rhetoric like this needs to end.”
The New York Review of Books, Planned Parenthood and others all weighed in on social media, generally panning the magazine’s decision to include the word on its banishment poll.