Gretchen L. Kelly, Author

OMG, Time Magazine- You Are So Cray

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I can't believe...

“Done, done, on to the next one

Done I’m done and I’m on to the next one”

-Foo Fighers, All My Life

Oh, Time Mag. You’re like, literally, so smart. I read your annual word banishment poll yesterday and I can’t even…

I love your witty and oh so patronizing list you publish every year. You’re so hip and cutting edge. I wait with bated breath every year to hear what the bastion of cool-ness has to say about words that no respectable Chick Fil A manager would ever utter again. Like, ever.

‘Cept this year you kinda ‘effed up. This year you (spoiler alert) added FEMINIST to the list.

And every intelligent equality-loving non-hater was like “Whaaat???”

I mean, for seriously, WTF Time Magazine.

Lemme clue you in. Equality. Bam. ‘Nuff said.

Imma quote you here “Let’s stick to the issues and quit throwing this label around like ticker tape at a Susan B. Anthony parade.” Aw, you’re using snarkiness. I do love me some snark. Except when it’s used as a tool for ignorant speak.

Quick history lesson: Susan B. Anthony was one bossy bitch. She was bad-ass. She didn’t shrink away from thoughts and ideas and labels that may have been considered unsavory by those who willingly trudged through the murk of ignorance and hate. She and countless other women fought for basic equal rights for women. Rights that we all apparently take for granted every time we eschew the Feminism label. Kind of important rights. Like the right to vote. The right for women to own land. The right to not be raped by their husbands. We’re talking 94 years ago this went down. Except for marital rape laws. Marital rape wasn’t considered a crime in all 50 states until 1993.

In the history of our country, we’re still in the adolescent years of women’s rights. Feminism isn’t fully grown yet. Feminism still has a lot of maturing to do. We still need equal pay. We still need to do something about the fact that women are objects for some men to use and abuse and objectify and discard and demean.

When will feminism be fully grown and not a “thing” anymore? When one in four college women aren’t raped or sexually assaulted. When 3 women don’t die each day at the vicious hands of domestic violence. When girls aren’t shamed for wearing leggings to school. When women in the gaming world don’t have to endure death threats and threats of rape. When women can go online without fear of being stalked and harassed to the point of having to flee their homes and the on-line world for safety. When nude photos of women aren’t gleefully shared and spread around like a copulating circle jerk.

When? When women around the world are no longer subjected to genital mutilation. When women aren’t victims of “honor killings.” When women don’t have to brandish baseball bats to go after abusers because police shrug off their reports of attacks. When girls aren’t punished or killed for trying to get an education.

When… when… when I can look at my daughters and know that they will have the same opportunities and rights and safe passage that my son will have. When I can tell my children that women and children around the world are treated as humans. When boys and men don’t have to subscribe to some ridiculous and oppressive notion of being “tough” and non-emotive and hyper-masculine.

So you see, Time Mag. We’ve got a long way to go. You may be annoyed that the Beyonce’s of the world are declaring their Feminist position. Maybe you don’t like all the Feminist women out there doing all the talking and tweeting and writing and stuff. I get it. Skeptical Baby memes are a lot more fun. They make you LOL. They don’t make you really think. ‘Cause, you know, all this Feminism stuff just makes you think about icky stuff instead of totes adorbs cat videos on YouTube.

But when you throw Feminist in this list along with trendy slang like bae and basic and obvi and YOLO you’re really showing your ass. Whether it’s a shameless attempt to garner page views or an authentic exasperation with all of the people out there who are claiming to support equality, it’s kinda pathetic.

Deep down, I think you know this. Deep down, you know that there’s still lots of work to do. Having fun with the “label” just isn’t cool, m’kay? That label has been Limbaughed and spun into a twisted meaning that was constructed to perpetuate over hyped and trumped up stereotypes.


So hear this, and pay close attention. Every time you want to demean the word. Every time you suggest it’s non-relevance. Every time you play into this mindset you are reading from a script you didn’t even write. You are joining a chorus of ignorance and misogynistic oppression. Your inclusion of this word tells me that you have willfully and blindly gone the way of the sheep and bought into the misinformation and propaganda that has been slowly oozing it’s way through our culture over the last few decades. Like a bad smell, this has been wafting around enough that you don’t even notice it anymore or realize it’s noxious nature.

Feminism isn’t some foul thing that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

That would be the bitter taste of lies and obfuscation.

Feminism is the basic fight for equal rights for women.

Equal pay for equal work.

The right to vote.

The right to join the military and not be raped.

The right to not have your body exposed and recorded by some creep with a cell phone.

The right to go to college and not be sexually assaulted.

Basic human rights of decency.

Sorry, Time Mag. But you’ve just jumped the shark. You’ve taken a cheap shot. You’ve played a bad hand. You’ve just shown your ass.


79 Responses

  1. I think feminist, like offended and free-speech, has gotten a negative or false definition from people who don’t know the full meanings of those terms (adding TIME to that list of ignorant people…oh, there’s another one….ignorant).

    1. And isn’t it ridiculous that people don’t know the correct definition? It’s not like it’s long and complicated or anything! The thing that really gets me is Time is being willfully ignorant. They know exactly what they’re doing. And I’ve heard that LOTS of people are voting to ban feminism in their on-line poll. They are just feeding the ignorance monster! And I think we should make up a list of words that have been co-opted or misunderstood or mis-labeled- you’re a genius! THAT would have been an even better response to the Time article!

  2. This would be the same time magazine that recently had an article comparing witches to terrorists, the only difference being that terrorists are real. Someone on their staff seems to delight in flip jokes that flip.people off. I used to consider them above the tabloid crowd, but not so much lately. Time to cancel my subscription to Time I think.

    1. Are you serious? I haven’t seen that article, but I’m going to go on-line and read it. I let my subscription lapse last year and sounds like maybe that was a good thing. I think you’re right, I think they are just trying to get attention and resorting to tabloid-like tactics. It’s a shame really. It used to be a great magazine…

  3. As I was working my way through this I was already formulating a theory, and then I came to the part where you considered it as well: “a shameless attempt to garner page views.”
    Really gotta wonder if that isn’t a big part of it…

    1. I completely think this was a attention ploy. That makes it even worse I think. I wouldn’t have even acknowledged it except that I think way too many people think Feminism is a bad word. As Meg said (above) this is stooping to tabloid tricks…

  4. That list makes me want to vomit. How dare they include “feminist” with stupid music video slang and teenage party lingo?

    Time Magazine, suck my feminist dick.

    1. THAT would have made an awesome title for this post… Except I don’t have the balls- I mean the ovaries- to be so bold.

      But also, the whole list idea is so stupid, even before they decided to dumb down even further by including feminist. Maybe someone needs to inform then that slang is by definition a fleeting thing. No need to ban it people. Geez.

    1. Oh, Norm, you’re in for a treat. Get comfy and sit back and read for a few hours. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry and then you’ll laugh some more. Samara’s insanely talented and brilliant. Enjoy…

  5. I completely agree that the word doesn’t belong on the list. But … I do have a small problem with much of what you write here. I’d much rather people were humanists.

    1. Yes. Except that humanism has its own meaning that isn’t equivalent to feminism, even though it sounds as though it should be.

      Also, how could they create a list of words-to-never-use-again and not include “plethora”? Amirite?

      1. My point is that all humans suffer and I’d rather we focus on human suffering than the suffering of one group over the other. As a man, I have never been raped or sexually assaulted. However, as a boy and as a teenager, I suffered plenty of abuse at the hands of others. And guess what … I was sexually harassed by a woman when I was in my 20s. My problem with feminism and all other isms and special interest groups is their focus on one slice of the problem that is the human existence.

        I’m good with eliminating ‘plethora’ and a whole lot of other words. 😉

        1. I think I understood what you were saying. And I agree that the isms do tend – or at least appear to tend – to focus on a limited “slice of the problem”. I think feminists generally perceive feminism as being focused on equality for ALL … but maybe it’s easier for a woman to see it that way.

          The problem with using “humanism” as an alternative is that the existing definition of the word excludes spirituality, which introduces a whole other element into the discussion. Feminism isn’t about spirituality – you can believe in anything or everything or nothing and still be a feminist. So another word would be needed. Or maybe we should simply revive “egalitarianism”?

          1. Yeah, I’m sure I used humanism in an incorrect way, but the point was pretty clear. And while feminists may think their focus is on equality for all, I don’t know that’s how it is perceived by others. I think every special interest group (in their hearts and minds) think they are really about the betterment of all. But they really aren’t.

            I’m not sure about egalitarianism as the way to describe it but it may be close.

    2. So, KingMidget, I like you. And I have no problem with the Humanism thing. I care about mis-treatment and inequality of any and all people of any and all ages, races, sexes, sexual orientations… you get the idea. But the thing is, this has been an on-going thing with women. I don’t know if there’s much more to say about it than the cases I mentioned above. The statistics about rape. The mentality in our country. In our culture. It’s rampant. It’s sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle. And humanism is fine, unless you are trying to use that word or that cause to eliminate or negate feminism. And there is nothing in Feminism or in anything that I am saying that would ever try to diminish any abuse you or anyone else has had to endure. None of it is acceptable. The difference is that for some groups of people, that abuse has been systematic, institutional and cultural. That’s why some groups need a big voice. I won’t try to silence anyone’s cause or anyone’s voice that is fighting for better treatment and better options and better laws and better protection. Everyone deserves to be able to push back against the people or things that have affected them. And Feminism isn’t trying to take that away from anyone.

      1. I’m not trying to eliminate or negate feminism. Nor am I trying to minimize the horrible wrongs done to women, both in this country and around the world. I read exhaustively about the Middle East. How women are treated there is disgusting.

        I totally get the systemic, institutional, and cultural issues at play and which feminism seeks to strike at.

        My only issue relates to an idealistic streak I have in me. That we as a people would be better off without lines, without focus on our differences. And, unfortunately, far too many special interests in their focus on the lines and differences just end up driving us all further apart rather than closer together. That’s all.

        I’m tired of nations and religions and isms and ideologies and special interest groups and how they create greater conflict.

        1. I get it. You’re an idealist. I do get it. I am too. I wrote a post about being tired of “them” how we should be more “we” than “them.” So we probably have similar mindsets in that respect. And I too am tired of the labels and things that divide us. I don’t look at people and categorize them. I look at people as people. Unfortunately you and I are maybe not the minority, but the people that love the divisiveness are really loud.

          1. Yep … I’ve started writing a very long post about why for the first time in my life I may stop voting and try really hard not to follow politics and current events anymore. It’s your last line that explains it all in just a few words. I’m tired of the yelling and divisiveness.

  6. ^ People could be humanists if women were treated as equals. Gretchen, you are absolutely right — but you missed something. This was a poll — which means that Time magazine supposedly asked X amount of people and this was their result. Which means that the general populace declared this word to be offensive. That, to me, says more than just Time magazine saying so.
    I’m going to go off on a rant here, and I’m going to call out Samara, because I know she’s experienced this and mentioned it several times — I know others have too, but I think Samara will have my back on this. And there’s going to be homework to be done — sort of Project Mayhem style a la Fight Club.
    Dick pics. We live in a brave new world, where people hide behind digital devices and assault women from the privacy of their homes. These same men wouldn’t walk the streets in trench coats and lure women into dark alleys and flash them, but that’s exactly what they’re doing when they send you a picture of their junk via text or email or whatever. And this is sexual assault. What’s more, it’s the stupidest kind of sexual assault, because you have a complete record of the conversation, and their name and contact information.
    Here’s the homework portion. (And really, I’m going to be following up, because I’m a hardnosed bitch and I think it’s time some punitive action came down on these… ahem… pricks.)
    Call the police. Report them. Send them to prison to be ass-raped for a couple years, and see how they like having a dick shoved in their face uninvited. BTW if you think I’m playing devil’s advocate, I’m not. I will give whoever secures jail time on one of these perverts a big hug in person. Yeah, you heard me.
    This is the type of shit women have to put up with, and that’s only one of the reasons I need feminism.

    1. So, at the risk of being totally obnoxious Helena, here’s the link to a post I wrote about on-line harassment. It’s the one and only time I got Freshly Pressed.

      The problem is the police either don’t care or they don’t know where to begin to deal with this stuff. There are no laws against it. And Twitter points to the cops and the cops point to Twitter and nothing happens. You can report all the details in the world to the police but until there are laws on the books that are broken there’s nothing that they can or will do. I don’t know why it doesn’t fall under stalking laws. And even then, stalking laws are ridiculously lame and ineffective.

      But hey, I’m up for some vigilante justice. I will join Samara and you or anyone else who’s been on the receiving end of this bullshit and go after the lame little cowards hiding behind their computer screens. Seriously. I know you’re fired up and this shit fires me up too. Enough of this shit already.

  7. The only thing sadder than TIME Magazine adding the word “Feminist” to that list is the distasteful thought that doing so was most likely an act of clickbait.

    1. I think it was total click bait. And it obviously worked. They got people like me pissed off and they got assholes like the people who frequent 4Chan to applaud. It’s cheap journalism. I take that back. It’s not anywhere close to journalism. It’s just cheap. And lame.

      1. I agree completely. As an American, I respect a person’s right to believe anything they want to believe, no matter how distasteful I find their point of view. This, however, isn’t a person or a group expressing their perspective; it’s pandering, and I cannot respect that. Shame on you, TIME.

  8. This, so far, is my favorite of all your posts. Well articulated and passionate, and I agree with you 1000000000% Throwing the word feminist in there with a bunch of idiotic trending words which only people under 25 know is insulting. To all humans.

    1. Ha! Thank you Scott! I’m glad you are 100000000% on board. It is insulting. It’s insulting on so many levels. I think they’re enjoying some attention at the moment but I think it’s going to backfire. Time readers are usually smart people who want to be informed, not sensationalist junkies.

  9. Going off on another smaller rant. I just read that post about Gamergate. You know, the older I get, the crueller and less tolerant I get for bullshit. In the article, someone was quoted as saying that “threats of harm and harassment are wrong.” No, fuckwit, threats of harm and harassment are criminal. Why are any of these assholes — whose identities are clearly and easily obtainable, I don’t care if they’re using a pseudonym — in jail? Okay, so clearly, the prison system is not prepared to deal with the sheer volume of people that would be sent there.
    So, here’s my solution. Fucking kill ’em all.
    (and yes, here I’m being 75% facetious).
    But honestly, why aren’t people taking this more seriously?

    1. I think people (including the justice system) don’t take it seriously because it’s women. I’m not even trying to be dramatic here. But it’s because it’s about women. You can rape a woman and still play ball or sing R&B. You can gang rape a teen age girl and she’s the one who gets run out of town (Stuebenville). We think we’re modern and progressive but only on the surface. Where it really counts, when it comes to taking action and actually changing things, we pretty much suck. The list of reasons why we need feminism and why it’s still relevant is long and sordid. Anyone who doesn’t get that isn’t paying close enough attention.

      1. There’s a case over here right now where a convicted rapist has been allowed to train with the football/soccer team he was sacked from before he went to jail. The sponsors are saying they will pull out if he gets his job back, 150,000 people have signed a petition that they don’t employ him, some staff have already resigned and an athlete who the staduim is named after has said she will remove her name from the stadium if they renew his contract. It wasn’t a violent rape either – she was ridicuously drunk when she agreed to shag him and he decided to carry on when she passed out – but it’s still provoking outrage, which is obviously a good thing.

  10. Totes adores cat videos 🙂 Girl, I love you all fired up and snarky. Why do they even have this list anyway? It’s stupid. If I want to say obvs, I will. Geez, they’re so basic (am I even using that correctly?) If I am ever on a debate team, I pick you first to be on my side 🙂

    1. You would pick me for your debate team? Hopefully it would be written debate only, I’m not so good with the words verbally. I get tripped up and make no sense. Especially if I’m all fired up. It’s not pretty. 🙂

      And the whole idea of a list of words to ban is just stupid, right? I don’t even say cray cray (unless I’m being silly with my friends) but now I might have to start dropping all of these words into regular conversations. I’m passive aggressive like that 🙂

  11. What sort of conversation went on during that meeting? Feminist… Hmmm… Good one. (Team of writers nods) No one sees any problem with removing this word? You there, in the back– It could be considered as anti-woman and add to the far right sentiment that women are to be controlled and put us back 100 years? How about feminazi instead?
    Ehhhh, no. Yes it’s a simple fix, but it’s still work, so, no.

    1. Ha! That’s both hilarious and disturbing, imagining what went on in the meeting regarding this poll… and Feminazi! THAT should be on the list, obvi. Sorry. Ever since I wrote this and tried to include as many of the “banished” words as possible I can’t stop saying them.

        1. You seriously crack me up! “Totes McGoats” has been going through my head all day now! And YOLO means “you only live once.” I only know this because of my kids. Any time I would tell my son not to do something (“don’t jump off that!”) he would respond “YOLO.” You know how I got him to quit saying it? I started saying it.

  12. i wanted to go an read this list because it can be quite entertaining but I think now that Time Magazine wont’ get the satisfaction of at least one click on their link. Since it is such a hot issue these days, why not add it to the list because it will spread like wildfire and get hit millions of times. Regardless of what Time has to say you, my incredible beautiful and intelligent friend, have hit the home run with this post. It made me want to stand up and cheer. Your passion bleeds through and I appreciate it. On behalf of all women everywhere.

    1. Aw, Sandy. You flatter me. Thank you so so much.

      I hesitated to give this obvious ploy for attention any more attention but I couldn’t let it go. I haven’t read it yet, but a Daily Beast article points out that not only is this list sexist, it’s also racist. Damn, Time Magazine. Were they trying to appeal to every ignorant ass out there who feeds on this kind of stuff? It really is cray cray…

      1. I wish my brain was as smart as yours for this kind of thing. I like that you educate me and help me to understand more about the ins and outs of the things I tend to shy away from because I find them too complicated.

        I’m glad I’m back 🙂

  13. THAT’S IT. I love you, for real and forever and way down deep in my heart. This gave me chills, and at the end I wanted to stand and cheer. DAMN, YOU’RE SO GOOD. Thank you for writing your brilliance. Your posts are educational and inspirational. Mine are trivial and stupid, but I usually have a picture of a hot guy, so there’s that. that’s okay, though, we all have our place. This, my cray cray (in the best way) friend, is yours. MUAH.

  14. I have been wanting to write about this for several days and have not been able to put into words. You, however, put the words together perfectly. Holy shitballs this is amazing.

    For years I never identified myself as a feminist. I supported equality and women’s rights and hated terms like “slut” and “whore” being thrown around so carelessly and yet it never occurred to me that I am a feminist. Everything you have written I agree with and fully support.

    As for TIME, they can suck it. This got my blood boiling. You (meaning them and the people doing this poll) want to ban words like obvi, YOLO, sorrynotsorry, bae then fine, do it. Some of those are downright mothereffing stupid. But feminist? No. Just. NO.

  15. Funny thing. I came home from work and sat down at my computer today. Looked at Facebook for a second, then got this itch just above my right ear that told me to come and see what you’ve been blogging lately.

    I can’t believe they did this for any reason other than to stir the pot. And I suppose that if a magazine as venerable as Time magazine is taking shots like this at Feminism, it is an indication that we should soldier on keep mouthing off about how important Feminism is at every opportunity. 🙂

    (Related, but a little off-topic. I know the Time list is supposed to be funny and all, but talk of banning words from American English, in particular, is stupid. It ain’t that sort of language.)

  16. And what is most amazing (referring to the photo) is that today only 14% of eligible voters in the USA vote. So what is the percent of females voting? And in Afghanistan women cast 36% of the votes while risking death to vote. hmmmmmm Gotta DO something in order to create change….. silence is giving permission.

    1. So, I have to be careful with this one. I think the reason voting participation has tanked is that so many people in the U.S., especially the younger generations, don’t see a connection between the vote and the way business is done. The idea that casting a vote gives you a say or gets you representation is suffering in the popular consciousness.

      And I am totally not saying where I personally come down on that. My only point here is only that this is the way a lot of people are thinking. And, right or wrong, it is leading them to the conclusion that going to the polls is not worth taking the time out of their day. It’s not a disaffected minority longing for a third party that’s thinking this way. It’s the better part of two generations. It is a problem if you are invested in democracy, and I have no idea how to begin to fix it.

      1. The issue was women’s rights. The photos are of women’s suffrage and the incredible lengths women went to to secure voting rights for women. What a waste, We were given such wealth through the superhuman efforts of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton and all the women and men who supported the effort. Their’s was an upstream struggle against power and a disconnect in politics. And today their efforts are all for naught. Women today expect change, rights, and political power but are throwing away their most powerful tool, the vote, and trampling on the memory of those women who sacrificed so much, physically, socially, and in their private lives in order to give women the tools for change.

        Apathy has never been credited with change. We have no global heros who were apathetic. Gandhi, King, Susan B Anthony, Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, just to name a few, fought AGAINST the status quo, and suffered greatly to exact change. Throwing your hands up and, like John Mayer, just ” waiting for the world to change” is idiotic.

        Whine all you want……. change only comes through suffering, and an incredible commitment. Apparently today’s women are actually accepting of the status quo and the suffering of Anthony and Stanton have been forgotten. They gave us the greatest tool for change and we threw it in the trash. I am disgusted, if the whiners want change they need to vote, set up their own candidates, and fight the status quo to honor the great sacrifices of those who gave them the wonderful right.

          1. I was not referring to you…. I was referring to those who choose not to vote but whine about their being victimized. as if whining is going to change anything. OK enough….. I was simply moved by the photos in the article and was thinking of the great suffering of the suffragettes and how it all was for nothing..

          2. Arrr. Got it. I am pretty moved by the post, myself.

            I do see your point, but I’m not ready to say it has to have all been for nothing. Just need to figure out ways to get people engaged again (and sadly, I do not know how to do that).

  17. I really enjoyed reading this and was completely like WTF when you mentioned that “feminism” is on the same list with whatever a bunch of idiot 20yo’s are saying (and I have a 20yo step daughter so I’m allowed I hope because she IS)… but then I read through all of the comments and am not sure what to say. I like the humanism idea because my son is developmentally delayed and I want the world to see him as a little kid FIRST and not as autistic or developmentally delayed first, if that makes sense.
    Which makes me realize that the true problem is that we even need to continue having a conversation where feminism (as a word or a concept) is offensive. I mean, we should already just BE there. Equal. We’re not though.

  18. Yes to all of this, I was taught by strong women in my life to be proud to be feminine and a feminist. I saw this Time Magazine article in passing but just glanced at the headline. After reading this I’m going to Google it and get reading it. There are so many words in the world to be phased out of the dictionary and everyday speech feminist isn’t one of them. Excellent post, I loved your spirit and candor. 😊

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