By Grace Carr
Merriam-Webster Dictionary chose “feminism” as the 2017 word of the year on Tuesday.
Searches for the word “feminism” on Merriam-Webster.com increased 70 percent in 2017 from 2016, The Associated Press reported. The searches jumped after a few notable events such as the Women’s March, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s loss to President Donald Trump, and the #MeToo hashtag following producer Harvey Weinstein’s and other Hollywood bigwigs’ indiscretions.
“Feminism” searches also spiked in Feb. 2017 after Kellyanne Conway spoke at the Conservative Political Action Committee. She shared her views on feminism at the event.
Merriam-Webster defines feminism as the “theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activities on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”
The word “feminism” was being used in a more general way in 2016, the company’s editor at large, Peter Sokolowski, told The Associated Press. More specific searches like, “What does it mean to be a feminist in 2017?” took place, Sokolowski added.
“Those kinds of questions are the kinds of things, I think, that send people to the dictionary,” he said.
Sokolowski also pointed to the Golden Globe winning Hulu series, “The Handmaid’s Tale,”depicting a dystopian society where women have no reproductive rights and are used as pawns for progeny, as well as the 2017 film, “Wonder Woman” as responsible for increasing searches of the word “feminism.”
Merriam-Webster’s nine runner ups for 2017 word of the year were: Complicit, Recuse, Empathy, Dotard, Syzygy, Gyro, Federalism, Hurricane, and Gaffe.