The word “feminism” has been poisoned, but no replacement exists. Lisbeth Darsh asks why.
If “feminist” is such a tainted word, what word do we use now?
“I think feminist has been given a bad name. I think any label is bad. I’m more than a label. I don’t want to be labeled anything.” Governor Nikki Haley (R-South Carolina) said this in 2012, and who could disagree with her? Many people don’t like labels, and “feminist” has turned into what Haley calls a “hard word.” Numerous people simply don’t want to use it.
But if equality of the sexes has not been achieved, we still need a word to describe “a person who advocates equal rights for women.” What do we call those people who don’t think women should take a back seat, a second place or a lower rung on the ladder because we have vaginas and breasts? What word should replace “feminist”?
I went to Thesaurus.com and other sites for a synonym for “feminist” and repeatedly received this answer: “No results found.” How can a word that’s been in use since 1895 not have a synonym? We had only one word, and now it’s sullied.
As Sarah Palin said, “One question liberal feminists would do well to ask themselves is why most American women today reject the label ‘feminist.’”