Use the word ‘feminism’ and often the images that come up are ones of protest and conflict as groups of angered people gather to ‘protect’ women’s rights. While that may be the imagery conveyed with the use of one simple word, the conflict runs much deeper than mere demonstration. This year’s word of the year from Merriam-Webster, ‘feminism,’ not only is indicative of the deep cultural rifts within our society, but an examination also reveals inconsistency that generates more conflict.
Every year, various word-related institutions choose their word of the year, most notably both Merriam-Webster and Oxford. Noting a 70% increase in online use, Merriam-Webster chose ‘feminism’ to represent its word of the year for 2017. This increased use was especially noteworthy after Kellyanne Conway’s indication that she does not identify with the classic sense of the movement. An analysis of this particular election though is telling about where things are at and three primary things can be noted.
First, the arguments employed by the movement deny the existence of gender, without explicitly saying so. One of the principle arguments of equality is the denial of any differences between men and women. This argument ignores the biological and social differences that were implemented by God through his creation of male and female. It’s fascinating that a movement defined by gender negates it by denying any factors of it.
Second, the feminist movement is in conflict with the current worldview. The cultural worldview is defined by many different aspects which can be most easily summed up by an attitude of uncontrolled self-sovereignty. It is a culture that puts the self first with little regard for the consequences to others. The platforms of this self-sovereignty are many, and all are confrontational, but it’s what we’ve seen in the court system that has perhaps had the greatest long-term impact and is noteworthy: the concept of gender and sexuality. The culture indicates that gender is dependent upon preference while sexuality is determined by biology (try to reconcile how both those arguments can be true at the same time). However, noting the way in which the arguments from the feminism movement deny the concept of gender, it cannot then affirm the cultural worldview in regards to gender and sexuality.
Finally, it almost needs not be said that feminism denies the truth. It’s fitting that last year Oxford chose as it’s word of the year, ‘post-truth’ because this year’s word of the year from Merriam-Webster affirms a post-truth society by denying the truth. The denial of God’s creation as male and female and the differences that come with that distinction is ultimately a denial of truth because truth comes from God.
There is an important distinction to make here. I am not denying the need to respect and honor women. I recognize that in the past year some of the protests that have taken place are to demand such fundamental necessities simply as being part of God’s creation and made in His image as every person is. In light of the last month we have had with one sexual scandal after another, and almost exclusively in the form of men taking advantage of women, such a discussion in that regard needs to be had. However, apart from the truth that is God’s gospel, it is an issue that is almost without a solution until a genuine recognition and repentance come forth in our society (but that’s a separate discussion). My simple point is that I am not denying some of the important aspects that need to be dealt with.
With all of that said, the election of ‘feminism’ as word of the year reveals much about our society. It seems every year there is a social agenda. The adoption of ‘feminism’ as this year’s word by Merriam-Webster simply indicates the landscape of changing worldview, but ones that are incompatible with one another.
Photo “Dictionaries hold the answers” courtesy of user 3nglishN3rd and Flickr.