Kellyanne Conway might not consider herself a feminist, but she did accidentally become a publicist for the movement. After the Women’s March, an interview featured Conway contemplating feminism and the role of women in power, which contributed to a barrage of people looking the term “feminism” up. That — along with all the sexual harassment allegations in the news, women flocking to box offices, and a few other factors — contributed to Merriam Webster picking “feminism” as its 2017 word of the year.
Close to a year ago, Fox News contributor Mercedes Schlapp asked if she was a feminist. Conway’s efforts to answer the question resulted in her musing on some of the qualities she thinks the word implies. “It’s difficult for me to call myself a feminist in a classic sense,” Conway said, “because it seems to be very anti-male, and it certainly is very pro-abortion, and I’m neither anti-male or pro-abortion.” She also suggested that “it turns out there are a lot of women who just have a problem with women in power” and blamed the women who marched for being “too negative.”
That was apparently confusing enough to “spike” searches for the actual definition of feminism, which Merriam Webster describes as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” Note that Merriam Webster does not include any mention of man-hating or abortion or negativity in its summary of the term. Nor is this an intentional dig, unlike Dictionary.com’s choice for word of the year, which was “complicit.”
It’s certainly been a year for feminism by the dictionary definition, what with the Women’s March that set off Conway, female-centric media like A Handmaid’s Tale, Wonder Woman, Lady Bird, not to mention the powerful #MeToo movement, Time choosing the Silence Breakers as its people of the year, and renewed interest in Trump’s Access Hollywood tape. There’s no word, however, on how Conway feels about her contribution to America’s education on feminism. Perhaps she’s disappointed that her famous flashcards didn’t come back into play.