“Pansexual” Was Merriam-Webster’s Most-Searched Term After Janelle Monae Came Out

Janelle Monae (Amazon Music)

Janelle Monae (Amazon Music)

Last week, Rolling Stone published an interview with musician Janelle Monae, pegged to the release of her new album “Dirty Computer.” This interview proved significant because, after years of dancing around the subject of her sexuality, Monae actually came out.

In Monae’s own words:

“Being a queer black woman in America,” she says, taking a breath as she comes out, “someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker.”

Monae’s definition of her sexuality led to a spike in an unlikely place: Merriam-Webster searches. As @MerriamWebster reported via Twitter:

Merriam-Webster's tweet about searches for pansexuality (Twitter)

Merriam-Webster’s tweet about searches for pansexuality (Twitter)

The dictionary reported that searches for “pansexual” rose 11,000% after the Rolling Stone interview. And that spike carried over into the next day:

Merriam-Webster's tweet about the staying power of "pansexual" as a search term (Twitter)

Merriam-Webster’s tweet about the staying power of “pansexual” as a search term (Twitter)

Thank you QUEEN for dropping that knowledge!!

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Google Trends: “Feminism” and “Feminist” in 2017

Gloria Steinem (Viva Media)

Gloria Steinem (Viva Media)

“Feminism” was Merriam-Webster’s most-searched term in 2017, and the dictionary reported that the searches for the term rose 70% over searches in 2016.

I’m curious to see how other search engines (namely, Google) saw any trends in searches for the term. Let’s take a look!

Here’s Google searches for “feminism” worldwide over 2017:

Worldwide searches for "Feminism" in 2017 (Google Trends)

Worldwide searches for “Feminism” in 2017 (Google Trends)

That first spike is right around the time of the Women’s March! Several marches were held all over the world, so this makes sense.

Now here are worldwide searches for “feminist” in 2017:

Worldwide searches for "Feminist" in 2017 (Google Trends)

Worldwide searches for “Feminist” in 2017 (Google Trends)

So that’s pretty much the same. Not too surprising.

Let’s look at how these two terms fared in search for the US.

Here’s how “feminism” did:

US searches for "Feminism" in 2017 (Google Trends)

US searches for “Feminism” in 2017 (Google Trends)

That’s the highest spike around the Women’s March that we’ve seen for the term!

And here’s “feminist:”

US searches for "Feminist" in 2017 (Google Trends)

US searches for “Feminist” in 2017 (Google Trends)

Another big spike around the Women’s March!

The data clearly supports Merriam-Webster’s findings!

Searches for “Feminism” Rose 70%+ in 2017

Beyonce's 'Flawless' performance at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards

Beyonce’s ‘Flawless’ performance at the 2014 MTV Video Music Award

Feminism made a huge impact in 2017, and it was especially felt on the Internet. Dictionary website Merriam-Webster reported that searches for the term grew 70% over searches in 2016.

Searches for “feminism” corresponded to major events in 2017, such as the Women’s March in January and the #MeToo movement, and the release of relevant media such as “Wonder Woman” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The dictionary also named “feminism” its 2017 Word of the Year. The term beat out other popularly-searched terms such as “complicit,” “empathy” and “gaffe.”

Trends: Hollywood Adopts Inclusion Riders

Michael B. Jordan (Mashable)

Michael B. Jordan (Mashable)

Many people only learned of the term “inclusion rider” when actress Frances McDormand mentioned it during her acceptance speech for the Best Actress Oscar at this year’s Oscars ceremony. Curiosity about the term was so high that Merriam-Webster later reported via Twitter that “inclusion” was the dictionary’s most-searched term during the Oscars ceremony. (“Rider” came in fourth.)

(For those who haven’t yet heard, an inclusion rider is a clause in an actor’s contact that states that the hiring for positions on set must be inclusive. This clause can also be called an equity rider. The rider was invented by Stacy L. Smith, professor at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism along with lawyer Kalpana Kotagal. If you’re curious about what an inclusion rider looks like, here’s an inclusion rider template.)

Following the concept’s wave of exposure, others in Hollywood are making a commitment to inclusiveness in their projects official with the rider. “Black Panther” actor Michael B. Jordan announced that his production company Outlier Society Productions would adopt the inclusion rider for its projects. Jordan is the first major actor to adopt the rider following McDormand’s Oscars speech. Actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have also announced that their joint production company Pearl Street Films will also adopt an inclusion rider.

I certainly hope others take up this cause to the point that we no longer need inclusion riders.

“Inclusion” Was Merriam-Webster’s Most-Searched Term After the Oscars

Frances McDormand, Oscars 2018 (The Independent UK)

Frances McDormand, Oscars 2018 (The Independent UK)

Frances McDormand gave a great speech when she won the Best Actress Oscar at this year’s awards ceremony. And she closed it out with two words: “inclusion rider.”

For those who haven’t yet Googled this term, an inclusion rider is a clause in an actor’s contact that states that the hiring for positions on set must be inclusive. (This clause can also be called an equity rider.)

Apparently, so many people were curious about the term that it caused an interesting side effect:

Merriam-Webster 'Inclusion' Tweet, Oscars 2018 (Twitter)

Merriam-Webster ‘Inclusion’ Tweet, Oscars 2018 (Twitter)

One thing to note is that Merriam-Webster’s tweet on searches for “inclusion” got much more engagement (2.6K likes) than the company’s typical posts. (200-400+ likes). I’m glad people are interested in learning more about this concept!