Our Favorite Feminist Moments of 2017
2017 has been quite a year, but we survived it. Here is a list of our favorite women and feminist moments that help us through.
The Women's March
On January 21, 2017, the day after President Donald Trump was inaugurated, The Women’s March on Washington and its sister marches across the globe became the largest single day demonstration recorded in US History. People filled the streets of Washington D.C., Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and over 500 other cities. In some cities the marches were unable to move due to the volume of people. Over the past year, women’s rights have been in jeopardy, but the march on that fateful day in January set the tone for the year to come. We did not sit idly by while our rights and the rights of our sisters were stripped away. Throughout the past year, women have done more than resist. They have led the charge to actively push back against the Trump administration policies. Which brings us to...
The 2017 Election
Just one year after the world watched in horror as an admitted sexual predator was elected to our highest office, the 2017 election saw more women elected to office than ever before. Danica Roem was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, becoming the first openly transgender person elected to state legislature in the United States. Kathy Tran became the first Asian-American woman elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Vi Lyles became the first African-American woman elected Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. Andrea Jenkins became the first openly transgender black woman elected to public office in the U.S. when she won a seat on the Minneapolis City Council. Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala became the first two Hispanic women elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. (Honestly, the Virginia House of Delegates sounds dope.) Many more historical elections took place that night, and you can read about them here while you gear up for the 2018 election.
The Election of Doug Jones
Black women hit the polls in record numbers to elect Doug Jones to the United States Senate, defeating Roy Moore, an anti-woman candidate and alleged pedophile and sexual assaulter. 98% of black women and 93% of black men voted for Jones, while only 34% of white women and 26% of white men voted for him. Additionally, seventeen minority organizations are calling on Doug Jones to ensure minority voices are represented on his staff. Congressional office staffs are often lacking in diversity and now as much as ever, it’s vital to remember that diverse voices are just as important behind the spotlight as they are in front of it. If you want to properly thank black women for keeping Roy Moore out of office, writer Luvvie Ajayi created a database of black women running for office in 2018. There you can find the candidate’s websites, investigate their positions and support your candidates in the 2018 elections.
Women Dominated Film and Television
Women have proven to be box office, television and comedy gold. Wonder Woman grossed over $400 million worldwide. Girls Trip became the hit summer comedy and brought the perfect unicorn that is Tiffany Haddish into the mainstream. Ladybird is the best reviewed movie on Rotten Tomatoes, and its star, Saoirse Ronan, is an awards frontrunner. Aforementioned unicorn Tiffany Haddish and Daily Show star Michelle Wolf produced two of the best reviewed stand up specials of the year, She Ready and Nice Lady respectively. Two of the most acclaimed television series of the year featured almost entirely female casts and depicted feminist issues, Big Little Lies and The Handmaid’s Tale. Lena Waithe become the first woman of color to win a Primetime Emmy Award for TV writing for her brilliant episode of Master of None, “Thanksgiving.” Behind the camera, visionary women like Ava Duvernay, Shonda Rhimes, Patty Jenkins and Issa Rae smashed expectations and changed the way we tell stories. They show no sign of stopping in 2018, with new seasons of Big Little Lies, The Handmaids Tale and Insecure, as well as new projects like Lena Waithe’s The Chi and Ava Duvernay’s A Wrinkle in Time.
We Named All the Baddest Bitches
On November 9, 2017, Twitter user @xnulz challenged the internet to Name a Badder Bitch than Taylor Swift and man, did the internet deliver.
Now, if Taylor Swift is to you, the baddest bitch, we’re not here to judge, but what a way to celebrate the badass women of the world. Here were some of our favorites...
Merriam Webster’s Word of the Year is Feminism
Merriam Webster chose feminism as its word of the year. According to the dictionary, the word was “a top lookup” with spikes corresponding to major events such as the Women’s March and #MeToo. It also spiked when Kellyanne Conway stated that she does not consider herself a feminist. Merriam Webster's choice is indicative of a year characterized by a larger discussion about women and our role in society. HuffPost put together 12 TEDWomen talks that define feminism. It includes some of our all-time favs including Roxane Gay and Chinaka Hodge.
Feminist Writers Killed It This Year
Speaking of, Roxane Gay’s memoir explores sexual assault, body image, feminism and sexual identity. It is also one of the best reviewed books of the year and holds a place on several best of 2017 lists including NPR, Elle, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, PopSugar, and Amazon. Shonda Rhimes announced that she will leave ABC (where she gave us Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) for Netflix, where her production company will receive $25 million a year. Rhimes noted that Netflix will provide her with enormous freedom to tell her stories her way, and that she has become more willing to demand her worth and “not get screwed in this town.” For those of us negotiating higher pay, better benefits, and fairness in our workplaces, Shonda’s approach is a valuable lesson. Feminist journalists were pivotal to the resistance and speaking truth to power. On the heels of the 2016 Election, Teen Vogue emerged as a leader in the feminist journalist landscape. Writers like Lauren Duca unabashedly provided teen (and adult) women with fact checks on the Trump administration while maintaining its identity as a place for young women to be themselves. Others, including Liz Plank and Lily Herman continually challenged Trump’s assault of the media and provided a vital journalistic space for women.
On October 5, 2017 and October 10, 2017, the New York Times and the New Yorker respectively, ran stories exposing Harvey Weinstein as a habitual sexual predator and the floodgates burst. Brave women like Ashley Judd, Lupita Nyong’o and Rose McGowan recounted their stories of abuse at his hands and the culture of sexual harassment built into almost every imaginable industry was exposed. On October 15, 2017, Alyssa Milano tweeted the hashtag #MeToo, started a decade ago by activist Tarana Burke, and a movement ignited. From Hollywood big wigs like Harvey Weinstein and Dustin Hoffman to politicians like Roy Moore and Al Franken. Comedians like Louis C.K. and T.J. Miller and journalists like Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer. Chefs, musicians, hotel managers, tech company CEOs, businessmen, people in every industry were exposed for gross sexual misconduct, harassment, assault and rape. The process has been painful and it is far from over. More once-trusted men will be outed as we work to dismantle the systemic misogyny built into the core of our society. We’ll mourn the women and men whose careers were stalled, damaged or destroyed at the hands of these predators. We’ll remember that for every celebrity or prominent figure who bravely tells their story, there are stories of unseen women we’ll never hear. The housekeepers, waitresses, retail employees, secretaries and assistants whose story will never make the New York Times, but who we fight for regardless. Tarana Burke said she was just trying to change her community when she founded the #MeToo movement a decade ago. Instead, let’s make sure she changes the world.
Bring it on, 2018. We're Ready.