It’s that time of month again, and I couldn’t be more excited to be taking the F-Word Link-Up into 2015. Kelly first e-mailed me about starting this project back in August, and I’ve had so much fun with it since then, and with getting to read all of the great posts you link up with us each month. So to celebrate making it to our sixth month of this link-up, today I want to talk about what happened for feminism in 2014.
For years, feminists have had to prove themselves throughout the world – prove their necessity, prove their purpose, prove what they aren’t… With voting rights achieved, women all over the world working outside the home, and important changes in the law, it seems like modern feminists are constantly trying to convince the rest of the world that our presence is still necessary. Explaining that even with these incredible accomplishments, the world is still far behind in terms of making sure women aren’t left behind can seem impossible sometimes, but these advances in gender equality throughout the last 12 months have served as substantial proof of that continued need.
In January, the popular lingerie chain Aerie announced their decision to stop retouching their models. They were the first American business of their kind to make this decision, and were met with support from all over the country as women began to see more realistic body representations in advertising for that company. While the women featured in these ads are still considered beautiful by conventional standards, and are likely much thinner than a great majority of women, the vow to stop photoshopping women’s bodies for magazines is a giant step towards body positivity.
In May, feminists everywhere took to Twitter armed with this hashtag and explained that while not all men rape, harass, or otherwise suppress women, all women have experienced these things at one time or another. In less than a week, the hashtag reached the top of the charts with nearly two million total tweets, educating people everywhere on one of the primary reasons for feminism in modern society.
The United Nations named Emma Watson a Goodwill Ambassador in July of this past year, placing her alongside Nicole Kidman, Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol, and Farhan Akhtar, meaning that the board is made up of three women and one man. Watson immediately accepted this honor and took to the UN to deliver a powerful speech on what feminism is and why we need it – regardless of whether you are a man or a woman.
Laverne Cox became the first transgender actress to receive an Emmy nomination in July, when she was nominated for her continued (and incredible) performance as Sophia in Orange is the New Black. She then went on to spend the rest of the year showing the world what an incredible woman she is.
In October, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, as acknowledgement for the incredible work she’s done in fighting for the rights of Middle Eastern girls to receive an education. This was an amazing stand for a teenage girl in Pakistan to take when she’s surrounded by people in charge telling her that, because she is a girl, she does not need or deserve an education, and it’s a stand that didn’t go unpunished. Since then though, Yousafzai has continued advocating for girls’ educational rights throughout the world, and the Nobel Committee recognized that this past year.
Despite democratic complaints of having lost their advantage in congress, the 2014 Midterm Elections this past November made history. In the upcoming congressional term, just over 100 women will be serving – a record high and an incredible accomplishment for women in Congress.
Also in November, the world finally saw a realistic alternative to Barbie – Lammily, a doll modeled after real girls and women, providing a healthy body image for girls to look up to.
Feminism in the Media
Several women in Hollywood took to their typewriters and published feminist memoirs, like Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. Other well-known women, like Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Ellen Page spoke out about their identity as feminists, and in Page’s case as a member of the LGBTQA community. When an anonymous group hiding behind the Internet released hundreds of illegally obtained nude photos of (primarily female) members of Hollywood, actresses like Jennifer Lawrence, who was targeted in the attack, took the opportunity to speak out about sexual assault which gets glorified rather than punished oftentimes, a fact for which she was not willing to apologize.
So now I want to know – what important strides did feminists everywhere take this year that I didn’t mention in this post? Or on the other end, what setbacks do you think we suffered?