Celebrating 2018 for all it's feminist glory!

January is a time for reflection. A time to think about the year that’s passed – all that has happened, all you have achieved (or haven’t quite yet) – and feel all the emotions the past year has thrust upon you, but this time all at once. Perhaps this is why people tend to hate January? Perhaps this is why it’s known as the Monday of months? Because upon reflection, you’re revisiting all the events, all the ups, all the downs and completely reliving them. It’s emotional labour like no other because if you’re like me, you tend to dwell on all the negatives. All the things you didn’t do and all the things you could have done that little bit better. Imagine how transformative January could be if we actually did the reverse of this… celebrated our victories of the last year, big and small, thought about our happiest days enjoyed with our favourite people, and rather than dwelling on our downfalls past, instead, fully immersing ourselves and our mindsets in the hope of a brand-new year. So, next time you look back focus on one word – GRATITUDE. Think about every time you felt grateful and thankful and lucky in the last year. And next time you look forward, actually visualise yourself achieving your goals. Think about working hard and reaping the benefits. Maybe if we all treat this January as a month of gratitude and hope, future months of Mondays will feel a little bit more like months of Sundays.

When I initially looked back at 2018, my first thought was that it was boring. Nothing really happened. HA! NOTHING REALLY HAPPENED? I quickly realised that I was in fact wrong.

2018 was not only a huge year for feminism, but a huge year for me personally. It was a year of REAL change (not fake-change like the many, many years previous). It was progressive, enlightening and truly remarkable. The voice of change grew louder as more and more women, and men, stood together to call out global injustice. People didn’t just talk, they DID. They walked, they marched, they shouted louder, and they demanded change. Although lawful alterations and changes in legislature still leave a lot to be desired, 2018 made real changes to attitudes, to representation and to conversations. And I am certain that with the continuation of these changes, we will continue to make steps towards building the inclusive and respectful world so many of us are fighting for. With the concept of gratitude in mind, I am going to let you all in on my feminist highlights of 2018…

JANUARY – The Golden Globes 2018 saw female stars and celebrities showing solidarity and unity with the #metoo movement by draining the colour from the awards and wearing all black. While some people argued at the time that it was a shame that nobody started listening to the tales of sexual assault and corruption in the workplace until the richest, most high-profile women in the world aligned this with their experiences – it still offered a poignant moment where these women illustrated the fact that their platforms would be used to try and help alter the experience of all women, globally. By them drawing such attention to the epidemic, women all over the world had and still have the courage to also speak up. This, however, isn’t actually my highlight…

Of course, Oprah’s speech was most definitely the pinnacle moment of the night and her words speak for themselves entirely. Anyone who can watch her speech and not cry is definitely made of stone!

FEBRUARY – I am going to indulge in my own success here because February 2018 saw the birth of Horrendously Feminist and it truly has grown into something I did not foresee. It will always be a project I started fuelled by my passion for both writing and feminism and I am eternally grateful for the fact this blog helped me realise the I genuinely can create something great, completely off my own back, when I put my mind to it. The future of Horrendously Feminist is so bright if I continue to work and focus harder than ever before. My readers are what have helped to establish my blog because regardless of the quality of content, without people supporting me daily as many do, it would not have achieved anywhere near to what it has. For that I thank you all!

MARCH – Every March 8th, brings with it International Women’s Day and in the spirit of the theme #PressForProgress in 2018, Horrendously Feminist collaborated with 20 different women discussing their workplace experiences in their 20’s… we discovered the bleak reality that is the belittling, intimidation, harassment, undermining, and disrespect that young women are facing and are forced to tolerate in the working world. We uncovered the harsh truth that it’s not only high-profile industries where power-play thrives but ones a lot closer to home also. Each of these women told their stories so that the progress we could press for, was RESPECT. In doing so, we created unity between ourselves and also female readers with similar stories, sharing our strength to tell our truths.

APRIL – In April, a statue was unveiled in Parliament Square of suffragette leader Millicent Fawcett and she became the first ever woman honoured in Parliament Square in this way. In celebration of 100 years since the first women were granted the right to vote in the UK, Fawcett’s statue donned the words “Courage calls to courage everywhere”, a quote taken from her speech given after the death of Emily Wilding Davison – and of course feminist words to live by still today. A range of other suffragettes were also honoured on the statue, including Emmeline Pankhurst.

MAY – In Ireland on May 8th, 2018, was the landmark abortion referendum where Ireland voted in favour of repealing the 8th amendment. This was a win, not only for Irish women, but for all women indicating the fact that attitudes to reproductive rights have definitely adjusted and the freedom of women is becoming respected more and more. Women all over the world shared pictures and hashtags on social media leading up to the vote showing an incredible solidarity with the women of Ireland.

JUNE – June 2018 saw 28-year-old, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez become the New York district democratic primary, ousting a 10-term male incumbent. All the odds were quite clearly against Ocasio-Cortez since for one; she’s a woman, for two; she’s young and for three; she is a Puerto-Rican woman of colour but thank god she did not let other people’s potential prejudice discourage her. She took her rightfully earnt seat at the table and considering the current state of American politics, it was a massive win for WOC in America!

JULY – Released in the UK in July was The Incredibles 2 which saw the alternation of gender roles between Elastigirl and Mr incredible - Elastigirl taking the wheel of superhero activities this time. For kids’ films to be normalising the idea of a stay-at-home Dad and a working Mother, children can be introduced to the idea that your gender does not define your professional abilities. Elastigirl being centre stage was also refreshing considering the still insanely male-dominated superhero cinematic world.

AUGUST – 2 words for August… JAMEELA JAMIL. Her interview with channel 4 news discussing body image, positivity and her I-Weigh campaign went viral very quickly and perfectly articulated what many feminists, and other people, despise about the body shaming culture we are all victim too. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s an absolute must watch, regardless of whether you agree with her thoughts, there’s no denying her amazing delivery which is guaranteed to make you think at the very least.

SEPTEMBER – Christine Blasey-Ford was the feminist hero of September for daring to tell her truth to the world about her alleged attempted sexual assault by now supreme court judge Brett Kavanagh. While many will look at this case as a defeat since Kavanagh was still committed, I will always look at that moment in history as inspirational. A woman who was brave enough to put her life, reputation and career on the line because she believed this man to be unfit for a role in the supreme court. She stood up for all women in pursuit of justice and a massive portion of the population of the world stood with her in solidarity sharing the hashtag #IBelieveHer.

OCTOBER – Controversy divided opinion in October when interviews with Keira Knightly and Kristen Bell surfaced where they both spoke about being conscious of allowing their daughters to watch Disney films like Snow White for their prevalence of gender stereotypes and shady conceptualisations of topics like consent. After basing an entire essay for my degree on the topic of how Snow White can be read in 2018, I definitely agree with both of them on the idea that children should be raised with a consciousness to question what they see, including stereotypes. They must be taught about diversity of representations and that gender roles are there to be broken!

NOVEMBER – The 9th November 2018, in the UK was equal pay day otherwise known as the day from which women effectively work for free until the end of the year thanks to the very real gender pay gap. Its important to know that when you look at ethnic minority group women individually the picture is even bleaker, with a much wider gap. The Women’s Equality party started an initiative in which they encouraged all working women in the UK to turn on their ‘out of office’ email in support of closing the pay gap in the UK. It is something which I would thoroughly recommend all women taking part in next year because it really is a tactical way of spreading the word and raising awareness for the injustice.

DECEMBER – Christmas Day 2018 saw the selective cinema release of brand-new film On the Basis of Sex, which details the inspirational, glass-ceiling shattering professional journey of Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The story tells of an attorney and mother who fights day in day out for equal rights alongside her extremely supportive husband Marty. It is an important film for both women and men alike with positive and stereotype-breaking representations of both woman and man.

In the spirit of gratitude, feel free to share with me the feminist moments of 2018 that you are grateful for!