The Feminist Media Reader #9 - My top 10 feminist moments of 2014

by - Friday, January 02, 2015


As a writer, I am very aware that jenessalikestowrite is only a teeny, tiny fish in an ocean of big, bold and brilliant bloggers (yay for alliteration). However, if there is one thing I've been really proud of this year, it's that routinely, my Feminist Media Reader posts have ranked as my 'most read' time and time again, showing that there is space for this sort of debate alongside the more traditional beauty and fashion reviews. This is something I really hope to keep up throughout 2015, with the aim to post at least every other Friday under this section heading. It's a cause that is really important to me, and should be important to you to, no matter your age, gender, creed or colour. 

But enough of that! Let's look at the ten moments this year which really affected me on a feminist level. 



Emma Watson's UN Speech
In one impassioned, eloquent and relatable speech, Emma Watson proved how powerful the voice of celebrity can be when channelled for good. Some of the issues raised in her speech are so important that I really hope 2015 is the year where both men and women realise how important feminism is, especially among young people.

The cancellation of Dapper Laughs 
Ridiculing or harassing women has been written off as 'banter' for far too long, and with Dapper Laughs, I saw for the first time a promising new change in the way we as the British public perceive comedy. Humour is of course subjective, but it simply isn't acceptable to base an act on such a ludicrous objectification of one gender or group of people. The public outcry that led to the cancellation of Dapper Laughs suggests to me that people have finally had enough, which is a great sign.

Malala Yousafzai accepted the Nobel Peace Prize
No sight this year has been more powerful than watching Pakistani-born teenager Malala Yousafzai become the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace prize for her work as an activist for female education - before heading back to her own chemistry class. Proof that it really is possible to change the world no matter your age, she is a person who we should all celebrate in this year and beyond.   



Discovering Laverne Cox
Most of my Christmas break was spent finally getting around to a good old-fashioned binge-watch of Orange Is The New Black (I'm only half the way through series 1, no spoilers please), and I have fallen completely in love with Laverne Cox. An icon for transgender actors and actresses, Laverne became the first openly transgender star to be nominated for an Emmy this year in an acting category, as well as coming third on the Guardian's World Pride Power List. Enough said.

Beyonce's MTV awards performance
Anybody who has ever accused Beyonce of being a fake-feminist, gossipped about the status of her marriage or wondered about her motherly instincts had their fears well and truly quelled at this years MTV awards. Dancing her way through her formidable back catalogue in front of a giant projection of the word 'FEMINIST'  couldn't have been more of a statement if it had tried. 

Taylor Swift discovering feminism
Despite my concerns earlier in the year that Taylor Swift might be falling foul of cultural appropriation, I do have to admit that I have fallen even harder in love with her this year, for two reasons: one, she'd made the best album of her career, and two, she finally discovered feminism. While she may not be everybody's cup of tea, I give credit to any artist who dares to tackle the F-word so frequently in interviews, as so many popstars look to avoid it completely - I'm looking at you Katy Perry.




Lupita Nyong'o winning an Oscar
Finally, some racial equality up in here! Watching Lupita Nyong'o win an Oscar for best supporting actress in 12 Years A Slave cemented how utterly ridiculous it is that she is is only the fifth ever black winner of such a prize, an the very first Kenyan recipient. The year she has had in terms of magazine covers and accolades is something that simply wouldn't have been possible a decade or so ago, and I'm immensely grateful that young women have somebody they can look up to and believe that they can do similar things, no matter their race. 

Azealia banks vs Iggy Azalea in a cultural appropriation row
Contrary to popular argument, I actually think Iggy Azealea is fairly blameless in this race row that is currently taking over Twitter, and have taken great displeasure in watching these two women tear one another down - music should be for all, and if influences are treated with the appropriate respect and for the right reasons, Iggy should be perfectly within her rights to make 'black' music, and vice versa. This arguments makes the list not because of the stupidity of the matter itself, but because it has at least opened a dialogue about such matters, a reminder that music can be a vehicle for important social commentary.

Women slaying the bloggersphere...repeatedly
Zoella is the obvious lady who springs to mind, but there is no denying that the bloggersphere is currently dominated by smart, funny, beautiful and enterprising young women who inspire me every time I open my bloglovin feed. The world of publishing and journalism as we know it has been smashed apart by a new - and perhaps most importantly, incredibly young- generation who see no barrier to achieving their dreams. Again, it's a world that simply didn't seem possible a decade ago.




Owning my own ethnicity
And so we finish on an aspect of feminism that will mean nothing to anybody but me. But hey, this is my space of the internet! Having graduated university, got my first full-time job and been thrown in at the deep end of adult life, during the latter end of 2014, I finally began to feel like I knew who I was. This may seem like a funny thing to say, but I was happy with myself, and I wanted to make a change that showed as such. 

So, for the first time since I was probably about 12, I decided that westernised standards of beauty could do one, and I stopped straightening my hair. A small move perhaps, but as my relaxer grew out and my thick, strong British-Caribbean curls grew out, I realised how utterly stupid it was that I had spent the entirety of my teenage years subconsciously trying to look like something I wasn't. So here I am, frequently bedraggled but with far smaller hairdressing bills, finally feeling embracing the young black woman that I am and ready to move into 2015 with the accompanying boost in confidence that comes from owning myself. A personal win that pales into insignificance when compared to some of the women above, but a win nonetheless.


What feminist moments most stick out in your mind from 2014?

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