At the end of every year, we always say we’re going to make the next better than the previous. As rough as 2017 was for politics, science, and frankly anyone who wasn’t a rich, white, cis-male, it woke a sleeping volcano of feminism that had been simmering for almost 60 years. Every decade since the second wave of feminism in the ’60s has had some sort of feminist uprising, but in 2017 women made sure our voices were being heard. The year found us organizing the largest single-day protest, making waves in the government, and breaking the silence of Hollywood’s longest-running secret.
We took to the streets the day after Trump’s inauguration for the Women’s March, where an estimated 5 million people worldwide participated. The Women’s March became the largest single-day protest in our nation’s history. Or “herstory,” if you will. Protesters spanning 600 cities marched for the human rights that were being threatened by the incoming administration. And following the march, organizers of the Women’s March posted the “10 Actions for the First 100 Days” campaign to keep the momentum going.
We put our trust in the women elected into power to be our voice in an unfair and scary administration. Federal Judge Ann Donnelly blocked Trump’s “travel ban” in late January, and within hours three other female judges blocked the ban. Former U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates was even fired for asking the Justice Department not to defend the ban stating, “I am responsible for ensuring this institution’s solemn obligation to seek justice and stand for what is right.” Shortly after Yates’ termination, Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced while reading from a letter written by Coretta Scott King criticizing then-Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions’ record on civil rights. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell coined, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” causing “Nevertheless, she persisted” to be adopted as a new feminist battle cry.
We brought Hollywood and all its heavy hitters to their knees. The #MeToo movement shined a light on one of the oldest hush hush scandals in our country. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey wrote an article for the New York Times telling of the sexual harassment women in Hollywood faced at the hands of producer Harvey Weinstein. Their brave exposé sparked thousands of others to share their stories using the hashtag #MeToo. The story fractured Hollywood’s reputation and proved that men were using their positions of power to assault and control women. That stops now.
Trying to narrow down a list to only a few women was tough. There were women from all corners of the world and workforce that proved that the ladies aren’t to be messed with. Inspirer chose a few women who inspired us on many levels and claimed 2017 for the girls. Here’s to the year we found our voice, and to a powerful 2018.
Yates had worked for the Department of Justice for many years before being voted in as Deputy Attorney General in 2015. Following in tradition, her position carried over into the Trump administration, and that’s where she found herself at the center of one of the first political uproars for 45. During the early days of Trump’s “travel ban” Yates spoke up and out, refusing to enforce the order. The order as it stood at the time would have banned all refugees entering from Seria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Iran. All Muslim majority areas. It was Yates who stood up and brought to light the fact that the “ban” directly violated the U.S. Constitution. She was upholding the “Establishment Clause” in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The White House’s statement immediately following her dismissal on January 30 cited Yates “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”
Kathy Griffin has always found her place in comedy just on the cuff of offensive. Which, in my opinion, is what makes a good comic. In a world where people call each other snowflakes or claim everyone is too quick to be offended (mostly Trump supporters to liberal millennials), it took a photo shoot of Griffin holding the “severed” head of Trump to get the MAGA lids to flip. Where some felt it was a good use of our great nations First Amendment, others were far from impressed. The photo, taken by Tyler Shields, only depicted what a lot of us were thinking. Griffin once again had the lady balls to make the statement for us. However, she did apologize and took the photo down. The damage had been done, though, and many of Griffin’s gigs and appearances were canceled. When asked about the image now she says, “I’m not sorry. I take the apology back 1,000 percent. The reason I made the apology is when the image went out, I thought people would just think, ‘That’s Kathy doing another shocking image.’ I’ve done many throughout my entire career, and I’ve done many shocking things. When I won my first Emmy I said, ‘Suck it, Jesus, because this award is my God now!’ And you know, the conservatives took ads out it the papers. That’s what they like to spend their time and money on. So yes, I knew what I was doing.”
The U.S. wasn’t the only country dealing with radical protesting in 2017. During the May Day rally in Brno, Czech Republic, a photo of a teenage girl and a neo-Nazi meeting face to face went viral. 16-year-old Lucie Myslikova and her fellow Scouts attended the counter-protest of the neo-Nazi Workers Party of Social Justice in hopes of bringing peace. Myslikova is proof that age isn’t a factor when you are standing up for what you believe in. “I wasn’t afraid, I went to the counter-demonstration as someone who was determined to change things. To me, it makes sense to try and change the world around me. I think young people should get involved in such things. They should be aware of what’s going on.”
Being a Girl Scout while growing up is a rite of passage for many young girls, but not all. With the growing population of homeless youth in the country, the number of girls Scouting is shrinking. When Giselle Burgess found herself and her five children in a situation that left them homeless, she knew she had to become active in the community. Burgess is part of a new reality we are facing — a demographic known as the “working homeless.” Her salary is too high to qualify for assistance, but not enough to afford a home. Wanting to give back, she suggested forming a Girl Scout troop that meets at the shelter she and her family stays in. Unknowingly to Burgess, she pressed the gas on an already moving vehicle. New York City’s Department of Homeless Services has been working on creating programs to meet the needs of homeless children. Of NY’s 60,000 people in shelters, 40 percent of them are children. And of the 287 people at Burgess’ shelter, 155 of them are under the age of 18. Troop 6000 formed from the initial idea of offering a few select girls the opportunity to attend summer camp, but Burgess wanted to help shape and teach more than a couple of at-risk girls.
The end of 2016 wasn’t easy for Hillary Clinton, or for the majority of the United States. She may not have won the election (she did) but like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Hillary Clinton proved you can’t keep a good woman down. The 2016 election was, for lack of a better term, a circus. And Clinton came under constant fire from the opposing side. She had to maintain her composure while being accused of a number of things, through people chanting “lock her up,” and let us not forget those deep, dark emails. A year later, Trump is still focusing on putting down “crooked Hillary.” But through all of it, Clinton kept her dignity and held her head high. From the constant abuse towards her spawned one of our new feminist mantras: “When they go low, we go high.”