2012 is barely a week and a half old and the bad news is already pouring in for American women. People are actually listening to Rick Santorum. 2/3 of all new jobs are going to men. And just in case we rang in the New Year with a smidgen of hope, an anti-choice charmer decided the day would be better spent by setting a Florida abortion clinic on fire.
Before we take a deep breath and stare down whatever else 2012 has in store, I’d like to remember that even in the year that was a war against women we had some good news. In no particular order–and in alarmingly varied degrees of significance–I give you my:
Top Ten Feel-Good Feminist Moments of 2011
1. Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords Appears In Congress (August 1, 2011)
In the midst of that nonsensical debt ceiling debate she was a one-woman argument for gender parity: for at least a second or two. Appearing in Congress for the first time since she was shot, she led by example, showing the nation exactly how having a woman in the room can change the culture of an overwhelmingly (dysfunctional) male institution.
2. Egyptian Women Protest Army Abuse (December 20, 2011)
I wish I were less apprehensive about what the “Arab Spring” means for women; but this protest seemed like a step in the right direction. The military rulers and conservative politicos may keep trying to write women out of the revolution. Here’s to hoping the Egyptian women continue to retake the narrative.
3. Saudi Arabian Women Defy the Ban on Female Drivers (June 17, 2011)
Another step in the right direction. Not a bad thing to remember when losing hope or patience. Patriarchy is older than the damned pyramids.
4. The First SlutWalk is Held in Toronto, Canada (April 3, 2011)
Kudos to co-founder Heather Jarvis, a student in Toronto, for finding a creatively constructive way to deal with the sort of boneheaded remark that’s been making feminists’ blood boil since blood started boiling. A Toronto police officer’s advice at a university safety forum: “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Jarvis’ response: “We were fed up and pissed off, and we wanted to do something other than just be angry.” Well-done and well-said.
5. Four-year-old Riley Maida Rages Against the Pink Stuff (December 27, 2011)
Riley’s rant against gendered toy marketing went viral at the height of shopping season. Can’t believe we’re still having this conversation, but at least there are great feminist parents out there (I love that it’s her dad filming) raising girls and boys like Riley.
The only sensible response to the ridiculous and absurd attack on Planned Parenthood. And a hell of a lot more fun than crying. I love that she’s using her funny for good!
7. Bridesmaids Debuts (May 13, 2011)
It’ll probably cure cancer before it stops folks from asking the sexist trifecta: (Are women funny? Can a woman open a movie? Will men go see it?) But the answers are yes, yes, and yes. And guess what else? It passes theBedchel Test!!!
8. Best Actresses Unite! (September 19, 2011)
The highlight of the Emmys. All the nominees for Best Actress gathered on stage and joined hands when their names were announced. The anti-cat fight. And funny, too.
9. Women Write a slew of comedies … and people watch (Fall 2011)
Okay, yes, technically it’s a season not a date, but when women writers trend it must be noted! New Girl and 2 Broke Girls got the buzz, but I’m partial to Emily Kapnek’s Suburgatory. (For one thing, I can almost hear Kapnek’s New York fish in the ‘burbs Tessa snark about calling women “girls.”) But the point is we’ve got choice. The more women write, the more we have to watch.
10. Kim Kardashian files for divorce (October 31, 2011)
Yes, I do feel bad about seeing a silver lining in someone else’s cloud, but if the Kardashian fiasco teaches just one girl that a wedding is not a marriage, maybe, just maybe it was worth it.
Jodi is a freelance writer and recovering academic with more enthusiasm for sports than athletic talent and a prodigious taste for the health food known as dark chocolate.