2014 has taught us that a critical mass of people want to talk feminism
December 29, 2014 8:58 AM   Subscribe

"From a seven-year-old who took on a supermarket to the girls who stood up to authority against violence, racism and inequality, these girls make the future look bright." Laura Bates looks back at a year of young feminist action in the Guardian piece, "2014: a year of brave, inspiring, young feminists". More feminism year-in-reviews below the fold.

2014: What A Year For Student Feminists, by Kate Samuelson at HuffPost Students: United Kingdom
"2014 was the year of student feminists. From the inspiring number of feminist societies that have been set up (Westminster, Durham, Liverpool, Gloucestershire, Central Lancashire and Kings College London have each set up femsocs in the last 12 months), to the successful Reclaim the Night events organised by student societies across the country, student feminism has never been so predominant.

"So, which student feminists, women's officers and student femsocs really stood out this year? We've rounded up the movers and shakers. Bring on 2015."
Feminism’s strange 2014: What we want to see happen next year, by Andi Zeisler for Salon.com
"It's taking a lot of strength to not make a 'We've come a long way, baby' reference to kick off this piece. 2014, among all the other thing it was, was also the year that feminism, long simmering at the edges of politics, culture and media, boiled over into the mainstream, splashing into celebrity, commerce and beyond. It was a year in which the Nobel Peace Prize went to the young woman who had nearly died because she had the audacity to suggest that girls be given the same access to education as boys; a year in which the development of girls' minds and self-confidence were at the center of marketing campaigns for Verizon and Always; a year in which the biggest pop star in the world pledged her allegiance (or, if you're a bit more cynical, her brand) to feminism onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards. It was a year in which some of the biggest, most visceral debates about women's full participation as humans in society took place online, via hashtags like #YesAllWomen, #YouOkSis, and #WhyIStayed and, perhaps less productively, in ethics-in-journalism clusterfuck #Gamergate.

"Which is not to say 2014 itself was a feminist year. It would be more accurate to say that it was like most other years in that feminism, no matter how visible or hot a topic, was still treated simultaneously as a threat, a distraction, a scourge and a passing trend."
Video (warning: auto-playing): MSNBC, How feminism won in 2014 (12/07/14) – roundtable discussion with Zerlina Maxwell, Jill Filipovic, Liz Plank, and Krystal Clear.

The 39 Most Iconic Feminist Moments of 2014, Elizabeth Plank, Identities.Mic
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (18 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
HuffPost, the Guardian, Salon, MSNBC - there is a pattern there! It's all about the discourse. What feminism achieved in 2014 was replacing our last few years of anti-war, poverty/inequality and/or Gay rights as the dominant left wing talking head topic. Though racism has made a late run, although more probably will remain our "second favourite team" for every rich white progressive (and let's be honest people who read those news sources are overwhelmingly those things.)

It would be interesting if people started not to talk to other people not totally on their team of course - but probably unrealistic.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 9:32 AM on December 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

It's kind of felt like it's been the Year of Feminism on MetaFilter, too, and this post helps point to why.
posted by charred husk at 9:42 AM on December 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

* The astonishing Mo'ne Davis
* The incredible Malala Yousafzai
* Queen Beyonce' - bow down, y'all
* The sky's-the-limit Lupita Nyong'o
* The feisty-and-fierce Mindy Kaling
* The Rhymes-With-Fine Shonda Rhimes

...and on and on and on (I'm sure I've missed quite a few women). 2014 wasn't just about the revival of feminism in public discourse, it was about how women of color were a huge part of forcing it back onto the table.

I've said it before, and I will say it again: feminism gets further along when the goals of women of color are also incorporated into the overall goals of the movement. I hope white feminists take note.
posted by magstheaxe at 9:47 AM on December 29, 2014 [36 favorites]

If there was one take-away from #Gamergate for me, it was there are a lot of people who are threatened by women in rather dramatic fashions, and it's partly because of the ever-increasing role that women play in what was assumed to be male-dominated markets and even more so society's willingness to acknowledge their contributions. It bugs them, and we saw those frustrations get vented over the course of a very tumultuous few months. I think it's a testament to how much feminism has achieved in recent years.
posted by surazal at 9:50 AM on December 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Hassan’s mum grounded her for telling the prime minister to “grow a pair” on national TV, but it was a small price for resounding success.

That brought a smile to my face.
posted by TedW at 9:57 AM on December 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

I hope this means that people are increasingly ok with calling themselves/being called a feminist. And frankly the core of being a feminist shouldn't be that radical for most people. But people do tend to pick one or two unsavory characters and have them stand in for a whole group, so suddenly feminism means 'man hating' or whatever other silly misconception-of-the-month is being fed along.

Occasionally I peruse that cesspool called Reddit because they do have a few nuggets worth paying attention to. Right now there is a thread gathering questions for a Margaret Atwood AMA, and on balance author AMAs can be interesting, and you know Margaret Atwood! There are no insulting questions (as of yet), but I did notice any question that had 'feminist' in their question gets downvoted. Every One.
(Plus the whole reddit 'Red Pill' idiocy in general)

Anyways. made me realize I take MeFi for granted sometimes. No down vote. minimal redpill crowd.
posted by edgeways at 10:08 AM on December 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

Lewis's law: The comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.

posted by MrJM at 10:41 AM on December 29, 2014 [7 favorites]

Lewis's law: The comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.

I'm going to remember that one.
posted by mordax at 10:56 AM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Re: Lewis law - I bet you can you abstract it to every ideology published on a major opinion website. Like if you look at the comments below David Brooks articles I bet they justify centrist conservatism. Don't read the comments (except on metafilter) is good advice for a reason.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 11:08 AM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have definitely noticed an uptick this year not in the number of feminist voices but in the degree to which popular media has been receptive to amplifying those voices. Feminism has become a "thing". Very different from the attitude of the previous, well, two decades that feminism is unnecessary.
posted by Librarypt at 11:17 AM on December 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

I just saw this Laurie Penny article discussing the intersection of nerd culture (including girl nerds), feminism, and oppression. Good stuff.
posted by emjaybee at 11:22 AM on December 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

Re: Lewis law - I bet you can you abstract it to every ideology published on a major opinion website. Like if you look at the comments below David Brooks articles I bet they justify centrist conservatism.

David Brooks:commenters angry at him for his bad opinion::bell hooks:commenters angry at her for existing
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:36 AM on December 29, 2014 [11 favorites]

For a pair of my friends this has sort of been a "when the rubber meets the road" year, as they've always mocked conservatives for "feminazi" stuff but got all up in arms when the feminist critiques of gaming and skeptic culture began to get publicized. I think they're finally turning the corner, though.
posted by charred husk at 11:39 AM on December 29, 2014

Also the year MeFi's jscalzi noticed the way things are going, considered his own attitude and decided "hell, yes".
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:17 PM on December 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Mary Sue's 17 favourite feminist moments of 2014. How in the world did I miss out on hearing of The Womansplainer?! I blame you, Mefites.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:22 PM on December 29, 2014

I love how broad the conversation within feminism is. You have everything from bell hooks to Beyonce - so many wonderful, articulate women.
posted by Deoridhe at 9:32 PM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think, and I know some may disagree, at heart feminism is pretty simple, which accounts for the wide range of people under the umbrella. There is a lot of different ways to put it, but essentially it's just that women should have the same social and legal benefits and protections as men. That is pretty basic. It makes no judgements on the person beyond that. You could be (I would argue) a Nazi, a racist or almost any other vile thing and still be a feminist.
Traditionally some would tack on many other worthy causes and ideas, but I think when you start doing that you should enter hyphen-land. Being an environmentalist/vegetarian/anti-gun/... is not (imo) core to being feminist (as a group). It may well be part of being a feminist-as-a- specific-individual and there is zero wrong with that it's just part of how people self identify. I think the shorthand gets sloppy though and that is where we run into trouble engaging larger audiences. Lumping in a wide range of possibly related but disparate causes into one label makes it a lot easier to attack. But there has been some difficulty in reaching consensus of meaning, or even who gets to use the label. In the John Scalzi link above there is a commenter who takes direct issue with men calling themselves feminists preferring feminist-ally. I understand what she is saying even though I disagree with it, and think it complicates things even more.
posted by edgeways at 9:39 AM on December 30, 2014

Listen up, women are telling their story now, Rebecca Solnit, The Guardian
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:32 PM on January 3, 2015

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