14 Things That Made Me a Happy Feminist in 2014

Monday, December 29, 2014

1. I went to Beyonce's On the Run tour and had a religious experience when I saw Queen Bey standing before the word FEMINIST emblazoned on a gigantic screen. Yonce would later wave her feminist banner in the same way at the MTV VMAs. Flawless.

2. Laverne Cox graced the cover of Time magazine and continues to open doors for transgender men and women. The Orange Is the New Black actress is also an alum of the Alabama School of Fine Arts, my alma mater and the school where I currently teach.

3. Lupita Nyong'o became the fifth black woman to receive a best supporting actress Academy award for her role in 12 Years a Slave. She also received honors from Glamour and Essence magazines. In the speech she gave while accepting the Black Women in Hollywood Breakthrough Performance award from Essence, Nyong'o spoke openly and honestly about body image and blackness and got the world talking about the role that skin color plays in how we define beauty.

4. Mo'ne Davis redefined the meaning of the phrase "throw like a girl" when the 13-year-old led her team to the Little League World Series. She was recently named Sports Illustrated Kid's "SportsKid of the Year" and she was the first Little Leaguer to land the cover of Sports Illustrated.

5. HelloFlo gave me a new excuse to talk about my period. I've always believed that women should openly discuss their periods without shame because there is nothing weird or gross about our bodies. And the hilarious commercials produced by the sanitary product company HelloFlo serve as great conversation starters.

6. Taylor Swift finally saw the light! Two years ago I blogged about comments Swift made about feminism in an interview with The Daily Beast. When asked whether she was a feminist in a 2012 interview with The Daily Beast, she replied:
I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.
But this year Swift had a feminist awakening.  In an August interview with The Guardian Swift said: 

As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means

7. Students at my alma mater the University of Alabama launched the UA Feminist Caucus, a feminist club seeking to address those who believe there's no need for feminism and to tackle misconceptions about feminism.

8. Actress Emma Watson delivered a speech before the U.N. on the importance of feminism and why everyone -- including men -- should care about gender equality.

Image by Mark Garten via Flickr Creative Commons

9. Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In addition to speaking out against violence and poverty, 17-year-old Malala has been a major advocate for more access to education for women and girls.

10.  The Greater Birmingham chapter of NOW (National Organization for Women) reorganized and reactivated. I'm now a card-carrying feminist!

11. While Democrats may not have fared well during the 2014 midterm election women, of both parties, certainly did. Setting a new record, 100 women will serve in the 114th Congress.

12. I wasn't a happy feminist while listening to Steve Santagati's idiotic comments about how women should consider street harassment as flattery, but Amanda Seales' response was amazing and the faces she made while this dude was talking his complete nonsense shall be my response from now on to all ridiculous mansplaining.

13. Cosmopolitan magazine is now about more than how to please your man. As editor-in-chieft Joanna Coales said, the Cosmo reader is "interested mascara and the Middle East." The magazine has decided to increase its feminist and political content, as evidenced by the decision to hire Jill Filipovic as senior political writer.

14. Shonda Rhimes always makes me happy. First of all, Scandal's Olivia Pope called herself a feminist in one of this season's episodes. But I also admire how Rhimes cooly and cleverly shut down the New York Times critic who called her an "angry black woman."


What made you a happy feminist this year? 


  1. So great to review all of these great moments in 2014! I feel empowered!

    1. Yes! That's exactly the effect I was hoping this post would have.