As we know, 2018 had its ups and downs. Tr*mp was still president, men still hollered at women on the streets, internet trolls still all-caps’ed rape victims for daring to speak against injustice. But, there were MANY things that really went well for the underdogs this year. Feminism, particularly intersectional feminism, and representation really made some strides this year, and I think it’s best we highlight some of those so we can bring that energy into the new year. So let’s dive in!
1. Representation in Entertainment
This year’s been pretty great for inclusion and representation. We started with ‘Get Out’ winning an Oscar, then Black Panther being this incredible phenomenon, then Crazy Rich Asians coming out and dazzling our eyes and feelings. It was great that Capitalism caught onto the idea that diversity sells. Oh well. Not only that, but the latter two films had strong female roles with incredible actors portraying them (I still wanna be Okoye).
In television, Shonda Rhimes is still killing it, giving us Annalise Keating, Olivia Pope, and Meredith Grey, as well as the other great and complex female characters in those shows. Heartwarming Michael Schur comedy shows such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place normalize people of colour being, you know, actual characters, and include characters in the LGBTQ community (hey, Rosa Diaz, we see you, we love you.) There was also a wonderful increase in female directors for 2018 pilot season, read more about it here. Even seemingly subtle things, like Issa Rae’s Insecure showing adult content that isn’t so male-gazey, is pretty awesome. To watch a sex scene in a show that doesn’t make me feel like there’s a pervy director trying to get as much female nekkidness as possible.
All in all, things have been coming up for representation in film and television this year, and I’m confident this will continue in 2019.
2. Fellas doing the good work
More male celebrities have been outwardly showing their support for the fight of patriarchy. Two of my imaginary husbands, Winston Duke and Idris Elba, have shown their support. Duke gave a wonderful speech on International Women’s Day, for which I’ll put a quote.
And Idris Elba, when asked if it’s difficult to be a male actor in the time of #MeToo, stated that “It’s only difficult if you’re a man with something to hide.” To which I say: YES, MAN.
This year, as some of you may know, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist who founded a hospital to treat sexual assault victims in Congo. (It was awarded to both him and Nadia Murad- read the article here).
He was honored for consistently speaking out against rape being used as a weapon of war, and the lack of consequences for the perpetrators and people in power. I was relieved to know that this award put a spotlight on a part of reality we don’t like to acknowledge or think about, that isn’t so saucy and popular in the news, and that more people are paying attention to things that need to be changed. To him, from a fellow Congolese, I say thank you ❤️
3. Midterm Results
Yes, voter suppression was a thing, the Kavanaugh case was not actually a really trippy nightmare, and Tr*mp and Associates tried v. hard to stop progress, BUT people came through in the midterms and some incredible milestones were reached in terms of representation. We’re living in the time of the first Muslim woman in Congress, the first Native American woman in Congress, the first openly gay governor, YO! Some good things came out of this, and you can watch this inspiring video summing it up here.
4. More conversations on women’s roles in relationships
Yeah, you know me bringing you the tea from the Twitter Streets! No for real, some good conversations happen there. This year, Ariana Grande has gotten some heat for being so selfish as to leave a relationship and is being held responsible for Mac Miller’s very tragic death. Honestly, the fact that some people have THE GALL to accuse someone, who is obviously grieving, of being the cause of someone’s suicide or mental health issues, is absurd to me. But it sparked a bigger conversation on what society believes women have to be and endure in relationships, and this bigger conversation is my focus.
I’m including this as a victory because every year I unlearn something else about womanhood. It takes time, and although I knew this logically, somewhere deep down, I still had to learn firsthand that I am not, in fact, obliged to constantly sacrifice myself to take care of my male partners, and that it is okay to exit a relationship that becomes toxic for me. It seems a lot of women were learning this at the same time I was. So cheers to another construct being unlearned. 🥂
5. POC on magazine covers!
I know that this is directly related to point #1 but I am celebrating it here too! I’ve seen so many women of color I follow on social media posting their excitement over their magazine covers. It’s been lovely to watch, knowing that little girls growing up can see all types and shades of women being presented as desirable.
Honestly, I haven’t bought or read a magazine in over 10 years but it’s amazing to see this. Not only because the celebrities are on the cover, but because they have interviews where they discuss important topics. Here’s an excerpt from Beyoncé’s Vogue interview:
For funzies, I’ve put a whole bunch of magazine covers that brought me joy here:
Thank you for reading Feminine Boutique in 2018! Hope to continue to see you in 2019! 🌸