Since the dawn of the suffragettes and the waves of first-, second- and third-wave feminism, women have been fighting for social, economic and political equality.
In 2017 alone, there’s been the death of Karabo Mokoena, then-Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana assaulting two women during Women’s Month, and the countless incidences of rape culture, femicide, victim-blaming, slut-shaming and sexual harassment. The continued normalising of violence against women is shifting as women are finally being heard.
The crusade to hold men accountable for crimes against women is in full swing. High-profile influencers, celebrities, politicians and the like are being called out on their bullshit and actually facing the consequences.
Power dynamics are slowly but surely changing. 2017 has never been a more exciting time to be a woman on the forefront of dismantling hundreds of years of oppression through the age of activism online.
These are the 5 wonder moments of 2017 that made me proud to be a feminist.
1 The 2017 Women’s March
The Women’s March on 21 January 2017 was the largest coordinated protest in the history of the US.
The march was catalysed by Donald Trump’s Presidential victory despite decades of recorded evidence of his bigotry. More than this, the march aimed to be intersectional as black women, women of colour, queer women, disabled women, and women of different identities and lived experiences united under the banner of rejecting Trump’s administration.
To see thousands of women smashing patriarchy in one of the most visible protests in history was a shining moment in a dark era where we’re forced to be silent.
View this post on Instagram
Today's #SignOfResistance is by @frizzkidart. Today is the last day of April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We believe survivors. #SAAM • IMAGE DESCRIPTION: On a pink background, a wreath of yellow flowers with green leaves. In the center of the wreath, white, all-caps text reads "we believe survivors."
The global movement started by activist Tarana Burke over a decade ago was revived in mainstream media by Alyssa Milano tweet. The tweet would go on to shift the conversation around gender-based violence, sexual abuse and assault forever.
From #MeToo sprung various conversations and movements from #HimThough to #IDidThat and beyond. These online movements catapulted the prevalence of violence against women into the pop-culture stratosphere. The movement has reached thousands, crossed borders, and seen the demise of over 30 notable men in media and politics, including Harvey Weinstein and Ed Westwick. I never thought I would see privileged, cishet men who are abusers, rapists and protected perpetrators of violence being publicly ruined for their crimes in my lifetime. I’m all for the fight against patriarchy to continue into 2018 because we’re just getting started.
Another online movement that gained significant media traction and brought some pretty NB conversations to the forefront. South Africa is known for its sprawling landscapes, diversity and insufferable misogyny. #MenAreTrash reached widespread infamy following the murder of student Karabo Mokoena in another case of femicide. Enough is enough was our response. #MenAreTrash forced men (and some women) to evaluate how they contribute to the toxic masculinity that plagues our society. Again, all for it!
This one is recorded on my mom’s PVR but until I get to watch the documentary that followed up the highly acclaimed People Versus The Rainbow Nation, I’m consuming all the content celebrating this necessary critique on patriarchy in South Africa. The doccie features some of my fave figures in South African art and culture, including Glow Makatsi, Elle van der Burg, Nova Masango and Dope Saint Jude.
If you haven’t already, it’s one to watch.
5 The POWA Walkathon
This year COSMO joined People Opposing Women Abuse for their first-ever march against gender-based violence. Kicking off 16 Days of Activism, POWA brought together a community of women dedicated to supporting, educating and facilitating conversations and activism around violence against women.
I put my feminism where my walking shoes are and took a stand with hundreds of other women, what’s more empowering than that?