The 9 Most Feminist Moments On The Internet In 2015, Because It's Been A Banner Year For Supporting Women Online
The end of the year is quickly approaching, and you know what that means: A round-up of 2015's most feminist moments online. With all the harassment, sexist trolls, and revenge porn floating around out there, the Internet can be anything from an uncomfortable place for women to a downright hostile one. At the same time, though, it can also be a haven for feminists to support each other. In fact, some of the very things that make the Internet so misogynistic provide feminists with the impetus they need to get conversations started. Does that excuse all the harassment? Of course not — but it does show how resilient women (and the men who support them) can be in the face of often-vitriolic sexism.
This year, for instance, could be termed the Year of Ladies Fighting Back. Whether it's online harassment or catcalling, unfair censorship or revenge porn, women are instructed from birth to accept the patriarchy as the status quo. "It sure is terrible that you can't go online without being called a 'slut,'" we're told, "but that's just the way it is."
Perhaps some are content with the current state of affairs, but the following feminists decided that 2015 was the year they weren't going to take it anymore. Let's take a look at some of the most fabulously feminist moments in the past 12 months.
1. Clementine Ford vs. The Troll
In early December, author Clementine Ford made headlines when she reported a man for leaving a comment calling her a "slut." The catch? Rather than leaving it up to Facebook to remove the comment, Ford reported the slur to his place of work, ending in his termination at the company and sparking a debate about real-life consequences of online sexism and harassment. Although the argument still rages on, the real winner is clearly Ford, who managed to achieve the impossible: Get back at a sexist troll.
2. #SayHerName Drew Attention To Police Brutality Toward Women
#BlackLivesMatter has been on everyone's radar for more than a year now, but black women are rarely included in the discussion of police brutality. The #SayHerName campaign, however, strove to direct attention toward the injustices women of color face every day. "If we’re to use these stories [of black men] as a way of thinking about how police reform has to be attended to... we have to include women in that," Kimberlé Crenshaw told the Huffington Post in May.
3. #HackAHairDryer Totally Failed, And For Good Reason
IBM's campaign to support women in STEM fields had good intentions; even in 2015, science and technology are largely male-dominated professions. However, encouraging women to #HackAHairDryer didn't quite go over well with its audience, who took issue with the campaign's reinforcement of gender norms. The failure of the campaign speaks volumes: Women will not stand for casual or unintentional sexism anymore than they will for deliberate misogyny.
4. Jex Blackmore Became An Unmother
When Jex Blackmore became unexpectedly pregnant earlier this fall, she found few resources regarding the step-by-step process of getting an abortion. As a result, she chose to record her experience online, under the name the Unmother Project. Her procedure is now over, but she left the blog up as a resource for other women searching for information about abortion. (You can read it here.)
5. Matt McGorry's Twitter Was Perfect In Every Way
The Orange Is the New Black and How to Get Away with Murder star openly declared himself an intersectional feminist this year, and his Twitter has been an absolute goldmine of feminist ideology ever since.
6. Women Shouted Their Abortion
#ShoutYourAbortion took Twitter by storm earlier this fall after an anti-abortion group accused Planned Parenthood of selling "baby parts." The videos produced by the anti-abortion group have since been determined to have been heavily doctored. The ensuing firestorm of media attention brought abortion rights back to the forefront of national conversation, and in an effort to combat the stigma associated with abortion, women openly discussed their procedures online under the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion.
7. Kiran Gandhi Wrote About Her Decision To Run A Marathon Without A Tampon
Gandhi made headlines earlier this year when she ran the London marathon while free-bleeding, aka not using any menstrual products during her period. On its own, it was a cool way to destigmatize periods, but her essay for Medium exploring her decision took it to the next level. "A marathon in itself is a centuries old symbolic act," she wrote. "Why not use it as a means to draw light to my sisters who don’t have access to tampons and, despite cramping and pain, hide it away like it doesn’t exist?"
8. Women Photoshopped Their Nipples On Instagram
#FreeTheNipple has been arguing against censorship of female breasts for a few years now, but this year, women took the conversation in a hilarious direction by pasting artist Micol Hebron's "male nipple template" onto their breasts. The results, posted on Instagram, served to highlight the absurdity of sexualizing some nipples but not others, especially in a time when gender fluidity is becoming increasingly accepted in society.
9. Search Engines Helped Fight Against Revenge Porn
Revenge porn is notoriously difficult to erase online, but this year, Microsoft helped crack down on nonconsensual sharing of explicit pictures. Victims simply use a request form to ask for their photos to be taken down from Bing. Google has a similar policy, which allows victims to remove their explicit pictures from search results, and both Reddit and Twitter modified their privacy policies this year to include revenge porn. It's not perfect, but it's a start.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (4)