The Best Of Bustle Digital Group: Our Favorite Stories From 2017

For most women, 2017 started in a hopeless place. Or, at least, a confusing place. We had spent years preparing for a future that seemed cemented — one in which reform supporting progressive, feminist ideals would become commonplace. But then, in November 2016, none of that came to pass. With such an uncertain future, where would we turn? It's hard to believe that, by the end of 2017, we have an answer to that question: we turned to one another.

Just look at Wonder Woman, or #MeToo, or, of course, the Women's March. In 2017, women refused to be silent, taking over the box office, social media, and the streets to prove our voice matters. And we were thrilled to be able to amplify those voices across Bustle Digital Group, on Bustle, Romper, and Elite Daily, bringing attention to women's struggles and victories this year.

Female survivalists. Doulas. Women of color who teach other women of color to surf. On Bustle Digital Group's pages, there was no shortage of identities that made a difference in 2017 just by supporting other women. In fact, reading through our round-up of the 29 best stories published across Bustle, Romper, and Elite Daily, it's easy to understand why the future is so much brighter than it seemed 365 days ago. (And, for more inspiration, check out the Best of Bustle, Best of Romper, and Best of Elite Daily.) We might have been in a confusing place last year, but, at this year's close, it's never been clearer: We're here for each other. We're here for you.

"Checking In One Year Later With The Women Who Almost Got Hillary Clinton Elected," By Jill Filipovic, Bustle

Art: Victoria Warnken/Photo: Kena Betancur/Win McNamee AFP/Getty Images

"Days after the election, Sow was dining at a hip pizza restaurant in Brooklyn when she heard a couple at the table next to her boasting about voting for Trump. “='I got so upset, I had to leave the restaurant,' she says. 'That was the first time that it dawned on me that these people were actually everywhere. They weren’t my friends’ parents in Texas, they were literally living in Brooklyn, eating liberal hipster pizza with me.'"

Read it here.

'Romper's Doula Diaries,' Produced By Abbey Adkison, Romper

Romper's first video series, Romper's Doula Diaries, dispels a lot of myths: about what a doula even does, about who hires them and who can afford them, about who they help (partners benefit, too!), and about what does and doesn't go on during childbirth. In an era when most births happen behind closed doors and maternal mortality is on the rise, the show aims to make labor, birth, and the women who help other women through them less mysterious. P.S. You're going to cry, accept it.

Watch all of Season 1 here.

"7 Young Women Reveal What Losing DACA Would Mean To Them & Those They Love," By Caitlin Abber, Bustle

Monica Sibri (Photos by Ashley Batz)

"'When we talk about the people who are affected by the end of DACA, we have to think about the rest of the immigrants, and make sure the conversation around DACA doesn’t promote this narrative of ‘good immigrants versus bad immigrants,' she explains. 'It’s very important for me as an organizer, it’s very important for our community and our movement, to make sure that every single undocumented person is considered just as important. Their lives are just as important.'"

Read it here.

"I Called Guys Out For Ghosting Me & It Was Actually Really Cathartic," By Hannah Orenstein, Elite Daily

STOCKSY/MICHELA RAVASIO

"If you got ghosted back in the olden days, you could at least just assume that your betrothed succumbed to cholera, or perhaps got swept away at sea, or at least died in a war or something. Like, those were all pretty reasonable guesses. But let me tell you, it is much harder to believe that's true today, because (1) we have vaccines and stuff, and (2) I know the doofus is alive because he's still posting on Instagram. Luckily, if you have no shame, you are perfectly free to call guys out for ghosting you to hear why they disappeared from your life.

So I did."

Read it here.

"'Full House' Fans Have Been Wrong About Kimmy Gibbler For 30 Years," By Martha Sorren, Bustle

Ashley Batz/Bustle

"Yes, Barber has her own teenager now and a pre-teen, her 13-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter respectively. They're two of the reasons Barber is quick to point out that she didn't "do nothing" between acting in Full House and acting in Fuller House — a common critique since she left acting for 20 years. Fans expected nothing of her character, yet somehow everything of the actor. And, though she didn't owe us anything, Barber delivered — and she went to way more than clown college."

Read it here.

"Tiny-Home Families Are Hacking Your Biggest Parenting Anxieties," By Janet Manley, Romper

Courtesy of Robert and Samantha Garlow

"'Pretty much everyone makes you feel like you have no idea what you're doing,' says Miller of being pregnant in a tiny home. Tiny lives feel a little too cute to some. I admit that for me the idea of a tiny home brought up images of families living in doll houses, ducking their heads to get under child-sized eaves and sitting in miniature furniture. But when you glimpse their lives on Instagram and Tumblr, their homes are aglow in natural light, surrounded by endless space to explore."

Read it here.

"Taylor Swift's First Music Video Vs. 'Reputation' Shows How Much She's Changed," By Jamie LeeLo, Elite Daily

Youtube

"I traveled back to the long, curly locks and squinty eyeliner days. I traversed the platinum bob into the red lipstick pout. I mountaineered through the peaks and valleys of her endless, rocky love life. I danced among the squad of amazon beauties and I watched her die and come back to life in her latest single. And let me tell you, Taylor Swift's first music video vs. Reputation tells a tale of I literally don't know what, but it's long and confusing and full of a great hair and makeup team.

Walk with me, Reader."

Read it here.

"What Writing About My Abusive Relationship With J.D. Salinger Taught Me About Silencing Women's Voices," By Joyce Maynard, Bustle

Courtesy of Joyce Maynard

"At the time At Home in the World was published — in the fall of 1998 — virtually the entire literary world (and seemingly everyone for whom Catcher in the Ryeremained the most sacred of books) responded with outrage, not simply about my memoir, but more so, towards me, with brutal personal attacks. Highly respected critics condemned me for violating the privacy of a man who had made it plain he wanted to be left alone. In the eyes of a vast majority of those who wrote about my story (and many did), I had exploited a great man."

Read it here.

"Hillary Clinton Still Believes 'It Takes A Village,'" By Olivia Hinebaugh, Romper

Courtesy of Hillary Clinton

"My desire to be the best mother in the world didn’t translate into knowledge about how to do it. I was pretty inept at first. At one point, Chelsea wouldn’t stop crying, and I was nearly frantic. Finally, I looked down at this tiny squirming infant and said to her, 'Chelsea, this is new for both of us. I’ve never been a mother before. You’ve never been a baby. We’re just going to have to help each other do the best we can.' It didn’t stop her wailing, but it helped remind me to be gentle with myself."

Read it here.

"67 Ways My Life Changed Instantly After The Solar Eclipse," By Kaitlyn Cawley, Elite Daily

Shutterstock

It was like I took a shower with Ponce de Leon in the fountain of youth. Like Thetis dipped me in the River Styx and didn't even forget my ankle. Like Steve Guttenberg and I went pool-hopping in exclusively Florida-based nursing homes. Like… super changed. All the changed. V changed."

Read it here.

"Ilana Glazer Is Not Your Best Friend (But Don't Worry, She Still Loves You)," By Kelsea Stahler, Bustle

Ashley Batz/Bustle

"'People always want to touch me and hug me and that bothers me ... like, because I’m 5’1, that’s another reason people feel like they can touch me, and that I hate. That really feels disrespectful. But again, I get it ... People just open their arms and it’s such a beautiful thing to me, like, what a gesture. And for me, sometimes it feels right and sometimes it doesn’t.'"

Read it here.

"Don't Know Any Young Moms With Special Needs Kids? They Probably Unfriended You," By Hillary Savoie, Romper

Ashley Batz/Romper

"you may not know that many of us are living with stress levels similar to those of combat veterans. You may not know that some of us have to unfollow you on social media, because the photos of your children vacationing with you on the beach, videos of your toddler's milestones, and complaints about your mom stress are just too much for us. You may not know that, despite our current apparent fluency with all things medical and developmental, we were not necessarily any more prepared for our children's challenges than you would have been. You may not know these things about us... but we want you to know."

Read the whole Now You See Us series here.

"I Dressed Like A '90s Kid Again & Now I'm Never Going Back," By Alana Peden, Elite Daily

Ashley Batz/Elite Daily

"My style reversion began with Instagram, because I'm an especially original millennial. Specifically, it started with the account of the guy I was dating last February, on which I found approximately 1,000 photos of scantily clad women wearing drawn-on jorts. When I calculated the sheer number of his thirst trapsubscriptions, I was alarmed, sure, but more than anything, it lead me to some probing personal questions:

Do I need to show off every part of my body at once to be seen as sexy? To be seen at all?"

Read it here.

'Race 2 Face,' Produced By Abbey Adkison, Bustle

"If you want a bit of background before you watch, here's how the show goes down: Two contestants compete against one another in challenges like beauty trivia, a beauty-themed obstacle course, and a makeup challenge where they can put their skills to the test. The competing pair are guided throughout the episode by prolific New York City drag queen Ruby Roo, and each episode culminates in an ultimate beauty face-off, wherein contestants use products that they scored in challenges throughout the episode."

Watch the series here.

"Ivanka Trump's Book About Working Women, Edited By A Woman Who Works," By Ej Dickson, Romper

Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

"I didn’t share a single picture of Arabella publicly until after her first birthday, SO YOU MEAN YOU DIDN'T PUT ANY PHOTOS OF HER ON FACEBOOK OR INSTAGRAM? LOTS OF PARENTS DON'T POST PHOTOS OF THEIR KIDS ON SOCIAL MEDIA at which point the paparazzi snapped a photo of us at an airport. OH. OK, THAT'S NOT WHAT YOU MEANT AT ALL. I didn’t want the first photo of my daughter to be sold to the press, CUT, THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT AFFECTS ONLY YOU AND BLAKE LIVELY AND MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL FAMILY so I posted an image myself on one of my social media accounts; after that, I began posting photos of our family more frequently. CAN YOU ADD WHAT APP YOU USE TO MAKE YOUR HAIR LOOK SO SHINY ON INSTAGRAM? THIS ISN'T AN EDITORIAL NOTE; I JUST WANNA KNOW."

Read it here.

"Does The Tax Bill Affect Birth Control? It’s Bad News For Women," By Hannah Golden, Elite Daily

MARK WILSON/GETTY IMAGES NEWS/GETTY IMAGES

"'The bigger picture is that birth control has given women, over decades, as it’s become more accessible and affordable, the autonomy to make the decisions they want to make for their lives,' Friedrich-Karnik says, citing careers, education, and family planning as examples of just some of those decisions women are able to make for themselves. 'To go backwards to a time when they can’t afford contraceptives … is really just a huge step in the wrong direction.'"

Read it here.

Comedy IRL, Bustle

Photo: Ashley Batz/Bustle; Design: Bry Crasch/Bustle

"Bustle's Comedy IRL is not a Top 10 comedians list. There's no power ranking here. This is a celebration of the power of women in comedy ... Throughout the month of July, Bustle is toasting the creative, thoughtful, hilarious women who use their craft to challenge norms, open conversations, and talk about issues that matter."

Read all of Comedy IRL here.

"The Man Who Assaulted Me Put My Photo On His Dating Profile. Here's What I Did." By Josephine Yurcaba, Romper

Courtesy of Josephine Yurcaba

"There's an unspoken rule in online dating: if a guy has a number of photos of himself with other women on his online dating profiles, we think, 'Well, if these women think he's safe and cool, then he must be.' If he has multiple photos of himself with the same woman, we think, 'Ah, so he is not only safe, but he has the ability to provide the emotional support necessary for someone to form a serious bond with him. He is trustworthy.'' The idea that my ex was using photos of me to gain that kind of trust from women — to disarm them, basically — left me with that same feeling I had the night of the assault: like I had no control, over my body or my likeness. He was essentially using my image to find and lure future victims."

Read it here.

"Women Of Color Surfing As A Powerful Form Of Resistance," Produced By Laurence Mathieu-Leger, Elite Daily

Elite Daily

"My presence in the water is so important. It's showing other women of color that this is not White Man's Playground. This is our playground. This is everyone's playground."

Watch it here.

"Stockpiles, Self-Reliance, & Survival Skills — How Some Women Are Preparing For Our Uncertain Future," By Kristina Marusic, Bustle

Laura Callaghan/Bustle

"Every one to two months, Tyler seals a fresh supply of dry foods like quinoa, beans, and rice into mylar bags with silica gel packets to remove moisture, a process that can extend the shelf-life of the supplies by up to 12 years. She does the same with dog food for her two pups, a silver lab named Rhaegar and Winston, a yorkie. She also stashes cases of bottled water under the bed and in the closet (in addition to the five-gallon water jugs she keeps in the garage), keeps books on emergency field medicine handy, and regularly buys new supplies to add to the extensive first-aid and trauma care kits she keeps around the house and in her car.

She then meticulously documents everything she has in spreadsheets, which she keeps as digital files and also in a physical a binder she updates regularly, just to be safe. It’s still a work in progress, but her ultimate goal is to be able to survive for a full year with no outside help if necessary — mainly to be prepared in the event that 'the big one' hits."

Read it here.

"How Much Time Do You Spend With Your Kids? Millennial Women Weigh In," By Chelsea Clinton + Romper

Scott Barbour/Getty Images News/Getty Images

"You’d like more time at the job you have to leave by exactly 4:39 each day to get to daycare pickup in time. You’d like time to finally tackle the household project you physically cannot take on when you spend the whole day with a baby and a toddler. You’d like to have a moment to yourself — to get a haircut, to watch a single, beautiful uninterrupted episode of TV, to go to the bathroom alone. And you want more time with your kids because, especially for parents of small children, you’re aware of three things: 1) they develop more intellectually and emotionally in this stage of their lives than any other; 2) as Chelsea mentioned, the quality time you spend with your kids has a huge impact on that development; and 3) these first years with them are precious, and they pass so quickly."

Read it here.

'The Ex Games' Podcast, Produced By Kaitlyn Cawley, & Anna Parsons, Elite Daily

Elite Daily

"The structure is simple: Two exes tell their sides of the breakup story separately, then they listen to the other's account, and finally we bring them both back into the room at the same time to argue over everything they've heard and finally have it all out. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to hear everything their ex thinks about them, to hear how the person on the other side really felt?"

Read more and listen here.

"Alyssa Milano Plans To Run For Office. Until Then, She's Running On Fire." By Alicia Menendez, Bustle

Adela Loconte/WireImage/Getty Images

"In 2003, UNICEF named Milano a Goodwill Ambassador. The following year, she campaigned for Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

'I went to every single swing state, with a bullhorn in the back of a pick-up truck,' Milano says nostalgically. 'People don't understand how small politics can be. I really fell in love with the process of campaigns being run out of someone's garage in Colorado.""

Read it here.

"Here’s What Happens If The ACA Is Repealed & You’re Pregnant," By Tiffany Thomas, Romper

"The couple found out Kim was expecting and told their doctor it would take about 30 days for insurance to begin. Kim says her doctor said waiting a month for the first ultrasound would be 'no big deal.'

But it was a big deal ... That turned out to be a critical miss in Kim’s pregnancy, as doctors later discovered that her boys had twin-to-twin transfusion, a syndrome that occurs when identical twins have a connected blood circulation through a shared placenta. According to the Twin-To-Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation, the complication means increased risk during delivery of blood and oxygen loss for one or both babies."

Read it here.

'What's Up Boo?' Produced By Rachel Roderman, Bustle

Alexa Carroll/Bustle

"Attention, fellow ghost hunters, paranormal enthusiasts, and spooky feminists: Bustle's new web series 'What's Up, Boo?' is about to light up your life like the radiation off a proton pack. OK, so you're not exactly going to find scenes straight out of Ghostbusters, but this series will give you incredible insight on some extremely underrated female ghosts from history. Follow intrepid host Alex Dickson as she sets out to places that claim to house female ghosts, and uses the help of mediums, historians, and psychics to tap into the afterlife and answer not only your burning questions about the past, but help put the present in perspective, as well.

The first stop on the 'What's Up, Boo?' tour? None other than the historic home of Matilda Joslyn Gage in Fayetteville, New York."

Watch it here.

"In The Wake Of Hurricane Harvey, These Women Are Stranded & Running Out Of Time," By Danielle Campoamor, Romper

Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

"'I just got off the phone with a young woman who had scheduled her appointment this past Saturday,' says Poppy. 'We had lined up funding for her because she's very marginalized, and she planned to go in for the procedure the day the clinic opened, but now she's short on funds. She had to buy water and other supplies to survive the hurricane. And that is going to be just the tip of the iceberg.'"

Read it here.

Beauty IRL, Bustle

"When we care about and put effort into our looks, are we just perpetuating a sexist standard that says women have to look perfect all the time? Or are we reclaiming that societal standard and using it as a way to say that our femininity makes us powerful? It comes down to this — can you be a beauty lover and a product hoarder and a highlighter addict and still be a feminist? Of freaking course you can."

Read all of Beauty IRL here.

"How To Access Your Past Life, According To An Expert," By Rosebud Baker, Elite Daily

Hayden Williams/Stocksy

"One client [...] suffered from chronic asthma, although the attacks were occurring only once a year on the anniversary of his father's death. Each year, he would suffer an attack that was bad enough to require hospitalization.

In one past life session, the client went into a lifetime where it was revealed to him that he was buried alive, and in the session he went through his death as his lungs filled with dirt.

'When the session was over, [my client] said to me, how cool it was for him to experience death in one lifetime and to travel back to this one, to experience death and to realize you never really die,' said Loffredo."

Read it here.

"How Unpaid Internships Teach Women They Can't Expect Equal Pay," By Jessica Torres, Bustle

Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

"Let's be clear: The problem isn’t internships — it’s unpaid labor. Alexandria Ocasio, a progressive millennial running for Congress in New York in 2018, tells Bustle that paid internships are a great tool to expand economic opportunities to more people. In her experience, she says, 'I quickly found that the more prestigious the internship opportunity, the less likely it was to pay at all, let alone enough to make ends meet. All work has dignity, but that dignity comes from work that’s paid enough to make ends meet.'"

Read it here.