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Why 2017 Was the Year of Feminism

As 2017 wraps up, one of the biggest takeaways from the year is the rise of the female in modern culture. From social media all the way to the ballot box, here is why women dominated 2017:

1. Activism

We got our first glimpse at the political power of women during the Women’s March. Following Trump’s inauguration, the Women’s March spanned several major metropolitan areas and is considered the largest, single-day protest recorded in American history. According to the Washington Post, over 600 marches occurred that day and “the women’s march involved between 3,267,134 and 5,246,670 people in the United States.” This does not even include the number of sister marches that occurred in other nations at the same time.

The momentum continued with “A Day Without a Woman,” the women’s strike on International Women’s Day 2017. Though the turnout is unclear, reports have shown that thousands of women participated and schools were shut down as a result.

2. 2017 Elections

After the Access Hollywood tapes and sexual assault allegations failed to keep President Donald Trump out of office, the 2017 election cycle acted as a referendum on sexism and bigotry. One notable victory was the election of Danica Roem, Virginia’s first openly transgender state lawmaker. She defeated incumbent Bob Marshall, who ran an anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice campaign.

The true watershed moment was Roy Moore’s electoral loss in the U.S. Senate race in Alabama. The Republican candidate was lauded for allegedly molesting teenage girls while working in the district attorney’s office. The accusations culminated into Doug Jones becoming Alabama’s first Democratic U.S. Senator in 25 years.

3. #MeToo

In the wake of sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, women in Hollywood rallied together to share their experiences of sexual harassment using the hashtag #MeToo. The campaign revealed how disturbingly commonplace such incidents are and ushered in a new wave of accountability within the media industry. The movement led to the downfalls of Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and Matt Lauer to name a few.

The movement then spread to Washington with allegations against Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

Many more accusations against male politicians followed, as several have either resigned or announced that they will not be seeking reelection. This includes Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.).

Even female members of Congress have come forward against their colleagues. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) accused unnamed representatives of lewd behavior during a hearing on sexual misconduct: “This member asked a staffer to bring him over some materials to their residence and was greeted by the member in a towel. It was a man, who then invited her in. At that point, he decided to expose himself.”

Just as in Hollywood, the problem of sexual harassment is pervasive on Capitol Hill. According to CNN, Congress paid $17 million in settlements in sexual misconduct.

Many agree that the #MeToo campaign led to the biggest cultural change of 2017, as the women who came forward were named Person of the Year by TIME Magazine.

Salma Hayek just released her story detailing the sexual harassment inflicted by Harvey Weinstein, so harrowing tales of sexual abuse will not cease to come out anytime soon.


Photo: Kisha Bari

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Crystal Foretia
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A high school junior from Montgomery County, Maryland, Crystal has loved politics and journalism ever since she was kid. She is currently an ambassador for Bridge the Divide and writes for The Tide Newspaper. Check her out on Twitter: @crystal_foretia and Instagram @queen_crystie

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