January 21, 2017: The day after President Trump’s inauguration spills forth the resurgence of a movement. The Women’s March on Washington witnessed worldwide participation in all seven continents, along with the 3.3 million participants in the United States.
“Women’s rights are human rights” tags and threads speeches throughout the day and throughout the movement, echoing Hillary Clinton in her famous UN speech in 1995, and recalling early abolitionists of the 19th century.
May 25, 2017: Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot is released. The movie soon breaks box office charts, scoring the biggest single-day gross for female-directed movies at $38.85 million, and 2017’s third-largest start, behind Emma Watson’s (gaining increasing prominence as UN Women Goodwill ambassador) Beauty and the Beast.
Today, as the #MeToo movement continues to spill over from Hollywood and into broader social territories–politics, academia, corporations–as well as across American borders, “feminism” resurfaces as the word most looked up by users on the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, garnering its title as 2017’s word of the year.
The word’s steady spiking pulses throughout the year give insight to the pervasiveness of women’s abuse embedded in our culture, from minimizing, to microaggressions, to workplace sexual abuses, and to our own implicit biases. But it also gives insight into how our culture might be changing for the better. As our lives continue to be more saturated with media, the public is better able to demand accountability for the abusive actions of others, especially on a concerted level. This increasing accessibility to platforms, where men and women can feel validated in a society who doesn’t listen, who dismisses or shames or talks over those who try to speak out, has allowed networks and communities to be built where its members are better able to effect effusive change. It’s this connectivity that allowed the unprecedented scale of the Woman’s March to be realized. It’s this connectivity that users such as activist Tarana Burke took advantage of to orchestrate that loud and concerted voice that demanded attention.
In a year many dubbed to be the year of activism, feminism is at its vanguard, and entering the uncertain future of 2018, it continues to be undaunted.