Twenty-twelve has been an incredible year for feminism and for Feministing. After eight years, we’re still going strong — bringing you feminist news, analysis, laughter, and gifs direct to your screen of choice. ICYMI, this one was an election year, and even as we managed to avoid a transition in our White House leadership, we faced some change-ups with our own staffing. As one Feministing heavy hitter transitioned out of regular blogging, we gained three amazing new contributors (after holding our first-ever contributor contest), and two longtime contributors became editors.
The updated crew has been having a blast producing fresh feminist content at a mind-numbing pace. As a result, Feministing pageviews and visitors numbered higher than ever before in 2012, with the most notable metric pointing to an increase in visitors of over 40% as compared to 2011. While traffic isn’t the end-all-be-all here at Feministing, and we value the smaller, thought-leadery pieces as much as the more popular heavy hitters, we do love to take a moment to recognize the posts that resonated so well with you all that you decided to share them around the internet.
That’s why, this week, we’re happy to bring you a series of end-of-year reflections and reports instead of the usual bloggity-blogging. Tomorrow and Friday, we’ll be posting staff picks for our favorite posts from here and around the web. For now, I’m happy to present to you the top ten most popular posts on Feministing in 2012!
Maya struck a nerve when she highlighted the “verbal kicking” issued by British Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith in response to some dudes who posted offensive gender essentialist comments about her on Twitter. ”Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our ‘manly’ muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favourably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?!” she asked incredulously. Badass.
9. “Reactions of Mitt Romney’s 47 percent write off in gifs” (Vanessa – September 18)
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in 2012, it’s that everyone loves a good gif. Vanessa’s post combined one of the most explosive news stories of 2012, Romney’s secret “47%” video, with one of the year’s hottest online mediums, and the result was pure magic.
8. “Sherlyn Chopra- the first ever Indian lady to pose nude in playboy” (Samhita – July 31)
While it may seem obvious why a post with “nude” and “playboy” in the title did well on the Interwebs, Samhita paired this SEO goldmine with her trademark whipsmart analysis, exploring Playboy’s “awkward” relationship to feminism and likely dropping some serious knowledge on more than one person who may have started out simply in search of some naked lady pics.
7. “What if dude superheroes posed like lady superheroes?” (Jos – May 9)
Jos’ post about artist Kevin Bolk’s subversive gender switcheroos capitalized on the hype around one of the year’s biggest blockbuster, The Avengers, while turning some of the comic industry’s sexist imagery on its head.
6. “Enough with I date women and trans men” (Jos, June 28)
With this piece, Jos made a compelling, well-reasoned, and incredibly necessary point on why saying or “I date women and trans men” is the definition of cissexism, and cemented her place as an epic feminist thought leader (if it hadn’t been cemented already). Her post helped push forward our narrative about gender and dating, hegemony and misogyny, and caused something of a cathartic conversation in the lively comments section that followed. Jos continues to be such a boon to the Feministing team, as evidenced by the gushing of one commenter after reading her post: “That’s exactly what I love about this site. It complete embraces how “feminism” as a movement/cultural concept is constantly evolving, adding aspects, subtracting/multiplying/dividing aspects, parsing things out, figuring things out, and taking on all obstacles as they come to us.”
It’s encouraging to see a post like this get shared enough to make this list. Thanks Jos.
5. “Matt Lauer is gross, Anne Hathaway kicks slut shaming’s ass” (Jos, December 13)
Noticing a pattern here? Jos once again dominates. This time, the target of her razor sharp analysis was slimeball-of-the-moment Matt Lauer, who raised feminist eyebrows across the nation when he chose to interrogate Hathaway about her “wardrobe malfunction” (read: incident of unwanted sexual attention from opportunistic, commodifying paparazzi) rather than the movie she was there to promote.
4. “New study: Lesbian households produce a child abuse rate of 0%” (Vanessa – November 11, 2010)
The only post on this list to have been published in a year other than 2012, this post saw a resurgence in popularity as the study Vanessa cites became fodder for gay marriage debates across the country in an election year. While the sample size was small, Vanessa was right to point out that these kinds of studies are critical in breaking down the myths that are constantly being perpetuated by anti-LGBT culture, and to call for more studies in kind.
3. “Iconic ‘Kissing Sailor’ photo depicts sexual assault not romance” (Lori – October 4)
I was horrified when I learned the real context for this image, but I’m glad this particular “inconvenient truth” got the attention it deserved. A drunk man assaulting a stranger on the street has no place in our national conception of romance.
2. “A Sikh Woman Does Not Apologize for Her Appearance and Everyone Learns Something” (Samhita – September 27)
In a rare overlap between the Reddit and Feministing community, Samhita highlighted a beautiful post by a Sikh woman whose image had been posted online in an effort to shame her for having facial hair. In an impressive show of faith and courage, the woman published a moving response, prompting the original poster to apologize and, as Samhita describes, “pushing both normative Western standards of beauty and gender divisions in Sikhism.” LOVE.
1. “Well you did dare to speak in public so I guess you deserve this” (Chloe – October 18)
It’s perhaps fitting that in an election year, our most trafficked post was related to one of the presidential debates. When Katherine Fenton, a 24-year-old kindergarten teacher who doesn’t identify as feminist but apparently wants to be paid as much as a man doing the same job, asked Mitt Romney and Barack Obama a question about the gender pay gap during the second presidential debate, she did more than launch the now infamous “binders full of women” meme. As Chloe points out in her post about the subsequent conservative freakout, apparently, by speaking out in public about one of the –let’s be honest here — most straightforward and noncontroversial woman-related issues of the election, she also volunteered herself the target of some vicious attacks from the right. As always, Chloe brings her signature sarcasm and poignancy to this latest injustice, creating a rock solid post and the most popular of the year.
Ed note: This is the first in a series of posts summarizing the year in online feminism. Check back tomorrow and every day through the New Year for more end-of-the-year content.