2016 Recap: Our Feministing Favorites

As the shitshow that’s been 2016 winds to an end, we’re taking this week to reflect on some of the best feminist writing of the last twelve months. Here are our favorites from the site.

Barbara: I re-read Jacqui’s ode to Korryn Gaines and Black Women Who Dare to Be Defiant so many times this summer, I think I even memorized parts of it. When Korryn Gaines was being demonized and blamed for her own murder, this piece reminded us that “Korryn Gaines’ strategy may not be your strategy or my strategy, but it is indeed a strategy—and it’s one Assata Shakur and others modeled for us in years past, and many Black women model for us today.”  I also *loved* Cassie’s piece in the wake of the Pulse shooting, “In the Face of Homophobia and Islamophobia, Queer Touch Persists.”

Sam: I probably think back most often to Cassie’s tribute to Muhammad Ali, which is also a tribute to poetry. It still feels like a magical piece of writing, especially that last sentence’s string of commas: “And so poetry became dance and criticism became boxing and as I attempt to do both at once, I imagine Ali, the prettiest, recognizing, suddenly, that butterflies don’t fly, they float.”

Dana: Our books columnists, Ava, Sam, Chanelle, and Abigail, consistently produce some of the smartest, loveliest writing for the site. Abigail’s review of Maggie Nelson’s “The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial” was no exception. One passage, on the telling of trauma, has haunted me for months: “There are multiple ways to proceed through a story, but proceeding does not always mean forward motion. As Nelson realizes, there are some things that are never processed, that you do not get over or move through. There are some things you carry with you.” As I’m sure others will echo, don’t miss Meghna’s love letter to Chelsea Manning. It’s a model for how to honor our heroes’ activism without for a second reducing them to it.

Senti: Barbara’s “A Love Letter to My Sister in the Trump Era” was so what I needed in the aftermath of the election. At a time when I didn’t yet feel ready to strategize or activate, it was reassuring and important to be reminded that you can take some time to just be and feel broken before moving forward.

Juliana: It’s almost painful to read through this article now, but I was so proud of the piece that Mahroh and I wrote together before the primaries on why we had misgivings about Hillary Clinton as a candidate for president. Also, this open letter Quita wrote to Nia Green, who was filmed being beaten by her other after she came upon Nia and her boyfriend dressed in towels.

Mahroh: I’m echoing others at this point now, but….I also really appreciated Jacqui’s ode to Korryn. Her challenge to young organizers who quote the radical activists before us but would scoff at their methods today is permanently etched into my mind. I loved tagteaming with others from our team this year (typically to critique Clinton when no one else would) so I also was so proud of the piece Juliana and I wrote as well as the piece Dana and I wrote after the nomination.

Reina: Feministing has been dropping some fantastic content on the racist anti-woman brutality of the American(/global) security state this year. I always love how awesome we are as a crew at connecting the micro (our own experiences) with the macro (GLOBAL IMPERIALIST EVIL) and this year has been more of the same. Been loving Mahroh’s always-uncompromising calling out of liberal security-state bullshit. And Meghna’s coverage of Chelsea Manning has been seriously inspiring. Chelsea tweeted at her, complimenting her work, so um, GO MEGHNA.

Ava: Meghna’s post-election call for white people to recognize that anything less than direct action and material support is “complicity” continues to be a must-read.

Quita: I really loved Meghna’s “PSA: Your Transphobia and Body Isn’t Radical.” It was a great reminder that we can talk about how trash someone’s politics and actions are without reinforcing oppressive notions about bodies. It also felt important to put “pen on paper,” in a sense, and write “Coming Out and Dispelling Anti-Blackness.” I really wanted to disrupt harmful rhetoric about homophobia in Black families and communities.

Meghna: I liked our coverage of Standing Rock and the feminist aspects of environmental issues a lot. Mahroh’s article here laying out how protesting the Dakota Access pipeline is a feminist issue was so important, and upon re-reading it, this line made me smile: “The fight to stop the Dakota Access may seem impossible, but young people already won one like it before. This pipeline is set to be only 7 miles shorter than the Keystone XL, which seemed equally unstoppable but was ultimately vetoed by President Obama after years of struggle.” In the only non depressing prediction of 2016 — we did win this one! Juliana on why environmental protests matter for feminism, and her coverage of the courageous, young Standing Rock protesters, were also amazing.

New Haven, CT

Dana Bolger is a Senior Editor at Feministing and the co-founder of Know Your IX, the national youth-led organization working to end gender violence in schools. She's testified before Congress on Title IX policy and legislative reform, and her writing has appeared in a number of outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. She's also a student at Yale Law School, and you can find her on Twitter at @danabolger.

Dana Bolger is a Senior Editor at Feministing and a student at Yale Law School.

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