2016 Recap: Our Favorite Feminist Articles From Elsewhere on the Internet

Yesterday we reminisced about our favorite feminist writing on our own site from the past twelve months. Today we’re reflecting on the best feminist writing elsewhere on the internet. What’d we miss? Tell us in the comments!

Ava: If for some reason you have yet to read Masha Gessen’s rules for surviving—and resisting—autocracy, you must. “If you follow Rule #1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised. But in the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock. This will lead people to call you unreasonable and hysterical, and to accuse you of overreacting. It is no fun to be the only hysterical person in the room. Prepare yourself.” Gessen’s follow-up piece on maintaining moral clarity despite the temptation to compromise will never cease to be a necessary reminder: “We cannot know what political strategy, if any, can be effective in containing, rather than abetting, the threat that a Trump administration now poses to some of our most fundamental democratic principles,” she writes of the temptation to seek political solutions with ‘clear outcomes.’ “But we can know what is right.”

Dana: It’s just a few paragraphs but Yuhe Faye Wang’s reflection in The New Inquiry‘s “Waking Up In Trump’s America” was such a spot-on reframing of the post-Trump narrative that had been developing in my overwhelmingly white, liberal campus community. “I can’t stop thinking about this narrative of the forgotten, rural, white voters, and how dangerous it is,” she writes. “I don’t want to diminish the suffering and disillusionment these election results are turning us towards[...] However, to argue that this election is what happens when we stop listening to ‘real America,’ where we assume real America to be rural and white, is to reinforce one of the most entrenched and exploitative narratives of US democracy.” Then there’s Nicola Lagioia’s remarkable interview with Elena Ferrante, which has steadied me in a year of change in my personal life. “Reading your novel is comforting because this is what occurs in real life,” Lagioia observes. “The people who are truly important to us, the people we’ve allowed to break us open inside, do not stop questioning us, obsessing us, pursuing us, and, if necessary, guiding us, even if they die, or grow distant, or if we’ve quarrelled[...] When you think of what such bonds are made of, they might seem to be a curse—but shouldn’t they also be considered a blessing?”

Juliana: After the election, I found myself flailing internally, trying to figure out how actively to push back on the Trump administration instead of preparing to defend, should (/when) they attack. David Faris’s piece urging Democrats to fight dirty and to refuse to compromise with an administration that threatens so many people’s safety helped me find direction.

Quita: After the election, reading the Crunk Feminist Collective’s call to white folks to “Get Your People” gave me so much life. It resonated deeply and reminded me that people of color have always had our own backs and it’s time for white allies to do the hard work of being actual accomplices in the fight for liberation. “White people—so-called liberal, progressive, radical, dare I say ‘woke’ white people—it’s time for you to do your motherfucking work[...] People of color will be over here doing what we’ve been doing since the beginning of time—loving each other, fighting for freedom, and making our way to liberation.”

Mahroh: I want to tattoo Alex Press’ “Left-wing Language for Your Right-wing Needs” all over me. I know there’s a lot wrong with this trash heap year, but I think my greatest frustration has been seeing language written by folks facing violence wielded by others right back against them. And I’ve been especially saddened to see fellow people of color, Muslims, immigrants, and other marginalized groups use their identity to legitimize neoliberal politics. I love that Press reminds us to “subordinate language to the material changes we’re fighting for.”

Sam: Oh gosh, who’s to say.  This is probably only because it floated across my Facebook feed again recently, but Jia Tolentino’s “All the Greedy Young Abigail Fishers and Me” may have impressed me the most, primarily because it manages to be incredibly empathetic and self-critical while still pulling off sentences like, “To be against affirmative action, you have to be some combination of dumb, selfish, or deeply indoctrinated.”  It’s worth revisiting as we prepare for across-the-board assaults on affirmative action and economic redistribution in 2017.

Meghna: There’s been a lot, and I’m sure my creaky memory isn’t letting me remember many of the good ones, but what immediately comes to mind are the Mother Jones exposé on the horrible conditions in private prisons and The Nation’s coverage of Angela Corey being the cruelest prosecutor in America. What I like most about these two pieces is the fearless commitment to investigative journalism that has led to real world change: Angela Corey resoundingly lost her re-election in Florida, and Obama’s DOJ announced the end of the use of private prisons federally in August.

Senti: Besides the obvious show-stopping gift of Beyonce’s Lemonade this year, the album also gave us some of the best pop culture writing of 2016. In particular, I loved Amani Bin Shikhan’s take over at Noisey, “Lemonade, Love, and Being a Black Girl Who Becomes A Black Woman”. This ode to Beyonce’s manifesto explores the rawness of Warsan Shire’s poetry, the album as a lesson in love and persistence, and what it means to be a Black daughter. It’s a gorgeously written piece, one that’s stayed with me.

Reina: Uh this isn’t an article but multimedia is the new print so… Whenever I’m feeling politically angsty/restless I listen to anything from Reveal. It’s solid investigative content that consistently makes me wonder how these people manage to keep uncovering injustices without, like, breaking down and crying and swearing a lot on air. The “Lawless Lands” episode was particularly interesting. Also, <3<3 Al Letson <3<3.

Barbara: This profile on Blac Chyna is hands-down my favorite article of the year: “So when black women saw Chyna and Amber — the much-maligned ex of Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa — start a de facto sisterhood of women scorned by a Kardashian and/or Jenner, we couldn’t help but cheer as they hustled, slayed, and twerked their way around the country.” Read it. My friend Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez’s ode to “woke brown girls” is also at the very top of my list.

Header image by Susan Walsh for the AP.

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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