There’s no denying that 2017 has been a whirlwind of a year, to say the least. In defiance of all expectations, Trump the Pussy Grabber hasn’t yet been impeached, Theresa May did a £1.5b deal with a party that still hasn’t granted abortion rights, and Harvey Weinstein turned out to be the creep we really knew he was anyway. But we at Girls That Gig believe that while there has been darkness this year, there’s a silver lining to every cloud that covers our sun. We may encounter setbacks, but we will always continue to achieve in the face of ignorance. So here are five reminders that women actually came out on top this year. Of course, we could have included far more, but like with every list piece, there’s only so many we can write about, so have five little rays of sunshine with which to view this past year.
Feature image by Jess Brown
Fenty Beauty was awarded ‘Invention of the Year’ by Time Magazine
People around the world know that there is nothing 29-year-old Rihanna can’t do. But this year, the superstar/fashion designer embarked on one of her most highly anticipated ventures to date: creating her own make-up line Fenty Beauty.
Fenty Beauty would not be your average celebrity cosmetic line. It promised to address the beauty industry’s elephant in the room by introducing a range of make-up that was suitable for all skin shades and tones. As a woman of colour that has never been able to find affordable cosmetics to suit the yellow undertones of my skin, my body, mind and purse was ready for Rihanna to slay me.
What sets Fenty apart is its foundation. Its starting collection has 40 different shades and RiRi plans to expand this range in 2018! Everyone, no matter how pale or dark-skinned they are, can own a quality foundation that perfectly complements their skin tone for less than £30. Most notably, Fenty has multiple shades of foundation for dark-skinned women whereas most brands have only one, despite the fact that black women are not all one colour (side-eyes to all of the leading cosmetic manufacturers).
As well as looking great, all Fenty products are also cruelty-free too, so you can feel good about making an ethical purchase.
I sleep well at night knowing that Rihanna has singlehandedly saved the beauty industry and I’m so excited to see how the brand develops in the coming year!
Record number of female MPs elected
It can generally be agreed that the election in June didn’t go the way anyone had planned. Whilst that spelled disaster for Theresa May, the one good thing to come out of the election was that the number of female MPs elected reached a record high. At just 32%, Parliament still has a long way to go to make the Commons an equal playing field, but the percentages within the parties differ significantly. Labour is now 45% female, differing significantly to the Conservatives’ mere 21%. The Green party’s only MP is a woman.
The gap between these percentages for the parties clearly indicates that the parties still have their work cut out to promote equality, but this news surely comes as a silver lining in among the current political uncertainty in Britain. At last our daughters will have visible and relatable political role models, women they can look up to and see themselves achieving similar things. Is the House really Common if an overwhelming majority of its representatives are privately educated middle-class males? Although Brexit has thrown us into a whirlwind of confusion, we can rest assured in the knowledge that at least we’ll have some fab women fighting our corner, whatever your political leaning.
If these numbers tell us anything, it’s that whilst a milestone has been achieved, it would be arrogant to give up the fight at this point. I applaud our female MPs for blazing a trail for generations to come, and I stand firmly behind them. In an era where our American cousins are on the verge of revoking abortion rights, our MPs will surely have their work cut out for them.
Virginia elected their first transgender official
This news flew fairly under the radar, but in America on November 7th, there was a monumental win for not only trans people but women, the LGBTQ+ community and society as a whole. Virginia’s Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person to be elected and seated in a U.S state house. Not only that, but she replaced the hitherto unchallenged 73-year-old Robert G. Marshall, who proudly called himself ‘Virginia’s chief homophobe’. He also refused to debate Ms Roem and referred to her by male pronouns. I’ll let that sink in.
This is such a beautiful win. The fact that this came in Trump’s America, not even Obama’s, should remind you that even in the darkest times there can be things that shake the foundations of oppression and prejudice to their very core. Things that make this young trans writer see hope in the future.
Oh and if you’re thinking people only voted her in because of her being trans then you’re wrong. The debate was mainly about traffic issues and most of Virginia agreed with her policies. She got in on her credit as a politician. So even more badass.
This isn’t just a massive achievement for the trans community, it affects everyone. It is one of many beginnings. We are gradually getting to a world where people can be free of judgement regardless of colour, sexuality or creed. A peaceful future where we hopefully won’t have to worry about WW3 every day.
Out of her victory she had many quotes I could share but I’ll leave you with this one. Thank you Danica Roem for being you and opening more than a few doors for us. “To every person who’s ever been singled out, who’s ever been stigmatized, who’s ever been the misfit, who’s ever been the kid in the corner, who’s ever needed someone to stand up for them when they didn’t have a voice of their own: this one is for you.”
Grassroots movements are creating spaces for women in music
Music is a place for soul, freedom and expression. Only 16% of females are registered musicians, and only 2% of these account for Northern England. Why don’t women have the same opportunities as men to be involved in music? Brighter Sound are changing this. They are working with musicians such as Beth Orton to run a five-day programme called Both Sides Now. This incredible programme is aimed at giving women musicians from a variety of backgrounds a platform for their message to be heard. It aims to help female musicians collaborate with others and progress in music. From musicians to producers to sound engineers, everyone is welcome.
An evening for the launch of Both Sides Now was held at Old Granada Studios. Many women took to the stage to give inspiring speeches: “It’s a myth that the music industry is unstable. Life is unstable, so go for your dreams.” The musicians followed with heart-warming performances, fire and passion moved out of their playing and their souls. The courage and the love they all shared and expressed through their songs was extremely empowering. Brighter Sound are doing what the industry has needed for a very long time.
Brighter Sound are doing what the industry has needed for a very long time. For three years, the Both Sides Now workshop will continue. In this time, it will fight as a grassroots movement against the patriarchal ideologies of women in the music industry, which will lead to greater media attention and recognition on a larger scale. Programmes like this will develop, impelling more young women to become immersed within music.
The Women’s Day March 2017 made history
On 8th March this year, women all over the world celebrated International Women’s Day in a very special way. Millions of women gathered in various locations the world over to protest the various injustices that women experience simply because of their gender.
The largest protest was the Women’s March on Washington, which drew an estimated 500,000 protesters outside the White House. The protest drew attention to the threat posed to reproductive rights, LGTBQ+ rights by the Trump administration, as well as promoting a message of unity and strength in a time where our world leaders seemed determined to build walls.
Worldwide, the movement had roughly 5m participants, making it one of the largest protests in recorded history. It sent a clear message to those in power that women are not to be trifled with. It also let women all around the world know that we are not alone, that there is a global community of sisters, mothers, wives, that all have our backs.
Together we stand, and together we shall not fall. So if things start to look a little bleak in 2018, let us not forget our collective strength. We can change anything if we stand together.