It’s hard to believe that the year is almost over. 2015 has whizzed by like super progressive blur as so many important political decisions were made and so many important discussions were had about equality.
But what were the most influential? And which events made the most headlines?
Read on for our round up of the biggest things to affect women that happened in 2015.
1. Viola Davis’ Emmy Win
On this very site, we’ve mentioned countless times how Hollywood is happy to exclude and refuse to hire actors of colour altogether. So naturally, we (and many other people around the world) for ecstatic when Viola Davis won an Emmy Award for her role as bisexual lawyer Annalise Keating.
Making history as the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Viola Davis’ also gave an incredible speech that not only quoted abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman but it also name-checked other black actresses (such as Gabrielle Union and Kerry Washington) and called on Hollywood to offer the same opportunities to women of colour as it does to white women.
2. Misty Copeland Becomes the First Principal Dancer at the American Ballet Theatre
The ‘principal dancer’ is a dancer at the highest rank within a professional dance company; it’s the role that every ballet dancer would love to hold and it’s one that Misty Copeland, who has been a dancer at the American Ballet Theatre for 14 years, especially wanted to achieve. In her 2014 memoir, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, she revealed that “if I don’t rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them”.
But Misty Copeland needn’t have worried to much as in 2015 she was finally promoted to the role of principal dancer in a round of summer promotions. In her role, she became the very first African-American woman to become a principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre’s 75 year history and of the achievement.
3. Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage
In other historic news from 2015, in June, the United States’ Supreme Court finally had a vote on same-sex marriage. Previously, it had been up to each state in the country to decide individually whether or not same-sex couples could get married putting couples in a difficult position as it meant that they may have to travel hours away from home just to enjoy the same ‘big white wedding in a church’ privilege that opposite sex couples got to enjoy.
Thankfully, on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court voted to make same-sex marriage a right nationwide. This meant that one great obstacle on the road to equal rights had been defeated and that anywhere in the country, same sex couples could marry each other.
4. FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015
Another big event making headlines over the summer of 2015 is the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Here at KitschMix we were excited not just because it’s always wonderful seeing talented women do what they do best but because many out athletes such as Megan Rapinoe, Casey Stoney and Abby Wambach would be taking part as well.
Not only did the England women’s national team reach their highest ever position in the tournament (they got 3rd place) but the final, where the USA beat Japan 5-2 also became the most watched football match in US history as it had 25.4 million viewers, beating the 18.2 million viewers who tuned into watch the US men take on Portugal the year before.
(That said, the tournament was also marred by criticism as FIFA made the women play on astro-turf unlike the men’s tournament which was played entirely on grass).
5. Hillary Clinton Running for President
One of the dominating stories at the beginning of the year was whether or not Hillary Clinton – who had once tried to run for president in 2007 – would run for president again. In an official announcement video in April, Clinton confirmed that she’d be running for president and that she wanted to be a “champion” for “everyday Americans”.
While Clinton hasn’t always been so progressive (she was once against same-sex marriage), nor is she regarded as progressive as (fellow presidential candidate) Bernie Sanders, she has lots of viewpoints that could do some good. Clinton wants to reform the criminal justice system, offer comprehensive immigration reform with a “pathway to citizenship”, she supports LGBT equality and she hopes to close the wage gap between men too.
6. The Rise of the ‘F’ Word
Feminism, by definition, is the “advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of equality of the sexes” and while there are still plenty of people who do still think that it’s about women having more rights than men, in 2015, lots of influential women revealed why they were feminists,
These include Harry Potter star Emma Watson, girl group Fifth Harmony whose ‘Worth it’ music video included pro-women quotes and Taylor Swift who has spoken out about misogyny in the media and has championed powerful women with her ‘girl squad’ of friends including Serena Williams, supermodel Karlie Kloss and singer and actress Selena Gomez. Admittedly, a lot of the feminist rhetoric this year has surrounded cis, white women and has completely ignored the struggles of trans women and women of colour but it’s a positive step forward at least.
7. The MTV VMAs 2015
And finally, we had the MTV Video Music Awards 2015. Hosted by professional headline-grabber and former Disney star Miley Cyrus, the MTV VMAs 2015 were always going to get serious attention and while they offended just as much as they did good (one example is comedian Rebel Wilson making light of police brutality), they did give us plenty to talk about.
In the run up to the show, Nicki Minaj called out MTV for ignoring her Anaconda music video saying that the company only “celebrates women with very slim bodies” and overlooks the contributions of black women. Then Taylor Swift got offended and accused the rapper of pitting women against each other and Miley Cyrus then chimed in saying that Minaj’s comments were “not polite”.
During the show, Nicki Minaj called Miley Cyrus out, before criticising her again in the days after the show, saying that Miley enjoys black culture without wanting to address the issues that face black people. It led to some very important and very necessary discussions about race in the media.
Also at the MTV VMAs, Blac Chyna and Amber Rose went as each others dates dressed in outfits emblazoned with things they’d been called (e.g ‘whore’, ‘bitch’, and ‘golddigger’) seemingly in an effort to reclaim those slurs. As eye-catching as their getups were, again, they got people having serious conversations.