12 badass women we loved – and who made a difference – in 2016
19 December 2016
From Beyoncé tackling racial tension and police brutality to Lonely designer Helene Morris setting new standards for body positivity, 2016 has seen feisty women from all corners get up, get out and fly the flag for feminism.
Photos: Getty Images, Twitter
Beyoncé's second visual album Lemonade came out swinging from the start. Her short film celebrated black women in all sorts of ways while still speaking to the difficult issues underpinning black American culture. It was boundary breaking and went on to receive many Grammy nominations and a Best Album of the Year award from Rolling Stone.
Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke fronted a campaign by New Zealand lingerie and swimwear brand, Lonely. The body positive campaign shot the women in natural light, and there was no photoshop retouch later. Designer Helene Morris told Fashion Quarterly: ‘To us, it is important to represent women in empowering ways that help give them the confidence to be themselves.’
Maminydjama Magnolia Maymuru is the Aboriginal model made history this year as the first indigenous model to represent the Northern Territory for the Miss World Australia competition. Academics says the 19-year-old is smashing stereotyped notions of the blonde, blue-eyed beauty.
19-year-old Eliza McCartney pole vaulted her way to a bronze medal at this year's 2016 Rio Olympics. Following her stunning win, the teen who hails from Devonport, Auckland went on record to say she believed women could match men in the sport telling TVNZ: '...things are really moving forward very fast and the sport's evolving very quickly...we'll be pushing some heights near the boys hopefully. Watch out boys...'
Lizzie Marvelly's My Body My Terms campaign featured stripped-down celebrities speaking out against sexual violence and revenge porn. The 26-year-old Kiwi started the campaign to shift attitudes about consent and sexual violence.
Otago's Courtney Duncan is considered the fastest woman in motocross in the world. This year she looked set to take the Women’s World Championship but was knocked out through injury. She recovered enough to keep racing, and despite her wins, a major points lead put the title just out of reach. This year was still history-making for the 20-year-old as she took out the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix with her win against the boys. 2017 will see her head back to Europe for another shot at the world champs.
Emrata copped a serious amount of sh*t for the fashion-forward Julien MacDonald gown she wore to the Harper’s Bazaar party back in September. Main hater was E! News Tim Gunn who lashed out at the star’s choice calling it ‘vulgar and repugnant.’ Emily’s comeback: ‘It’s 2016. Why keep trying to dictate what women can wear?’
FLOTUS Michelle Obama delivered an incredibly powerful response to news of Donald Trump's leaked 2005 tape which appeared to be sanctioning sexual assault. Her speech called out the dangerously misogynistic election discourse: 'Too many are treating this as just another day's headline, as if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted. As if this is normal. Just politics as usual, but New Hampshire, be clear: This is not normal, this is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable'.
While Hillary Clinton didn't make it to the White House in 2016, she was still the first female nominee of a major party to run for election. During her concession speech she shared a positive message of hope: 'To all the little girls watching, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.'
Comedian Amy Schumer took out the number four spot on this years Forbes' list of Highest Paid Comedians. It was the first time a women had ever appeared on the list. Her earnings that placed her among the millionaire funny men? A cool $17 mil.
Emma Watson gave another rousing speech to the United Nation's this year in a mission to end campus assault and gender inequality in the university system. Her HeForShe initiative launched in 2014 continues to see the actress campaign for equality women's empowerment at the highest level.
Ieshia Evans was the female protester dressed in a sundress stood her ground against Baton Rouge police officers during protests after a police shooting. It was Evans’ first ever protest against police brutality and while she was arrested for her actions, she didn’t consider backing down an option. Her silent protest communicated volumes spoke to the power of both strength and vulnerability.