Despite the ongoing pandemic of violence against women, the threats online and the harassment on the streets, women’s voices assumed an unprecedented power in 2014.
Rebecca Solnit in The Guardian:
I have been waiting all my life for what 2014 has brought. It has been a year of feminist insurrection against male violence: a year of mounting refusal to be silent, refusal to let our lives and torments be erased or dismissed. It has not been a harmonious time, but harmony is often purchased by suppressing those with something to say. It was loud, discordant, and maybe transformative, because important things were said – not necessarily new, but said more emphatically, by more of us, and heard as never before.
It was a watershed year for women, and for feminism, as we refused to accept the pandemic of violence against women – the rape, the murder, the beatings, the harassment on the streets and the threats online. Women’s voices achieved a power that seems unprecedented, and the whole conversation changed. There were concrete advances – such as California’s “Yes Means Yes” campus sexual consent law – but those changes were a comparatively small consequence of enormous change in the collective consciousness. The problems have not been merely legal – there have been, for example, laws against wife-beating since the 19th century, which were rarely enforced until the late 1970s, and still can’t halt the epidemic of domestic violence now. The fundamental problem is cultural. And the culture – many cultures, around the world – is beginning to change.
You can almost think of 2014 as a parody of those little calendars with the flower or the gemstone of the month. January was not for garnets; it was finally talking about online threats, and about Dylan Farrow’s testimony that her adoptive father had molested her when she was seven. The conversation in April was about kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, and a Silicon Valley multimillionaire caught on video battering his girlfriend. May wasn’t emeralds; it was the massacre of six people in Isla Vista, California, by a young misogynist and the birth of #YesAllWomen, perhaps the most catalytic in a year of powerful protests online about women and violence.