Women rise up: Top eleven feminist actions in 2018

2018 has been a huge year for feminism. Feminist Current contributors have compiled some of our favorite feminist acts of courage, bravery, and rebellion in 2018. We can’t wait to see what 2019 brings!


Meghan Murphy: Standing for Women’s “Adult Human Female” poster campaign

UK women’s rights campaigner, Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull (also known as Posie Parker), had billboard posters with the definition of “woman” put up in Liverpool and Birmingham this year to coincide with the Labour Party conference and the Tory Party conference, respectively. The first poster, reading, “Woman/women: noun, adult human female,” was removed after trans activist, Adrian Harrop, complained to the billboard company, Primesight, saying that the posters were “transphobic hate speech” and made trans-identified people “feel unsafe.” He also smeared our shero’s group, Standing for Women, as a “hate group.” In response, Keen-Minshull said, “We’re in a new realm of misogyny when the word ‘woman’ becomes hate speech.”

Meghan McCarty: South Korea’s radical Take Off the Corset movement

This year, South Korea’s growing feminist movement fought against unrealistic beauty standards that call for women to spend thousands on cosmetic surgery, skin treatments, hair styling, and body hair removal treatments.. Women tired of being expected to perform laborious routines began to post videos on social media of them rejecting these beauty routines and destroying their cosmetics, alongside the catch-cry “take off the corset”  (also referred to as “escape the corset”) These self-described “beauty resisters” saw this as a strategy of political liberation for women as a whole. “Take of the corset” gained popularity in response to an increasing pressure on South Korean women to adopt extreme beauty practices, as well as ongoing male violence against women and “cultural violence against women” in South Korea.

Natasha Chart: Get The L Out

Pride celebrations have become an unwelcoming space for many women over the years, even when no one is threatening to hang them. That didn’t stop several groups of lesbians from showing up at their local 2018 Pride events to demonstrate opposition to gender identity activism displacing the traditional goals of LGB organizing, medicalizing nonconformity in children, and redefining lesbianism to include men. Women protested in London, Baltimore, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Auckland.

Meghan Murphy: The South Korean molka rallies

On October 6, sixty thousand women took to the streets of the capital to protest police inaction over molka — the trend wherein men secretly take spycam and up-skirt videos of women in public places, then upload the footage to pornography sites. This was the fifth of these these large-scale women’s rights rallies, which have taken place almost every month since May. Chartered buses transport women from towns and cities all over the southern half of the Korean peninsula to attend.

Raquel Rosario Sánchez: #NiUnaMenos (“Not one [woman] less”)/The protests against male violence against women in the Dominican Republic and Latin America

Thousands of women took to the streets in the Dominican Republic and the Latin American region on November 25th, to commemorate the International Day to Stop Violence Against Women and to protest male violence. The day is internationally commemorated in honour of the Mirabal sisters (Patria, Minerva and María Teresa) who were murdered in 1960 by dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo.

Meghan Murphy: #ManFriday

On March 16th, Amy Desir and Hannah Clarke attended a men-only swim session at the Dulwich Leisure Centre, wearing only trunks and pink swimming caps. This action was the third of many that followed — part of a UK-based campaign called #ManFriday, aimed at challenging the Swim England Guidance which said trans-identified swimmers may use whichever changing rooms they like. Initially formed on Mumsnet, the 100+ women involved in #ManFriday used direct action to challenge gender identity ideology and policies, and highlight the threat to women’s rights posed by gender identity legislation.

Meghan McCarty: #WhyIDidn’tReport: Christine Blasey-Ford’s testimony and the protests against Brett Kavanaugh

Following Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Christine Blasey-Ford waived her right to anonymity by accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s in a letter to Senate Democrats. A widely publicized hearing saw Blasey-Ford give an emotional testimony detailing the events of the night she was assaulted. After President Donald Trump commented that Blasey-Ford would have reported the assault to police “immediately” if the attack was “as bad as she says,” thousands of women came forward with their experiences of sexual assault under the hashtag #WhyIDidn’tReport. Demonstrators showed their support for Blasey-Ford throughout the hearings, protesting against Kavanaugh’s nomination and eventual rise to Supreme Court Justice.

Raquel Rosario Sánchez: UK Women organize meetings to discuss gender identity legislation

Women in the UK engaged in numerous campaigns this year to challenge the Conservative government’s proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act and the impact of gender identity legislation on women’s rights. Woman’s Place UK, Fair Play for Women, We Need to Talk, and Let A Woman Speak forced a public debate about these issues, organizing meetings, publishing statistics, and pushing for the issue to be covered in the media. This year, Woman’s Place UK won the 2018 Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize in the Group category for their work raising awareness of violence against women and children.

Natasha Chart: The campaigns against child marriage

In the US, where it’s legal to marry before the age of 18 in 48 states, organizing against child marriage has begun capturing headlines and breaking through into mainstream discussions. Bills to end the practice have been put forward or passed in Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Delaware, and several other states. A 19-year-old Girl Scout who campaigned to raise New Hampshire’s marriage age to 18 won election to the state legislature, where she will continue that work. Most recently, the organizations Unchained At Last and Equality Now launched the National Coalition to End Child Marriage in the United States, which will be the first such nationwide organizing effort. Women in Malawi, India, Malaysia, and Iran, have continued to organize and speak out against the harms of the practice, while a 2018 World Bank report warned that child marriage costs nations billions of dollars in lost earnings.

Natasha Chart: Accountability for Indigenous sterilization

Canadian Senator Yvonne Boyer, of Ontario, is asking the Senate to investigate the scope of coerced sterilization of Indigenous women, following up on a class-action lawsuit launched by Indigenous women against the province of Saskatoon in 2017. The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Alisa Lombard, says her clients report having been harassed by hospital staff to sign consent forms for sterilization procedures during labour, told they couldn’t leave, or told that they wouldn’t be allowed to see their babies until they agreed. The most recent reported incident took place in 2017.

Raquel Rosario Sanchez: Argentinian women fight for abortion rights

On June 4th, thousands of women took to the streets of Argentina wearing green, the colour of the fight for abortion rights, in the lead up to the Argentine congress debating abortion rights. On June 14th, after a 22 hour session in the lower house of Congress, the vote to expand abortion access beyond the cases of rape or where the mother’s health was in danger was passed by a thin margin, but failed in August in the Senate. Feminists plan to reintroduce the proposal in March 2019.