2015 gave us Caitlyn Jenner, a lot of love for same sex marriage, and a refugee crisis that got everyone talking. It’s safe to say 2015 gave us all the feels and some powerful hashtags to go with them. Here’s a look back at some of the year’s biggest events and how they went down on your newsfeed.
You’ve no doubt seen this floating around Twitter in relation to a bunch of things. It means to be socially aware, and to watch out for people fobbing you off with bullsh*t. It has a particularly close relationship with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. 2015 saw lots of #BlackLivesMatter protests in response to the continued deaths of African Americans at the hands of the US police.
2015 saw the birth of Caitlyn Jenner, who announced her arrival on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine in June this year. Formerly Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn’s journey brought transgender issues to the fore. But she wasn’t the only one – a tonne of awesome celebs got talking about their gender fluidity this year, including our fave babe and MTV EMA host Ruby Rose.
This hashtag and the rainbow profile picture adopted on Facebook signified an incredible change in the law in the US which ruled that state-level bans on same sex marriage were illegal. It was a great year for marriage equality which also saw Ireland, a heavily Catholic country, voting ‘yes’ to same sex marriage in a referendum.
2015 was the year of the squad and none moreso than Taylor Swift’s whose ‘Bad Blood’ video gave us ultimate BFF envy. Why’s her awesome and diverse squad so important? It flies in the face of the expectation that women in particular have to compete against each other rather than support each other. Taylor put it best when she said in an interview with Time magazine, ““I surround myself with smart, beautiful, passionate, driven, ambitious women…Other women who are killing it should motivate you, thrill you, challenge you and inspire you rather than threaten you.” And that is the definition of #squadgoals.
This is a perfect example of the dry wit of the internet proving a really important point. In October women around the world took to social media to protest the tax on menstrual sanitary products. A tax imposed because they’re deemed by governments to be ‘luxury items’. Actual LOL. A torrent of brilliant tweets ensued to show that the whole idea of completely medically necessary items being luxurious is utterly ridiculous.
This hashtag trended in April after a devastating earthquake razed parts of Nepal to the ground, killing 9000 people and injuring more than 23000. The reaction from the international community was strong – thousands of volunteers offered their help, and millions of pounds donated to help re-building efforts.
This phrase was part of Viola Davis’ epic Emmy acceptance speech back in September. The ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ actress was the first black woman to receive the ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama’ award. And she used the opportunity to call out systematic racism in Hollywood. She said, “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” Slaaay.
Finally a campaign calling out the mundane and sexist questions asked of mega talented women on the red carpet. #Askhermore saw a bunch of A-listers throwing shade at the ‘Who are you wearing?’ questions and rewarding journalists who realised these talented stars have brains as well as beauty. 2015 was a good year for female voices with some of our faves speaking some epics words. Love for Amy Schumer and her quirky feminist humour went crazy, Ariana Grande said what we were all thinking, and Patricia Arquette killed it with this speech.
When a school boy is arrested for taking a ‘bomb’ to school and it turns out said bomb is actually a clock, you can rely on the internet to get on his side. And get on his side it did. This hashtag went viral, reached Obama’s radar, who then invited Ahmed to hang at the White House. A fine example of racial profiling and anti-Muslim sentiment being given a massive ‘NOPE’ this year.
The devastating war in Syria which began in 2011 saw millions of people flee the country to find safety in other parts of the world this year. Reaction to their plight was varied. Some people, including potential next leader of the Republican Party Donald Trump, have been hugely against it. Thankfully, many others, including world leaders from Sweden and Germany, have welcomed refugees into their countries with open arms. #RefugeesWelcome is a hashtag symbolising tolerance, understanding, and empathy and is perhaps the most powerful public sentiment of 2015.
When the Daily Mail printed a front page article with a completely exaggerated statistic that 1 in 5 Muslims had ‘sympathy for jihadis’, they were quickly found out. And the trolling that followed was epic.
Since the Paris attacks there has been some strong blanket-criticism of Muslims. Luckily, such narrow-mindedness has been met with more realistic views. And videos like this one have also helped to spread the message that Islam does not equal terrorism.
Once again, gun violence in the US saw countless deaths of innocent people in 2015. At the opening showing of Amy Schumer’s film, Trainwreck, a random attack killed two women in a Louisiana theatre. This led the comedy legend to campaign with her cousin, who’s a Senator, for a change in gun laws. Millions of anti-gun tweets circulated the internet this year, some accompanied by the graph below which clearly shows just how much politicians have got their priorities wrong:
From Zayn’s exit, Harry’s floral suits, the first 1D baby, and their decision to go on a break – One Direction gave us all the feels this year. But they also made 2015 their most epic yet. Directioners got behind their brilliant campaign in July where they posted videos talking about the kind of world they wanted to live in. And the power that is 1D means that two months later they had a powerful message for world leaders and a tonne of young people with a mission to achieve a better future for everyone.
Directioners slaying it for the whole planet.
Following the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris in November, thousands of people showed their support by using #PrayForParis and changing their profile picture to the French flag. It was quickly pointed out though that this was all a bit Western-centric. What about other cities around the world facing horrific events, like Beirut and Baghdad which saw terrorist bombs kill many innocent civilians just days before? A fine example of why it’s so important to #StayWoke.
Here’s to staying woke in 2016 too, whatever it brings.