Feminist Year in Review 2021: It’s Been a Hell of a Year—But We Didn’t Just Sit Around

It’s been a hell of a year for feminists.

2021 has been the worst year in the past half-century for abortion rights, in terms of the sheer scale of legislative attacks by hostile state legislators. It’s been a terrible year for abortion at the Supreme Court as well—which has shown a complete disdain for women’s health and lives. Its decision to allow an unconstitutional abortion ban to remain in force in Texas—a ban that authorizes private citizens to essentially become bounty hunters and prosecute those who provide or aid those who have abortions—is hard to comprehend.

We watched as the women and girls of Afghanistan were forced again to live under the Taliban’s brutal system of gender apartheid. We’ve lived through another year of the coronavirus pandemic, through which women have juggled to balance jobs to support themselves and their families and the caregiving needs for children and the ill.

And it’s been another year of out-of-touch lawmakers (you know who we mean) stalling life-saving policy initiatives. And that’s just to name a few of the many causes that have frustrated us. Pissed us off. And angered us.

But we didn’t sit around. We took to the streets, to protest the attacks on our right to decide what happens to our own bodies. To protest the lack of progress on voting rights, immigration, police and gun reform, and on finally enshrining the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. We wrote letters, sent messages, tweet stormed, rallied, called Congress, and gave money to support our causes in a year when budgets were tight—because we knew it was the right thing to do.

We do this, because our anger is driven by a deeper force: Our hope and our knowledge that a better future is possible—and love.

“I really believe that love as a political transformative force in our society can change the world,” bell hooks, who we tragically lost this past year, told Ms. in 2011. “It’s been love that motivates people to the most deep and profound change.”

To us, these words still ring true—despite it all.

Our resolution at Ms. as we head into 2022 (and as we head into our 50th year) is to continue delivering you the latest feminist news, analysis and commentary you count on us for. Between the push for the ERA and voting rights, the midterm elections, a Supreme Court decision that will determine the future of abortion access and more, 2022 is shaping up to be a crucial year. We promise to keep you in the know—if you promise to join us, and keep fighting for change.

Happy new year from all of us at Ms., and thank you for sticking with us through the hard times.

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Katherine Spillar is the executive director of Feminist Majority Foundation and executive editor of Ms., where she oversees editorial content and the Ms. in the Classroom program.