March was Women's History Month, and on Sunday, March 8, we celebrated International Women's Day. These events help raise awareness of various feminist, female-driven movements, and we are fortunate to live in a society where social media can spread the news of these crucial dates so that more and more people can participate in the celebration.
Here are four types of women to celebrate not only this month, but the rest of the year:
1) Women whose voices are being heard.
Julianne Moore and Reese Witherspoon have recently started great movements within Hollywood like #AskHerMore to encourage the media to focus on a woman's achievements instead of her appearance. Moore has received both an Oscar and a Golden Globe in the past few months, and both of her speeches were groundbreaking in that she acknowledged other women and pushed the idea that Hollywood women are fighting one another for awards: they are working together.
Great women have recently published memoirs or non-fiction essays, like Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist, Marina Keegan's The Opposite of Loneliness, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's We Should All Be Feminists. These stories give great insight into the feminist movement and the everyday lives of creative, passionate women.
Celebrate those who are at the forefront of feminism: celebrate Beyonce's hits and Emma Watson's "HeForShe" initiatives and Laverne Cox's groundbreaking character in Orange is the New Black. Watch TV shows and movies that tell stories of feminists, and take time to listen to the voices of women who are being noticed.
2) Women whose voices aren't being heard.
As part of the social media celebration of International Women's Day, many people changed their accounts' profile pictures to be an anonymous gray-scale face to bring awareness to the movement #NotThereYet. The idea behind the hashtag is that the feminist movement is still not finished: there is still a lot of work to be done before we achieve equality, and there are still so many women whose work has gone unnoticed.
One of the biggest downfalls of modern day feminism is the inability to see past the mostly white, cisgendered voices that the media focuses on. Women's History Month was a time to notice the kind of groups that don't appear on the red carpet or on the NY Times bestsellers list -- but we can continue that trend throughout the rest of the year.
3) Women who work on a microcosmic level.
Past the large, infringing presence of the media, there are powerful women whose impact is only seen on an interpersonal, more intimate level. Mothers, sisters, teachers, even those people you don't really know who post a lot of cool articles on Facebook all have important roles, but are rarely appreciated for their achievements.
One of the biggest social media movements I witnessed on International Women's Day was posts of personal heroines with stories about their work in their fields or at home. This celebration is equally important. My college started a hashtag called #WomenWhoInspire, wherein we posted about people close to us who have made great strides towards gender equality, and those kinds of narratives are so crucial to the feminist movement.
4) Women who have paved the way for modern feminism.
Gloria Steinem, Diane Nash, Lucille Ball, Susan B. Anthony, Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, etc. should all be household names by now. There are women who have fought for equal rights before the term 'feminist' was even coined, and they should not go uncelebrated in this day and age.
Some of these women may have handed down their reigns as the face of female power, but their role in women's rights movements are still so incredibly important. Social media posts that bring awareness to these women's stories help create a larger understanding of the long history of feminism. There's an idea in our generation that we are the first to claim feminism: the movement feels so fresh that it's not something we limit to history books. While we focus on the present and the future of equal rights, we must acknowledge that we aren't the first people to demand equality. And moreover, many of our freedoms were provided by strong women of the past who deserve to be remembered in these kinds of celebrations.