2017 has been a rough year for us all, with all sorts of upheaval in the news, from political drama to Hollywood sex scandals. Luckily, not everyone was revealed to be total scumbags, and there have been some heroes who have made my year, or who are just generally smashing it.
Here are the people I think should be carried aloft. Some are famous, some are friends, all are fabulous.
All of them. After too many glasses of wine at events, I am often found ranting on about why Brum Bloggers are the best bloggers. They are the friendliest, most supportive, welcoming group of bloggers I have ever met. They’re smart, and creative and inspiring. Since the queens that are The Ting Thing and Full To The Brum took over the reins of the community, it’s gone from strength to strength. We’ve had more opportunities come our way, more meet-ups, more bloggers joining us and the support those bloggers show each other is phenomenal. Special shout outs to my blog Girl Squad, Bite Your Brum, Hey It’s Fay, and Miss Pond, and for my blog husband, Brummie Gourmand. Here’s to more creative excellence in 2018.
Brace yourselves, a name drop is coming. Technically Ron, or as I know him, Aaron, is the king of hilarity on Twitter. I worked with Ron years ago, and he’s equally funny in person. Back then, he wasn’t internet famous, he was just the guy from the Technical department who made me laugh on Twitter. Luckily for Ron, apparently he made lots of other people laugh on Twitter too, and now he’s one of the biggest accounts around, producing hilarious viral content such as ‘Reasons Why My Wife is Crying’, Google auto-fill wills, and ludicrous photoshops of newspaper headlines. This year, he has been a bright point of humour in the doom scroll of Twitter, AND he wrote his second book. You can pre-order it here. He’s also a much needed voice talking honestly and frankly about mental health, and whenever I see him popping up in yet another publication bringing honest and funny, I want to stand on my chair and applaud wildly. Consider this post the internet way of doing that.
I’m a huge fangirl for Wonder Woman and I was vaguely terrified of the movie. Thank God for Patty Jenkins, who smashed it. Her Wonder Woman was everything I wanted. That’s not why she’s my hero though this year. She’s also my hero because of the James Cameron incident. Cameron, the man who famously made such wonderful comments about his female characters in Avatar including, “Right from the beginning I said, ‘She’s got to have tits. Even though that makes no sense because her race, the Na’vi, aren’t placental mammals.” and nicknaming Kate Winslet ‘Kate Weighs-A-Lot’ during the filming of Titanic, decided to air his feelings on Wonder Woman, calling it a ‘step backwards’. Jenkins responded with great dignity and I applaud her response.
Everything I wanted in a Wonder Woman. She just gets it, and she was superb. She makes the list for her very public stance on sexual abuse in Hollywood. She made known her refusal to sign on for a Wonder Woman sequel if Brett Ratner was attached to the project, after multiple accusations about his sexual misconduct came to light.
Being a woman in American politics is not an easy ride. Senator Harris has faced almost constant backlash and interruptions from her male counterparts, but has continued to fight for the rights of working Americans. Her questioning of Jeff Sessions on his conversations with Trump was a glorious moment too. I wish her every success for next year.
What a champ. When dozens of women began to come forward with sexual assault allegations, Terry Crews was angered by the scepticism he was seeing. Rather than keep silent, like many would have, he came forward with his own story of sexual assault. Crews was one of the first men adding their voices to the Me Too movement, and he has continued to talk about the important of men adding support to women speaking out. Read his Time interview here; it’s wonderful.
Most people who’ve been caught up in a terror attack would probably want to stay away from the scene. Not Angell. After the attack on Borough Market, Angell, in a small act of defiance, went back the next day to settle his bar bill and leave tips for the staff. He said, “If me having a gin and tonic with my friends, flirting with handsome men, hanging out with brilliant women is what offends these people so much, I’m going to do it more, not less.”
You’ve seen her. The photo of a young woman at a protest, smiling calmly into the face of an outraged EDL protestor. Birmingham’s own, Khan became the poster girl for defiance in the face of the far right. Since then, she’s used her platform to boost her grass-roots activism, joined Jeremy Corbyn on his campaign tour, and been signed to agency Elite with an aim to bring activism to the fashion industry. I’ve seen Khan around at a few protests in Birmingham, and she’s a passionate, fantastic woman.
Special mentions also go to Brooklyn 99 and Jane the Virgin for their respectful, honest and ground-breaking handling of bisexual characters, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend for showing a female anti-hero, the uncomfortable truths of mental illness and a realistic diagnosis struggle, Taika Waititi for speaking out about challenging the double standards of ‘rogue’ characters (and challenging that double standard in his work), every single person who spoke out as part of Me Too, the brave men and women of the London Fire Brigade for obvious reasons, Tracy Porter, a London Paramedic who was on the scene of every terror attack in London this year and Grenfell, Mohammed Mahmoud who helped minimise the violence during the Finsbury Park van attack until police arrived and Tobias Ellwood MP who ran to help the fatally stabbed PC Keith Palmer during the Westminster attack.
Let’s leave 2017 in the dust and like these people, work for a better 2018. I’m giving the last work to a personal hero of mine, Carrie Fisher.