From heart-wrenching celebrity deaths to body positivity wins and a thoroughly crazy presidential election, we can all agree that 2016 has been a whirlwind, for better or worse. And as far as we thought we’d come with feminism, this year was just bursting with rude awakenings that there’s much progress to be made.
Here, just 14 times (in no chronological or particular order, mind you) it really did suck to be a woman in 2016.
1. When Brock Turner got off the hook.
One of the most infuriating losses for women—and really, all of humanity—came in June when former Stanford student Brock Turner was found guilty of sexual assaulting an unconscious woman and sentenced to just six months in jail. He was released after just three. The victim wrote a powerful letter that went viral and underlined the fact that even in 2016, we continue to place blame on rape victims vs. rapists.
2. When Donald Trump clearly misunderstood the facts (remember those?) about partial-birth abortion during the final presidential debate.
Much of this list could be devoted to Donald Trump’s actions and words, but this one stands out in particular, as it so grossly mischaracterized how abortion works in this country and perpetuated ignorance around the already sensitive subject. During the last debate, Trump dug into Hillary Clinton for her stance on abortion, saying, “If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.”
Secretary Clinton replied, “That is not what happens in these cases. And using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate.” Let’s get the facts straight once and for all: Doctors won’t perform the procedure at nine months, notes The Washington Post. If a woman’s or fetus’s life is at risk, physicians can induce labor or authorize an emergency C-section. Intentionally killing the baby in the process would be illegal.
3. When female athletes had to endure sexist coverage of their accomplishments at the Rio Summer Olympics.
When Corey Cogdell-Unrein won a bronze medal in women’s trap shooting, The Chicago Tribune couldn’t be bothered to use her name alongside the news. Instead, they referred to her the wife of a Bears lineman. Unreal. (Oh yeah, they have since said they’re sorry, but come on.) And a judo event was referred to as a “catfight” by none other than the BBC. When Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu broke an Olympic record, NBC applauded…her husband. Those are just three examples of far too many.
4. When the election spurred a rise in online harassment against women.
Of adults who reported harassment in 2016, 55% were women, while 45% were men, according to a poll data in the form of an infographic released in partnership with Rad Campaign, Lincoln Park Strategies, and craigconnects. (It does bear noting that the number for women was slightly down from 2014, and for men, slightly up.)
5. When racist, sexist trolls caused Leslie Jones to throw in the towel on Twitter.
The all-female reboot of Ghostbusters, which hit theaters this summer, was awesome, but of course, its release unleashed a mob of sexist, racist trolls—lead by Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos—who went after Leslie Jones so hard that she temporarily dropped off of Twitter as a result. She’s back, but what an ugly moment.
6. When a sexist white supremacist troll scored a book deal.
Although Twitter banned Yiannopoulos for inciting the mass harassment of Leslie Jones, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Yiannopoulos has received a $250,000 deal from Threshold Editions, an imprint at Simon & Schuster. A spokesperson said he’ll write “a book on free speech by the outspoken and controversial gay British writer and editor at Breitbart News who describes himself as ‘the most fabulous supervillain on the internet.’” Vomit.
7. When Donald Trump mansplained his harassment and fat-shaming of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.
As if the internet wasn’t already overflowing with vile stories of fat-shaming, this year, we got a presidential candidate in on the action! Hillary Clinton called attention to the fact that Trump, who ran the Miss Universe pageant, called the former beauty queen “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.” Trump’s excuse: “She gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.”
8. When Calvin Klein objectified women in such a blatant way in this ridiculous billboard.
9. When Trump called Hillary “a nasty woman.”
I mean, we took that absurd, sexist, completely crazy shit and made it our own—but still.
10. When Texas took a horrifying swipe at Roe vs. Wade.
The Lone Star state passed and enacted a rule that requires fetal remains to be handled like any other deceased person’s. The state’s health commission had argued the rules would result in “enhanced protection of the health and safety of the public.” But really, it’s just one of several attacks states have attempted on Roe vs. Wade that reproductive rights advocates fear will only increase once Trump is in office.
11. When we lost Gwen Ifill.
The veteran journalist who covered the White House, Congress and national campaigns during three decades for The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC and PBS died at just 61 from complications of cancer. A feminist icon and role model, Ifill laid the groundwork for other women of color to take the journalism world by storm.
12. When we lost Carrie Fisher.
Carrie Fisher died at just 60 years old after suffering a heart attack this past week. While she was best known for her portrayal of Princess/General Leia Organa in the Star Wars franchise, Fisher was also a prolific writer, comedian, and outspoken feminist whose sharp wit and honest perspective on life will be sorely missed.
13. When Hyundai decided to try to sell their cars by casting Kevin Hart as a dad who treats his teen daughter like one of his prized possessions.
“Hey, so you’re the guy taking my little girl out, huh? You know what, why don’t you go ahead and take my new car?” Hart says in the sexist spot, which ran during the Super Bowl. He then proceeds to use a “Car Finder” app to stalk down his vehicle—and teen daughter. Cringe.
14. When Hillary Clinton lost the electoral college, but won the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes.
And we had to kiss dreams of seeing that glass ceiling shatter and our first Madam President goodbye and somehow wrap our heads around having a sexist, racist demagogue move into the White House. Nightmare.