January 11, 2021
8 feminist resolutions for a more empowered 2021
Remember this time last year? When we all had 2020 visions of grandeur, ambitious resolutions, and a plan to send the decade off in a blaze of glory? Maybe you hoped to learn Mandarin, run a 10k, or—dun dun dunnnn—travel more. Cue COVID-19, stay-at-home orders, civil unrest, and an election that wasn’t exactly happy-go-lucky, and it might just be the understatement of the century to say that things didn’t quite go as planned.
Sure, there were some who seemed to thrive in the midst of all of this—we’re looking at you, quilt makers, sourdough bakers and—*cough, cough*—billionaires. But most of us experienced this year as an anxiety-ridden, formerly unthinkable parallel universe that has been consistently (and justly) described as a dumpster fire. At least according to Twitter.
New year, new perspective
As we look back on this year, it feels tempting to channel Ariana, say “thank u, next,” and never look back. But 2020 also brought some important lessons: the pandemic was not the great equalizer that many expected it to be. Many minorities and women were impacted far more dramatically by its effects. It was a year of great loss and even greater resilience.
So here’s the plan for 2021: first, let’s give ourselves some credit for getting through. And then let’s give ourselves permission to take it easy. With a vaccine approved and in the early stages of circulation, it feels like there might just be some light at the end of the tunnel, so let’s kick off the New Year with some feel-good, bite-sized feminist resolutions that will get us through the home stretch and help us emerge just a little better on the other side.
1. Feminize your media consumption
Listen, we’ve all been leaning on Netflix and the like pretty hard this year—shutting off our brains and relaxing a little in the midst of all the turmoil feels like one of the most accessible and basic forms of self-care. But there are ways to get your screen and social fix and still learn a little while you’re at it.
Check out our favorite feminist Instagram accounts, podcasts, and films in this article. Then consider a social cleanse. It’s good to be challenged, but there’s a fine line between being confronted with ideas that are different from yours and having to read things that make you feel downright bad about yourself. In 2021, we don’t have time for that. A strong woman stands up for herself and that’s about to be you, lady.
2. Wear what you want to
With so few occasions to leave the house—and actual orders not to—2020 took athleisure to a whole new level. Maybe that’s your style and maybe it’s not, but one thing we’d like to keep from these new-found, pandemic-driven adjustments is our prerogative to wear whatever the hell we want.
So whether that means rocking sweatpants and a nice top for Zoom-friendly comfort, putting on all of your most colorful clothing to hack your mood, or stocking up on two-sizes-too-large feminist t-shirts to rock with high socks, Risky Business style, we say be brave and put on whatever you feel best in.
3. Talk about money
Let’s keep chipping away at the wage gap, ladies. Money can be a bit of a taboo subject, but if you can stand it, make an attempt to chat with your friends about saving, budgeting, investing—maybe even what you’re making. Knowledge really is power. And the more information you can glean about what others are getting paid and the kind of salary you deserve, the more empowered you’ll be to ask for more come negotiation time.
Some tools we like for this empowering resolution? Emotional Currency by Kate Levinson is a great read and workbook on building a healthy relationship with money, and it’s full of financial challenges real women can relate to. Ellevest helps women invest according to their most common career trajectories.
In 2021, we’re going full feminist and leaving the money shame behind!
4. Turn up for Galentine’s Day
Maybe you’re a Valentine’s Day stan who loves to get cozy and rosy on February 14th. Orrrr maybe you’d rather skip it altogether. Regardless, it’s time to make a habit of celebrating the lady loves in your life on the Feb. 13th, in the tradition of the Leslie Knope.
So round up your girl gang for a virtual hang or set up a letter or gift exchange. It’s always a good time to celebrate and connect with the badass women in your life, but this occasion will turn your good intentions into reality. So mark your calendars! Save the date! And make Galentine’s Day 2021 the first of many. Pop some champagne, treat yo’self (and your gals) to some on-theme feminist sticker packs, and sing the praises of all your favorite people.
5. Start a book club
Sounds like a lot of work, we know. But it doesn’t have to be! All too often, people make grand plans to organize bi-weekly or monthly gatherings and overcommit to a reading agenda that’s just not doable in the midst of real life. As you might expect, these things often fizzle out pretty quickly.
This year, we’re going quarterly—yes, just four times a year! Start a group text now and get everyone to commit and brainstorm book ideas. It’s a totally doable to engage with feminist ideas in a social way. Make finger sandwiches. Dress up. Have fun with it. Listen and learn along the way. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
A New Age Classic: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Going on seven years old, but you just can’t beat the pop culture references and message that being a feminist doesn’t and shouldn’t require perfection – if you make just one feminist resolution this year, read this!
A 2020 NYT Best Seller: Hood Feminism: Notes from the Woman that a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
An important critique of the feminist movement as it exists today, and its lack of focus on fulfilling women’s most basic needs (i.e. food insecurity, the living wage and access to education)
Coming Soon in 2021: White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencer and Who They Leave Behind by Koa Beck
Some much-anticipated cultural commentary on the racial prejudice and elitism that plagues modern feminism and how to course-correct (from the former editor-in-chief at Jezebel)
6. Stay politically engaged
We probably all got a little too familiar with doom-scrolling this year, so taking a little post-election break is probably the right move for your mental health. But if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that we can’t be complacent. It’s all too common for people to hop in every four years for presidential elections and then peace out to political hibernation until the next.
In 2021, let’s resolve to pay attention to the issues we care about and stay engaged all year round. Especially locally! Support and subscribe to a local paper you like. Check out voterparticipation.org to find your state’s election website, so you can stay up to date on your local representatives, ballot measures, election dates, etc. Or go the extra mile and make some new feminist friends by joining an activist group near you on meetup (they’ve gone virtual for the time being).
7. Send love, all year long
In 2021, our favorite feminist resolutions are the kinds that take very little effort on your part, but have a big impact all the same. This is one of those. If you’re feeling grateful or appreciative for someone in your life—we’re talking moms, besties, coworkers, mentors, acquaintances—take the extra step and tell them.
It always feels good to know you’re loved and appreciated, and hearing that might be exactly the kind of warm fuzz and ego boost a person needs, especially in these troubling times. Women for women. Not my competition. Empowered women empower women. Pick your fave and make it your mantra. Then act on it as much as you can.
8. Reduce your waste
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: destroy the patriarchy, not the planet, people. Climate change becomes a bigger factor in equality across the world every damn day. So your activism makes for an undeniably feminist resolution.
This year, let’s all make a better effort at conservation. Those reuseable shopping bags you usually leave at home? Move them to your car & leave them there. Commit to a monthly donation to an organization like the Sierra Club or The Sunrise Movement, a youth-led coalition fighting for climate justice and education. Small things add up!
Ready to get after it? Pick a resolution that feels important to you, jot it down, tell your friends—maybe even get one to join you. Every year, around 80% of people drop their resolutions by the second week in February, but we deserve a win, damnit, and if you set realistic goals and motivate yourself with a little outside encouragement.
Here’s to a brighter, more equitable future. Let’s make 2021 the Year of the Feminist!