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2016 was a trash fire of year for many, many reasons. But one 2016 trash fire you may not have thought much about is the quickly-shrinking landscape of women’s media. 2016 saw several much-loved women’s websites shut down: most recently XOJane, but also The Toast and AfterEllen, and with recent developments over at SpinMedia, the future of The Frisky isn’t looking too great either. Many other women’s sites have had huge layoffs or reduced their publishing schedule. The result is a media world where fewer women — and trans and nonbinary people — are able to make a living in journalism. And it’s a place where fewer voices are heard.

I’m not saying that these sites didn’t have problems. And I’m not saying that other women’s sites aren’t our competitors. But having competitors makes us better. Other women’s websites challenge us and inspire us and publish voices that we all need to hear.

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It’s hard for women's media to make money in the current media landscape. Online ads just don’t pay enough, and adblockers make that even worse. And many advertisers are reluctant to partner with overtly political sites. Facebook, which drives a lot of traffic, is constantly making it harder for posts to be seen if websites don’t pay to promote them.

Donald Trump will be sworn in as president in 18 days. We need writers who are willing to speak out against Trump and his sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic policies every single step of the way.

If you can afford it, consider financially supporting women’s media in 2017 — buy a subscription, make a donation. Independent women’s media needs it most. If you can’t afford a subscription or a donation, share the articles you like on social media and tell your friends about your favorite women’s websites and magazines.

And don’t be surprised if more of your favorite women’s sites shut down in 2017.

Top photo: Flickr/Squeezyboy

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Erika W. Smith is BUST's digital editorial director. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @erikawynn and email her at erikawsmith@bust.com.

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