9 Feminists To Watch In 2015

In the wake of this huge year for women's rights, female leaders, and recognition of social justice issues in general, we're getting excited for the big things to come in 2015. Here's a list of the women we'll be following in the new year and the exciting projects they'll be working on. 


Ava DuVernay - Already securing her role as the first black woman to ever be nominated for a ‘Best Director’ Golden Globe, the next few months will likely be an amazing and life-changing whirlwind for DuVernay, director of the recently released biopic, Selma. Based off of Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for civil rights, Duvernay navigated many obstacles to finally tell the incredible leader’s long-awaited story: because his speeches are copyrighted, she had to rewrite them line-by-line to ensure she was accurately portraying his points. The film is especially relevant during a time when racial issues are at the forefront of American news, and Paramount platformed it for the Oscars. Ava DuVernay, you are our hero.  

Hillary Clinton - Clinton’s already getting endorsements from fellow Democratic politicians for the upcoming presidential campaign. We can expect the former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady to gear up for the 2016 election with more media attention and public political acts, if she does in fact announce that she is running again. Did you just hear cheering? Yes, that would be us. We are ready for Hillary. 

Carrie Brownstein - Brownstein is queued up to have a big year. Her IFC sketch-comedy show, Portlandia, will return for its fifth season this Thursday the 8th at 10pm. In less than two weeks, on January 20th, her band Sleater-Kinney will release their first album since 2006, No Cities to Love. To top all of that off (and to make sure you don’t all have to get your Brownstein fix strictly through your television) Sleater-Kinney will kick off a two month U.S. and overseas tour starting in February.

Michelle MacLaren - MacLaren will start directing her first feature-length film this year, and it’s one we can get behind. The director will tell the story of feminist icon, Wonder Woman, in the first big budget superhero movie with a female lead. MacLaren is known for her work on Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, and is especially respected for her directing and executive producing on Breaking Bad. It’s not common for female directors to direct films with such large budgets, so we’re super excited to see what she comes up with.

Jill Soloway - Soloway created her critically acclaimed television show, Transparent, based on her own experience with a transgender father. Almost overnight, it made its way to number one on Amazon’s instant streaming site and received an impressive rating of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, so it’s no shock that it has been renewed for a second season. We’re happy to watch more of Soloway’s raw and realistic portrayals of sexuality, femininity, and family life in the new year. Not to mention, to see Soloway’s work garner the attention it deserves.

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Creators of #blacklivesmatter - Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometic are proving the profound influence social media can have on social justice movements. The three black queer women created the hashtag in response to Travyon Martin’s murder, and its following grew with the death of Ferguson’s Michael Brown. Their aim has been to create a space for the humanization of black lives, and their goal for the new year is to “make sure that black women, especially black queer and trans women, are playing a strong leadership role in the growing movement for black lives and black liberation.”

Tina Belcher - We’ll keep our eyes on this awkward, hopeless romantic, as she writes erotic fiction and plays guitar. A self-defined “smart, strong sensual woman,” Belcher will keep us entertained, empowered, and grounded as the weirdos we are during the new year.

Janet Mock - Mock recently had some big things happen - in December, she hosted her first episode of her new online MSNBC show So POPular and got engaged to her filmmaker boyfriend. This year, the transgender rights activist and author of Redefining Realness hopes to help “build a coalition that centers on the lives of women who lead intersectional lives and too often fall in between the cracks” of the more mainstream movements of feminism.

Elizabeth Warren - Though Warren has said multiple times that she will not be running for presidency in 2016, everyone’s still discussing her potential in the campaign. Very few politicians have her level of popularity, and four years spent rallying against Wall St. and Capitol Hill in defense of the working and middle class has made her a household name. We don’t know if she’ll change her mind, but either way, we’re excited to see the kinds of changes Warren will push for in the new year.

.... and just for fun: a picture of Benedict Cumberbatch looking like a feminist. 

Images courtesy Vanity Fair, Tumblr, Politico, Guardian and Deadline. Top image: button by Modern Girl Blitz, available here.

Marissa is an NYC-based writer who loves feminism, doughnuts, and being outside. She's not a huge fan of writing personal bios, but she does love writing pretty much anything else. Read more of her work at marissadubecky.com and follow her on Instagram at @marissa_aleta

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