2019 was the kind of year where so much shit happened, if you told me a cultural or political event and then held a gun to my head, I probably still couldn’t tell you when in the year it happened. Or if it even happened this year, or was just part of the long, national nightmare/fever dream that has been the last three years. I had to put genuine thought into trying to remember if the Justice League movie also came out this year, or if it was just mentioned so much in comparison to the new Avengers movie that I thought it also came out this year. (Aw, remember when I was excited for the Avengers movie? Poor early-2019 Elle. So young. So naïve.) Politics has become a giant game of mad libs where if you put literally anything terrible into any slot in the year, I would probably believe that it happened. And I was going to try and come up with examples of ludicrous things you could tell me, but I’m tired and I couldn’t imagine many things worse than kids in cages, the military no longer screening for white nationalists, a cop shooting a woman through her own living room window, Senators openly acknowledging that they plan to violate their oaths with no consequences, and a 2020 election that is shaping up to be awful in the…. all the ways.
Much as the upcoming year 2020 is giving me the inklings of a mid-life crisis, because “20 years ago” does and shall always refer to the 1980s, ThankYouVeryMuch, I’m excited to put a nail in the coffin for the year that was 2019. 2020 feels like a year for transition, a year for all the change we have been talking about for a long time. And I have to remind myself that change isn’t always painless. One of the reasons we end up in ruts of the status quo is that change will, by its nature, bring us some pain. So I have to brace myself for that. But I’m ready.
Also, so that this post isn’t both short AND depressing, here’s a list of books I read this year that I really liked (though my reading list can be its own kind of depressing given that I read a lot of social justice stuff). So enjoy that. Happy New Year, everyone.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker
She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers
Circe by Madeline Miller
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Pérez
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
Stand Still, Stay Silent: Book 1 by Minna Sundberg
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal by J. Jack Halberstam
Happy (almost) New Year, all.
Signed: Feminist Fury
Featured image is of a photo over the top of people’s heads at new year’s eve in Times Square, 2019. Taken by Chris Amelung and released under a CC-BY-2.0 license.