What a year. It was a bit of a whirlwind for the internet and indeed the whole world. Memes were made and tragedies hit the headlines. I’ve picked just some of the more important stories to hit the news this year, as well as some random moments that will forever lie in the memory of 2015.
Call me Caitlyn…
Caitlyn Jenner came out as transgender in April during an interview with Diane Sawyer. In June, Jenner presented as female for the first time and revealed her new first name on the cover Vanity Fair magazine.
The Olympian and reality show star was also named Women of the Year by Glamour magazine and the most fascinating person of the year by Barbara Walters. Suddenly everybody started talking about the transgendered community more than ever. Some people placed her as a spokesperson for the community.
Jenner has done a lot for raising awareness in the public’s eye, but let’s just say not everybody was happy with her being a lead role model. Jenner faced major criticism for her political and social conducts. Her conservative views on gay marriage and her meeting with an anti-LGBT preacher added fuel to the fire. The biggest ‘WTF oops’ moment was her TIME interview in which she stated how important it is to present herself in a certain way: “If you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable”. For some this was the last straw and Jenner firmly placed herself on the ‘asshole’ hall of fame. Alex Rees responded with “In other words, transphobic stereotyping from a woman who’s just been awarded one of the magazine’s ’Person of the Year’ awards thanks to her transition and resulting position as a figurehead for the trans community. Great!”
This was the year when debates and thoughts about what it means to be transgender or gender-fluid became a focal point. People started to raise more awareness about sexuality and gender identity, and how they are separate. The community has the highest suicide rate and now the public need to educate themselves if we are to minimise transphobia, learning the importance of pronouns and understanding what it means to be transgender. One thing we can learn from Caitlyn Jenner is that it simply isn’t about being a man in a dress.
When pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed his Germanwings plane into the French Alps in March, the world looked on in horror. While some argued about the ‘dangers’ of employing people with mental-health issues, Project Semicolon went viral. Sufferers posted pictures of their semicolon tattoos on Instagram with the hashtag #semicolonproject, symbolising the end of one clause and the beginning of another. The tattoo represented those strong enough to carry on. People also started to take notice of human disasters like mass shootings. If a person of an ethnic minority were involved they are named a terrorist, whilst white men are labeled as mentally ill. This introduced a whole new set of debates on how the media deals with mental health and race.
European Refugee Crisis
The year where people’s true feelings came afloat…
Sudarsan Pattnaik depicts the drowned Syrian boy with a sand sculpture
We head into 2016 with more wars going on than ever hitting the headlines before. All the conflicts this year, from Ukraine to Yemen, Afghanastan to Syria to Iraq are constantly reported on but rarely discussed. But this year, the every day man couldn’t ignore it any longer and it became apart of our daily conversations. Refugees from conflict-tornlands crossed deadly seas and dangerous borders and entered into a stunned Europe. Where did they come from? Why are they coming here? It was the year when the world looked at a picture of the drowned refugee toddler, Aylan Kurdi, on a beach. Finally, the world had an emotional response. Suddenly we started think about how we were portraying the refugees in the world’s media. They were no long a ‘swarm’, as David Cameron eloquently put it, but innocent children and victims of war. A total of 4 million Syrian refugees have been registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The vast majority of them are in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Since 2012, the US for example has only accepted 2,174 Syrian refugees – roughly 0.0007% of America’s total population. This hardly seems fair. Europe isn’t looking too squeaky clean either. They’ll happily airstrike the countries they came from though. Hm.
Supervillians of the year go to…
ISIS firmly claimed its place as the biggest supervillan group this year. The international terror brand/super-pricks sexually enslaved thousands of Yazidi women, threw gay men off of roofs, burned a Jordanian pilot alive, obliterated pre-Islamic history (including temples in Palmyra), supposedly bombed a Russian plane with 224 people on board, slaughtered 38 tourists in Tunisia, stormed satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by two Kalashnikov-toting brothers and of course, more recently, the infamous Paris Attacks. That’s just to name a few handful of incidents in 2015. The ongoing horrors in Syria remain ignored by the Western press; apparently there’s no point reporting a fire in a furnace(!)
via The Times of World
Manipulation of social media, slick recruitment videos, marketing and branding that actually seems to be working, somehow managed to persuade young men and women into ‘terrorist tourism’, which has scared the shit out of everyone. Basically, they’re just inhumane on all levels.
ISIS are a huge deal right now. If there’s one thing to take from these shocking headlines is that it is worth taking the time to educate yourself on the matters – don’t rely on silly Facebook posts to form an opinion. The ISIS situation cannot be fixed by a few airstrikes. There is so much corruption and money involved, not only in the middle east but in the west as well. It’s not just black and white – bombs do not end wars. Look at post-Bush Iraq. What came out of all that desiccation? Apologies. Oh and so-called Islamic State.
Politics (kind of) had our attention
Pork was a major player…
There was a lengthy battle of conflict and compromise in politics this year, but the conservatives won a majority. It wasn’t a landslide victory, but it worked for the Tories. Poor Miliband couldn’t even eat a bacon sarnie without the internet making him into a meme, whilst Cameron supposedly had sexual relations with a pig and there was hardly a murmur. But in all seriousness, Miliband simply didn’t have the kind of conviction that makes people change political course. Cameron had certainty.
Lest we forget Jeremy Corbyn. If I had a penny for every time I read an article about the cardigan-wearing relatable beard-adorning man this year, I’d be a very wealthy girl. 2015 was also the year in which women made a massive impact in politics with younger generations looking up to Natalie Bennett, Leannee Wood and Nicola Sturgeon by constantly grabbing our attention. However the year was ruled by the Conservatives. I just feel sorry for all those aspiring dystopian authors who’s ideas keep getting stolen by them.
Other Stuff That Defined Pop Culture in 2015:
- Zayn left One Direction
- Rachel Dolezal
- Sepp Blatter scandal
- Shia LaBeouf was Shia LaBeouf
- On fleek
- On point
- Clip on man buns
- Left shark
- “Hello, it’s me”
- Netflix and Chill
- Would Justin Bieber like some mash with his bangers?
- Snapchat update
- *Shoves breadsticks into purse*
- The whip
- JOHN CENA
- Uptown funk
- What are THHOOOOSE?
- Tampon tax
- Tumblr update
- No Oscar for Leo (again)
- The dress
- Gluten free
- “Miley, what’s good?”
- Fight me
- Gay rights
- “Just do it”
- Hotling bling
- Condom challenge
- Acapella app
- Donald Trump
- Pepe the Frog
- Pizza Rat
What a weird year.