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57 Reasons To Love 2017

Turns out, this year wasn't all bad.

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But it turns out, some good stuff happened! So as we head into the new year, let's take a moment to consider a few of the reasons to love 2017:

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1. We met Salt Bae, White Guy Blinking, Mocking Sponge Bob, and Distracted Boyfriend.

2. Hidden Figures shined a spotlight on black female mathematicians at NASA.

3. Fyre Festival crashed and burned pretty spectacularly and people had so many jokes.

4. Fiona the Hippo reigned supreme.

Instagram: @cincinnatizoo

"'To err is human, to be a hippo is divine.' That's how the saying goes, right? Well if it isn't...it SHOULD, because seemingly the only thing we can all agree upon in 2017 is that Fiona the Hippo is the sassy, gassy, unproblematic queen we all deserve. Whether she's photobombing engagement photos, simply making the art of breaking wind seem graceful, slaying on social media, or catching the attention of the New York Times, Fiona has been the saving grace of this year — the one thing that can unite us all." —Sam Stryker

5. Get Out became an instant classic.

6. We learned that Melissa McCarthy was basically born to play the role of Sean Spicer.

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8. The Babadook assumed his rightful place as LGBT icon.

Twitter: @jacobbullards

"In a year when our rights came under heavy attack from the T**** administration, queer people needed an unlikely hero to lift us from the pits of our despair if only for a moment — and that hero was none other than the mother effin' BABADOOK, y'all. In case you've been living in an Australian woman's basement like the Baba and aren't aware of his rise to icon-status, here's a lil' refresher: In December 2016, a Tumblr user photoshopped the hit 2014 horror film, The Babadook, into Netflix's LGBT category, which launched an epic fandom and ~Babadiscourse~ that eventually spread to Twitter in June 2017, just in time for Pride Month.

Everyone was straight Babashook over our new, strangely adorable icon — with tons of people even dressing as the lovable villain at Pride parades. That word, 'villain,' has a lot to do with why the Babadook took 2017 by storm. The queer community has been villainized throughout history, depicted as monsters who should be sent to hell, so, once and for all, we went ahead and reclaimed our villainous image through the Babadook. He became a symbol of our resiliency and our humor, despite our struggles this year. He's a misunderstood creature dressed in black statement pieces who embodies depression and terrorizes people who try to lock him away. Same, Baba. Same." —Tom Vellner

9. Rihanna dropped Fenty Beauty.

10. The story of the Radium Girls went viral.

11. We all reclaimed our time.

12. And we did so many sheet masks.

13. People in the United States gathered together to watch the eclipse.

Nasa / Getty Images

"Given everything’s that’s happened this year, it’s eerily fitting that the moon thrust a strip of the U.S. spanning from coast to coast into darkness. 'The Great American Eclipse,' we called it: The first solar eclipse visible in the U.S. since 1979, and the first solar eclipse to span the length of the United States since 1918. To bear witness to this contiguous path of totality was hailed as a once-in-a-lifetime event, but unlike many of the once-in-a-lifetime events that comprised 2017, it was apolitical, nonpartisan, and completely out of anyone’s control. There is no one to blame when the sky goes dark, and no one who can take credit for the moon overshadowing the sun. No living person could have caused or influenced it; it just...happened.

Looking back on this year, it is both jarring and pleasant to think I came together with strangers in Hopkinsville, Kentucky to celebrate celestial objects in the parking lot of a church. That liminal world is one I cannot shake and wish I could revisit, if not live in forever. I want to exist in plane of perpetual twilight and see colors of a sunset burst from the ground in every direction I turn. I want to look up at a black emptiness in the sky fringed by a corona and the incipient twinkling of planets and stars. I want the only darkness any of us experience to be the kind we saw during the eclipse — awesome and ethereal; something we could all point to and call beautiful.

That is not how our world works, but if the eclipse taught us anything, it’s that darkness — literal or figurative — does end, and one way or another, the sun always returns." —Anjali Patel

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14. Men got to experience the joy of rompers.

15. Ken dolls got a new look and Ibtihaj Muhammad became a Barbie.

16. And we got our first-ever black Bachelorette.

17. A new generation got our very own Hollywood-actress-turned-princess-story.

Chris Jackson

"The Princess Diaries was by far the best part of my 2001, so it only makes sense that a real-life princess story was the best part of my 2017. Don't start with me on the whole 'but Meghan Markle will actually be a duchess' nonsense, because I don't live in the UK, so if I want to call her Princess Meghan, I damn well will call her Princess Meghan. Anyway, her relationship with Prince Harry bundles so many of the things I love into one perfectly-coiffed, loved-up package. For starters, they are so happy and in love that it's impossible not to smile like a fool whenever you see photos or videos of them together. Love! What a gas! Also, I pulled an all-nighter to watch William and Kate's wedding in college, so the prospect of another royal wedding in the near future is enough to get me through a lot of *gestures around* this.

But Harry and Meghan aren't just any royal couple. As anyone who's watched The Crown or paid attention to British history knows, it hasn't always been so chill for the fifth in line for the throne to marry any old peasant they want. It was so scandalous for Princess Margaret to entertain the notion of marrying a divorced man in the 1950s that he got sent out of the country to end the relationship. Not only is Meghan divorced, but she's also American, older than him, and, oh right, biracial. Their relationship is a living, breathing testament to modernity, to open-mindedness, and to love. I, an American street rat, have no stock in the royal family sticking around, but there is something exciting about seeing such a staid institution basically throw up their hands and say 'You know what? Fine.' If acceptance can happen there, in a family of colonization and classism, it can happen anywhere, right? At least that's what I, armed with the joy their engagement has given me, am hoping." —Terri Pous

18. Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” was both an anthem and a bop.

19. Kesha’s “Praying” brought us all to our knees.

20. “Despacito” was an unprecedented smash hit.

21. Cardi B became the first female solo rapper to have a #1 song since 1998.

22. Also, just...Cardi B in general.

Dia Dipasupil

"Cardi B isn't an overnight success; she's been hustling for years and is finally receiving the notoriety she deserves. With two Grammy nominations, a record-breaking #1 song in 'Bodak Yellow,' and six BET awards, there's no doubt this self-proclaimed 'regular degular shmegular girl from the Bronx' had a phenomenal 2017. Seeing Cardi thrive this year has been like seeing a best friend's dreams come to life. She's carved her own lane in the world and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us in 2018." —Pablo Valdivia

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23. Everyone went bonkers for HQ Trivia.

24. And Unicorn Frapps.

25. We finally got an answer to the question “What would happen if they read the wrong name on the card at the Oscars?”

26. Also...Moonlight won!

27. The Big Sick reminded us that love is worth the fight.

28. Girls’ Trip was a blast.

29. And Coco made us weep in the best possible way.

Pixar

"These past few years have been tough for Mexicans, or at least for me. Between the nonsense being spewed by politicians and the devastating earthquake that affected our country so severely, it’s easy to feel defeated. Coco’s release jolted me out of the sulk I had been living in. I’ve seen it three times now — that’s how fantastic it is! I’ve always been very proud to be Mexican, and the story of this little boy and his family reminded me of that, and of the privilege I have to be part of such a beautiful and uplifting culture. There are plenty of reviews out there explaining why this is such a phenomenal movie, so I won’t get into the nitty gritty — but just know, they are all spot on; this movie is amazing. During one of my trips to the theater, I dragged my parents and grandmother along to a Spanish-language showing. I was so excited to experience this story with them (and the fact that it was in our language was just an added bonus). Throughout the movie we laughed, cried, and shared in the far-too-unfamiliar moment of seeing a Hollywood film that celebrated us on the big screen. There aren’t many that depict our culture and traditions so beautifully, and there aren’t many filmmakers who would take the time to thoroughly research and hire people who understand the story trying to be told — but Pixar did. It was through their colorful depiction and loving tale that I realized I was being un poco loco in letting myself get so defeated." —Elena Garcia

30. Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe gave us the “Thanksgiving” episode of Master of None.

31. And then Lena Waithe made an incredibly moving speech when she accepted an Emmy for it.

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32. We got Thor: Ragnarok — and Taika Waititi's amazing outfits.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

"For me, 2017 was all about seven syllables: Taika. Fucking. Waititi. The New Zealand-born director, best known for indie favorites like What We Do In The Shadows, The Hunt For The Wilderpeople, and Eagle Vs Shark, was handed the keys to Marvel's latest blockbuster, Thor: Ragnarok — and, much like Hela's reaction to Thor's hammer attack on the cliffs of Norway, he CRUSHED it.

The movie was as much a smash for audiences and critics as it was for studio executives. In addition to being the best-reviewed Marvel movie ever, it brought in a cool $122 million (domestically) during its opening weekend.

The film's success also helped solidify a growing theory in Hollywood: that hiring off-beat indie directors to head up big-budget blockbusters is just what's needed to add some long-overdue flavor to the often stuffy, cookie cutter genre. Waititi's quirky, oddball fingerprints are all over Ragnarok — and it's because of this that the movie soars.

On a smaller, more superficial, note: Waititi's personal fashion was my second favorite part of 2017 (Ragnarok was my first.) There was, of course, the beautiful pineapple shirt-short combo he wore to this year's Comic Con International. The brown suit he wore to one of Ragnarok's premieres was allegedly so unbelievable that Jeff Goldblum, a well-known style icon himself, could only describe it this way: 'It set my brain on fire.' If things couldn't get any better, it was also recently reported that Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, would 'love for' Waititi to direct an upcoming Star Wars film.

So thank you, Taika, for making my 2017 so non-shitty. The future is looking bright — and it's wearing a dope pineapple shirt." —Eric Larson

33. Hasan Minaj dropped the mic at the White House Correspondents’ dinner.

34. Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give was a #1 New York Times bestseller.

35. Fidget spinners gave us something to do with our hands besides yell at each other on Twitter.

36. And Instagram Stories showed us a sliiiiightly less filtered version of one another (and ourselves).

blog.instagram.com

"Having a newborn is a wonderful blessing and I feel so lucky, but it’s also the hardest thing I have ever done and it’s super isolating and oh my god, the hormones. By the time my baby was seven weeks, I felt like I hadn’t done anything whatsoever except breastfeed and cry and wonder if I was a good mom since the day she was born. Talking to my therapist helped with this tremendously and so did — of all things! — Instagram Stories.

Yeah, I realize that is the most millennial parent thing ever, but I found that documenting my life on social media helped me see how beautiful and special this time is. The little moments like a particularly good cuddle session or a little walk we took around the park suddenly seemed as lovely or sometimes even better than the stories of my friends partying or traveling. (PLEASE don’t get me wrong: it is insanely difficult, and if you have a new mom in your life, stop reading this and go bring her a hot meal and a bottle of wine and clean her kitchen.)

Actually, the funny thing about my Instagram stories is that I talked about the bad stuff too, over pictures of my baby. The anxiety and the lack of sleep and the self doubt (oh my!). All of it. That was probably the best part, because that’s when people — moms or not — reached out and assured me what I was going through was both universal and temporary. And the bad days, like Stories, all go away in 24 hours. Very fitting." —Rachel Christensen

37. We met the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling through GLOW.

38. And the gorgeous homes (and people) of Monterey on Big Little Lies.

39. Also, Laura Dern in general was pretty great.

40. And the third season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was really good.

The CW

"Crazy Ex Girlfriend has always been a source of fun and joy but in 2017, it became one of the brightest and most earnest pieces of pop culture out there.

If you don't know the show, it's the story of Rebecca, a successful New York lawyer who decides to quit everything to pursue happiness (and her ex-boyfriend, Josh) in West Covina, California. It hilariously subverts classic rom-com tropes and the whole thing is totally delightful. Each episode also has a couple of musical numbers that are smart, funny, and super catchy (my favorite this year: "Let's Generalize About Men").

But the show went further in Season 3 when it started really addressing Rebecca's mental health issues. While never giving up on its usual edge and wit, the story became in turn nerveracking, heartbreaking, and, ultimately, profoundly moving. It's rare to see such an earnest, yet truly hopeful, portrayal of mental health on TV; it was so refreshing and comforting that I've watched some of these episodes several times since they first aired." —Marie Telling

41. There was Insecure Season 2.

42. And The Good Place Season 2.

43. And Queen Sugar Season 2.

44. Also! Stranger Things Season 2.

45. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel gave us a new TV heroine to root for.

Amazon

"You probably never knew that you needed a drama about a 1950s housewife struggling to become a comedian, but here we are. When Amazon premiered the pilot back in March, I gave it a shot based solely on the fact that it was written by Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, the wife-husband duo behind Gilmore Girls. I went in thinking that the title was a mouthful and finished the episode to the sound of my own voice saying 'AMAZON BETTER FUCKING GREEN LIGHT THIS SHOW.' They did, and thank goddess.

Even though it's set in the 1950s, the characters feel refreshing and new, but somehow familiar, probably due to the fact that the writing captures the complexities of human relationships and family dynamics in a way that hits almost too close to home if you're a person living in the world. It pulls back the curtain on the rituals women have to keep up appearances, the relationships between mothers and daughters, and the realities of 'making it' as a career woman. It will make you say, 'Wow, how far women have come!' in the same breath as 'Jesus, how have we not come farther by now?' At its core is something that we've all known for too long: We need to be so much better than men for less of the credit and none of the praise, but Midge, the main character, does it anyway. And man, does she knock it out of the park.

Watch this show. Watch it and then tell your friends to watch it and then tweet all of them to remind them to watch it. And then DM me so we can talk about it because goddamnit I still need to process, OK?" —Augusta Falletta

47. And made some pretty amazing protests signs.

Another favorite #WomensMarch #womensmarchonwashington sign

48. People in California were able to get a year’s supply of birth control at once — and soon may be able to elsewhere.

Areeya_ann / Getty Images

"I’ve been on The Pill for more than 10 years. I was a teenager then, and going to the pharmacy every month — to do a very responsible thing! — felt like a chore, if not a bit embarrassing. But in January 2017, a new law allowing people in California to pick up a year’s worth of birth control went into effect. I emailed my ob-gyn earlier this year when I heard: 'Hey, is this a thing?' She wrote back that yes, in fact, it was — and my 12-month supply would available for pick up tomorrow evening. This felt like a huge win during a less-than-ideal year for people with uteruses. It was also beautiful IRL: four three-month packs of combination estrogen and progestin pills, secured together with an impressive amount of tape so no one could mistakenly think that this prescription was for anything less than AN ENTIRE YEAR’S supply of freedom pills.

And it’s not just more convenient — it’s more effective, too. One study showed that getting more oral contraceptive pill packages at once leads to fewer unwanted pregnancies. (1.2% of women who received a year supply conceived an unplanned pregnancy, compared to 3.3% who received three cycles of pills at once and 2.9% who received one cycle of pills.)

The same legislation has also passed in DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Vermonth, and Washington, and it’s being proposed in many others, including Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Texas. If you live in a state that’s considering expanding contraceptive access, might be a good time to call your local rep." —Nicole Nguyen

49. Danica Roem became Virginia’s first openly transgender lawmaker.

50. And she beat an incumbent who had drafted an anti-trans "bathroom bill," and who had refused to debate her.

51. In Minneapolis, Andrea Jenkins became America’s first openly transgender woman of color elected to public office.

52. Hoboken's Ravi Bhalla won the mayoral race, and will be New Jersey's first Sikh mayor.

53. And Montanans elected the state's first-ever (!!!) black mayor: Wilmot Collins, of Helena — who also happens to be a Liberian refugee.

54. Oh and Australia legalized same-sex marriage.

55. Community organizers in Alabama secured a huge win.

Afp Contributor / AFP / Getty Images

"I don’t know if you heard, but on December 12, a Democrat named Doug Jones defeated GOP nominee Roy Moore. Jones’ victory makes him the first Democrat to represent Alabama in the Senate in more than two decades. But what’s inspiring and truly gives me hope is how he won a seat in this deeply red state. While the Doug Jones campaign was sending super hectic emails to supporters, and the DNC was creating messaging around Jones that was pretty blah, black organizers and community leaders, who have been building progressive infrastructure in their communities for generations, were working hard to defeat Moore, showing us exactly how elections can be won: look to the organizers who have been doing it for years.

A coalition of black community leaders and organizers tapped into the power of black churches, HBCUs, local community associations (including in often-overlooked rural areas) to get people to the polls and fight voter suppression efforts. As LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund, wrote in Colorlines: 'The messaging of the national Democratic Party was not what won the election. It was people on the ground from the same communities we were reaching out to, with long-term commitments to our people and the cultural competency to speak to our folks in a way that held meaning for them.'

There have been a few significant and important electoral victories in 2017, but none is more inspiring and meaningful to me than the one that was won by the people working to save and serve their own communities. This doesn’t just give us hope for 2018 and the years to come — it gives us a blueprint. Whenever we feel totally over establishment politicians that don’t seem to care about radically shifting power structures, we shouldn't tap out because we feel hopeless. Instead, we can get involved in a local organization that is working toward real, long-term, systemic change using methods that we know, for a fact, work. (Btw, if you want to say a huge thank you to black voters and organizers in Alabama and support their longterm efforts, consider donating.)" —Sally Tamarkin

56. Honeybee populations increased.

57. And it allllllll happened right in front of my salad!

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