back to top

11 Essays From Around The World You Needed To Read In 2016

In no particular order, here are some of the great essays published by BuzzFeed's global bureaus this year.

Posted on

"Bollywood’s heroines rarely have characters or conversations beyond their relationships with men – Bechdel test super fails. TV ads show us men purchasing insurance and cars and homes, while women are marketed oils for their husband’s health, detergents for their kids’ clothes, and chai for the family. Everywhere, domestic couplehood is emphasised as the happy way for women to live. Indeed, the only way to live."


"Suddenly I’m the one that’s no longer 'normal.' My rolls of fat aren’t 'normal' because I’m not comparing them to the perfectly chiseled stomach of an extremely famous model, but to something a lot closer: the perfectly chiseled stomach of my third-floor neighbor, who I ~casually~ found on Instagram." You can also read this essay in Spanish.

"When you lose a parent as a child, you don’t have a lot of memories to choose from. You cling on to the precious few that you have, and then you start to panic when even the edges of those get fuzzy. I have an enormous fear of forgetting my dad completely. I imagine passing him on a busy street and I wonder whether I’d even recognise him at all. When it comes to my father, my memory has become both my biggest asset and my biggest enemy."


"In the Rocky Mountains, where I live now, it’s the animals you need to watch out for at night. Of course, there are still people who might do you harm, but since I moved here, my keys have stayed in my bag, and walking home at night has never felt safer."


"Paris’s motto is 'Fluctuat nec mergitur,' an elegant Latin phrase that means 'Tossed, but not sunk.' The Niçois equivalent is 'M’en bati, sieu nissart,' a saying in the local dialect that literally means 'I don’t give a fuck, I’m from Nice.'" You can also read this essay in French.


"To be a minority in 21st-century North America is not simply to exist in a comfortable mixture, but is instead to be engaged in a constant dance. To be seen by those like you is to be rendered inscrutable to those who are different. You are thus constantly immersed in a process of translation, at times going on at length to explain to others that you aren’t that different, but at other moments struggling to explain you aren’t quite the same either."

"One day, in college, I finally realized that it was desperately useless for me to be dating guys, because I actually liked girls. And for the first time, I found myself in a relationship with someone who knew exactly as well as I did how much the business of hair removal sucks." You can also read this essay in French.


"Objectively and relative to a vast majority of Indians, they aren’t 'poor' at all. But they’re certainly hungry and broke a lot. These are the metro-dwelling twentysomethings who’ve internalised the pressures surrounding them, and spend a majority of their salaries on keeping up the lifestyles and appearances that they believe are essential to earning those salaries."


"If you have to fiercely fight to build a home in a place where you have had to start completely from scratch, where you’ve had to redefine and reconstruct creature comforts, that becomes your home. Your independent, away-from-everything-and-everybody home. Not to sound like an Instagram quote, but you really do become your own home."


"One of the hardest things to hear from my family is that who I am is too hard/complicated/messy to understand. What I do is easier. There’s a lot going on in language, our political movements, what we need to be considered equal and good enough: numerous intersections that can’t be dismissed. I get that theories are complex and sometimes arduous. But I’m their child, their brother, and I want to know that I’m not 'too much' for them."

"Before death there are the potential years of being alone, especially for women, who tend to outlive their partners. There are years of losing your health. There are years of living invisible to most of the world. Now it is getting to be my grandmother’s time and then it will be my parents’ time and one day it will be my time – it is inescapable and knowing this is terrifying."


Susie Armitage is the Global Managing Editor and is based in New York.

Contact Susie Armitage at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.