Many of you will have already seen this year's Time magazine 25 Most Influential People on the Internet list. If so then you might have clocked something wonderful. Namely that this year's line up contained a larger and more diverse range of women than ever before. Even more important is the power of their voices and the positive change those voices are bringing about.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
At age 29, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress. Born in the Bronx, New York, Alexandria has fought all her life to succeed and support her family, taking on 18 hour shifts as a bartender and waitress to help her mother avoid foreclosure of their home. Unlike many of her fellow congressmen and women, she has actually experienced the issues faced by her constituants and took them all by surprise with her defeat of long-standing 14th District Congressman Joe Crowley having not taken a penny from corporate PACs. With her key causes including housing as a human right, medicare for all, justice-system reform and immigration reform, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could be a lifeline to marginalised and minority communities suffering under a government that seems to, at best, disregard both their value and their needs.
Donald Trump has decided he does not want to be President of the United States.
He does not want to be a President to those who disagree.
And he’d rather see most Americans leave than handle our nation’s enshrined tradition of dissent.
But we don’t leave the things we love. — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 16, 2019
What were you doing when you were 15? Probably not protesting outside the Swedish parliament and giving an impassioned speech at the UN Climate Change Conference. What started off as a defiant act by Greta Thunberg snowballed into an international movement that is actually bringing about real change. Over the last eleven months, students inspired by Greta Thunberg and united worldwide by the #FridaysforFuture and #SchoolStrike4Climate hashtags have used social media to organize their own strikes drawing attention to adult inertia on tackling climate change and lowering carbon emissions. Global demonstrations in March 2019 alone drew an estimated 1.6 million people . Gobal leaders and corporate bosses request audiences with Greta and her outspoken, bold actions have inspired a generation of young people determined to care for our planet in a way their parents have not. So the next time you overhear anyone deriding millennials and Gen Z for their social media habits, tell them to google Greta Thunberg.
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex
If, a generation ago, someone had said that Prince Harry would mary a mixed race, American, divorced actress and activist the person on the receiving end would have choked on their afternoon tea. No matter how you feel about The Royals, Meghan Markle becoming the Duchess of Sussex is nothing but an enormously positive thing. AT just 11 years old her letters of complaint to female senators forced advertising giant, Procter & Gamble to change an ad s;logan from ‘Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans’ to ‘People all over America.’ As a teenager she volunteered in soup kitchens before going on to work with "One Young World", a charity organization that allows young leaders around the world to come together to brainstorm solutions for world problems, and serve the United Nations (UN) as the Women’s Advocate for Women’s Political Participation and Leadership. Meghan's even managed to make The Royals approach philanthropy in a more modern and relevant way. She and Harry have recently started their own instagram account to highlight causes such as mental health awareness and climate change, with plans to launch a charity focused on similar issues.
Body positivity has been something of a buzzword for a while now but over the past year, we have reslly seen positive change. One of the most outspoken and effective advocates is Jameela Jamil, British actress, brilliant writer and all-round babe. Having suffered from eating disorders and depression in the past - not helped by being in the public eye, obviously - Jameela felt compelled to fight against the promotion of narrow beauty ideals and last year, she started I Weigh, an online community where people can share how they measure themselves beyond the scope of their weight. Talking to Time, Jameela explained,“every time I speak out, my shame shrinks a little bit more.” Based on the online response from her 3 million plus social-media following, they feel the same.
I don't know about you, but we at Grazia feel that Time was right on the money with this year's list. Times are a'changing. at last.
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