No matter who you voted for or what music you listen to, it’s a pretty commonly-held belief that 2016 was a rough year. Far too many cherished celebs passed away, the election was brutal and we’ve had to contend with many gloomy current events nationally and globally. It's been a particularly challenging year to be a woman. Thankfully, there were highlights for us too, and we have many female role models and revolutionaries to thank.
Whether they were waging battles to promote body positivity or crafting progressive political policy, here are 11 women who fought the good fight and made us proud in 2016.
1. Leslie Jones
2. Chrissy Teigen
The supermodel-turned-cookbook writer and Lip Sync Battle star has always been a Twitter goddess, writing quippy, witty missives in just 140 characters. Trolls should not mess with this woman, and this year, she was on fire, tweeting about the presidential election and standing up for herself as she navigated her first pregnancy and raising Luna, her first child with husband John Legend. Just call her Queen Clap Back.
3. Tammy Duckworth
Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who had previously represented the state in the House of Representatives, won her Senate seat on November 8, making her the second Asian-American senator, the first female senator to have seen combat and the first Thai-American woman in Congress. Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran who lost both of her legs in 2004 from she sustained while landing a helicopter struck by a grenade, according to The Huffington Post.
4. Tess Holliday
The plus-size model—the first to be signed to a mainstream modeling agency—didn't start making headlines in 2016. But she certainly dominated plenty of them this year, giving birth to her second child, posting stunning full body shots to Instagram, and continuing to watch her star rise as she spoke openly about body image in an attempt to #effyourbeautystandards. Love!
5. Kamala Harris
California Democrat Kamala Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian descent, became the second African-American woman ever elected to the Senate and the first Indian-American senator. Senator-Elect Harris will join Senator-Elect Duckworth Harris, and also Senator-Elect Catherine Cortez Masto, who is the first Latina senator, representing Nevada, to increase the number of women of color in the Senate from one to four. Progress.
6. Ilhan Omar
Minnesota elected Ilhan Omar to the state legislature, making the first Somali-American Muslim female legislator. Omar is also a former refugee. She spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya before moving to the U.S. at just 12 years old.
7. Simone Biles
Simone Biles — whom we couldn't take our eyes off of during the Rio Summer Games this year — has four Olympic gold medals, 10 gold medals from gymnastics world championships and was just named the Associated Press female athlete of the year. I mean, come on now! She's incredible!
8. Ashley Graham
Graham not only became the first plus-size model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated238I felt free once I realized I was never going to fit in the mold that society wanted me to fit in. I239t read