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The 10 biggest moments for women in genre in 2017

Contributed by
Dec 26, 2017

2017 fittingly started with the Women's March. That united embrace of the power of women, and a crucial call to ensure that includes all women and nonbinary people would echo throughout the year that followed. In a year men so many men were outed as destructive monsters, the strength of women shone through. And in the genre world, that shine downright sparkled.

It was a tremendous year for women in genre. Here are some of the moments that mattered most.

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When women dominated the Hugo Awards (again)

For the past couple of years, a group of desperate little men who call themselves Sad Puppies have tried to game the system at the Hugo Awards, the most prestigious prize in science fiction, to oppose what they saw as the take-over of SJWs gone wild (really, it was just reality reminding them that hey, women like sci-fi and they're damn good at writing it!). This year, Hugo voters once again uniformly rejected this bigoted mindset and showed the world how revolutionary and diverse and female sci-fi could be. N.K. Jemisin won Best Novel for the second year in a row (one of four women nominated in a category of six; her winning novel from last year, The Fifth Season, is being adapted as a series for TNT), Seanan McGuire took home Best Novella, Marjorie Liu's Monstress was the Graphic Novel victor, and women dominated across editing, fan-works and other categories. Every woman is sadly used to the gatekeeping of sci-fi - constant sneers and insults and claims we're not real fans of the genre - so seeing the Hugos be so thoroughly, modernly female was a helpful and refreshing reminder that this has always been our place. Suck it, Puppies! - Kayleigh Donaldson

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When America met America Chavez

Beginning March of 2017, the first ever queer Latina superhero created by a major publisher was given an ongoing comic series for the first time. Penned by critically-acclaimed YA novelist Gabby Rivera, the America ongoing series was the answer to many fans' prayers for more America Chavez, who was only appearing sporadically in team books after her beloved stint in the second Young Avengers series. Marvel approached Rivera for the job at a time when she was best known for writing the YA novel “Juliet Takes a Breath.” Taking on a creator with no comics background made for one of the most unique and refreshing comics to be released by a major publisher in 2017, or, well, ever. Not only is America Chavez one of Marvel's most powerful, she's also one of the most interesting and best-beloved of recently introduced characters. She has two moms, she's from an alternate reality, and she casually punches holes in the universe in order to travel between dimensions. She needed a series, but the story and the art is ultimately what made it stand apart from the rest of Marvel's roster. It may be depressing that it took until 2017 for it to happen, but introducing a queer Latina written by a queer Latina was a groundbreaking move, and Gabby Rivera's ability to rise to the challenge made for one of the best comics of the year. - Sara Century

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When we saw Carrie Fisher's final on-screen performance in The Last Jedi

We looked toward it all year with mixed emotions, knowing that it would be the last time we see her inhabit the role of Leia Organa on-screen, and we were filled with equal parts fondness and dread. The film thankfully gave us a fitting farewell to our Princess and General, and it acknowledged that her ability to use the Force was in the same league, if not on the same damn level, as her twin brother, Luke Skywalker. We lost her all too soon, but every time I start to get sad about missing her I remember how her on-screen twin, Mark Hamill, told us to picture her: looking down from heaven while lovingly extending the middle finger. - Carly Lane

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When the women of DCTV stood united against Andrew Kreisberg

Real-life bad guys aren't as fun as the ones we love to hate in movies, TV, books and comics. Real-life bad guys are predators, monsters, with real-life victims. This year--really this last couple months—saw a ceaseless, unending wave of actual villains, crashing our shores without stop, overwhelming us with sadness, anger, disgust and sheer exhaustion. So when the women of DCTV rallied together, shared each other's stories and supported each other and all the survivors of these real-life bad guys, they became heroes. Kara Danvers would be proud.

When the Wrinkle in Time trailer gave us chills

A Wrinkle in Time is so many things that mean so very much. It's a movie directed by a woman (Ava DuVernay), written by a woman (Jennifer Lee), based on a book by a woman (Madeleine L'Engle). It's the first movie with a budget over $100 million to be directed by a woman of color. The majority of the principal cast are people of color, including most of the children, many of whom were originally envisioned to be played by white people. And it's a film celebrating the power of girls and women, led by 14-year-old Storm Reid and some very, very powerful women. DuVernay told Time, “I wasn’t just casting for actresses. I was casting for leaders—icons. Reese [Witherspoon] is the hottest producer in town. Oprah’s the most prolific, venerable legend of television and an artist and entrepreneur. And Mindy [Kaling]’s one of the few women running a show with her name, about her... When I think about the three of them together as a unit of celestial beings, it feels right.” We agree.

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When we went to Themyscira

The first twenty minutes of Wonder Woman were an emotional experience for nearly every woman I've spoken to who saw the film, showing us a world where "woman" wasn't a singular type; it was a feature unifying different kinds of women. That, combined with getting to see lil' Diana grow up to be a badass, the Amazonian royal family, and getting to see powerful older women on screen made it one of my biggest moments this year. - Clare McBride

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When the MCU gave us Hela

In 2017, we finally got a woman as the Big Bad in a Marvel movie. It only took nine years and seventeen films for us to get Hela, the badass oldest child of Odin and goddess of death. Sure, she's a bit teenage-angsty with her constant hair changes and super-destructive temper tantrums, but who wouldn't be after being locked away for thousands of years? She beats Loki easily and shatters Thor's hammer within moments of being released from her cell. Hela also murders most of the usual suspects from Asgard with an amazing array of powers and can only be stopped by Ragnarok, which results in the complete destruction of Asgard. It's about damn time we had a powerful female villain in the MCU, and Hela doesn't disappoint. - S.E. Fleenor

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When X-23 rose

In a year full of outstanding superhero movies, Fox pulled no punches--not even adamantium-clawed ones--when making their R-rated Logan. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart offered electrifying performances in this violent and bold final chapter of Wolverine's tale. But it was newcomer Dafne Keen who blew us away as Laura, a mutant/child soldier who threw off her shackles and fought with all her might for freedom. Though most of the film has this glowering little girl communicating through grunts and violent outbursts, Keen brought not only a riveting intensity but also a sparking humanity to her role. And opposite one of Hollywoood's biggest stars to boot! On top of all that, she punched and slashed a path to an exciting, and female-fronted possibility for this franchise to continue. You know an X-23 spinoff movie is on our wish list. - Kristy Puchko

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When women dominated Doctor Who

It was a huge year for the women of Doctor Who. Did y’all hear that Jodie Whittaker, a woman (!?) was cast to play the next Doctor? It was a little blurb in the press, you may have missed it. But, did you know that there was also a ton of other great stuff happening for women on the show this year? Sarah Dollard and Rona Munro both wrote episodes for series 10, Rachel Talalay returned to the director’s seat for the season finale two-parter as well as the Christmas special, "Twice Upon a Time." Plus, Pearl Mackie was absolutely delightful in her short run as Bill, the Doctor’s companion, a queer woman of color. We're also looking forward to next season with Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole joining the cast, the series is slowly improving its track record for representation of race in addition to gender. It’s a great time to be a Whovian Fangrrl. - Riley Silverman

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When we met the 13th Doctor

Last night, we said goodbye to Peter Capaldi's Doctor in an episode filled with heart, nostalgia and a general distrust of pears. And with a wish that the Doctor who follows "laugh hard, run fast, be kind," we got our first moments with lucky 13—Jodie Whittaker, our first female Doctor. In the moment the Doctor realizes the she part of who she is, we all shared the dawning joy in her smile and a declaration of "brilliant." Goodbye, Peter. Welcome, Jodie. We love you already.