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The 25 best stories for women this year

Published: December 21, 2012 - 11:45AM

For a website that has been around for less than a year, one would imagine it's easy for its editors to choose the top stories. For one thing, time is on our side. With the headlines and bylines of the pieces still fresh on our minds, how hard can it be to fossick through the tips of our collective memory? 

But this task, as it turns out, has been more challenging than it seems. Thanks to the talented pool of female contributors, there has been no shortage of stories that made us laugh, cheer and quietly nod in awe. 

Some stories, like Clem Ford's opinion piece on Jill Meagher and victim blaming, became national talking points. Others, including Raidah Shah Idil's essay on what it's like to wear a hijab, stayed with us because of their frankness and steadfast bravery.

Perhaps most importantly, each of these fresh female voices reminds us of the joy of sharing good writing. They inspired, challenged, and artfully reflected on the female condition in a way that only women could. 

If you missed these the first time around, here is a list of the Daily Life top 25 for your perusal. And if you know these stories well, we hope we've included some of your favourites, too. 

Can we please stop the victim blaming? By Clementine Ford
Following Jill Meagher’s disappearance, Clem Ford challenged the false veneer of concern that speculators often hide behind in order to chastise young women for not understanding that the rules are different for them. When will we stop the victim blaming?

Why we should be angry about periods , By Clem Bastow
The continued taboo about menstruation is one of the most depressing aspects of our allegedly enlightened society. Clem Bastow pinpoints a few (very valid) reasons to be mad about periods.

Why women should be more difficult, By Sarah MacDonald
In a feminist forum, Germaine Greer bemoans the fact that women are socially conditioned to appease and please. Here’s why we should all cause a stir and consider not being so goddamn ‘nice’.

How to spot a misogynist, By Clementine Ford
How often do men try and hide their sexist views under the guise of ‘legitimate arguments’? Clem Ford decodes the top five lies misogynists tell – so you can spot them too.

A room of one's own, By Jacqueline Maley
Living alone is important because every woman must know how to build a life from the ground up.” In a Nora Ephron style essay, Jacqueline Maley opens up about how a tiny flat saw her through happiness and heartache.

Why you shouldn't 'dress for your shape', By Nicole Elphick
Ever tried on something you love but returned it to the rack because it reveals a flaw you “should be ashamed of”? Well, Nicole Elphick thinks it’s time to forget about all the articles that teach you how to “flatter your figure”.

How to call out sexism, By Clem Bastow
Why do women who try to speak out against sexism suddenly become the bad guy? Here’s how to effectively call out misogyny at work (and have some fun along the way). 

Why women still can't enjoy sex, By Clementine Ford
Ladies who like sex pose a threat to masculinity because, “given their addiction to birth control, they might now sleep with someone who’s not you.” Clem Ford debunks the myths that disengaged us from our sexuality.

Our obsession with ‘plus size’ role models, By Clementine Ford
Are images of ‘plus size’ beauties and ‘real women’ really as empowering as magazines claim? Or is there a fatal flaw in the argument that we need body image role models of any kind?

Vagina bombing, By Rachel Hills
Forget the Playboy “pussy”, the Grey’s Anatomy “vajajay”, or the Tony Abbott-style “precious flower.” These days, it’s all about the vagina-bomb: the casual, tongue-in-cheek referencing of the technical term for female genitalia at any time, place, or opportunity.

Normalising breast surgery, By Jacqueline Maley
Jacqueline Maley knows it’s unfashionable to judge women who get plastic surgery, but it doesn’t stop her from getting annoyed that the slicing and lasering and Botoxing has crept stealthily into her favourite magazine.

The Truth About Stars 'Without Makeup', By Natalie Reilly
These days you can have all kinds of things done to iron out your ‘flaws’ even before you slap makeup on them. So If a female celebrity poses ‘without makeup’, can we still call it 'brave'?

Complaining about motherhood, By Andie Fox
Why is complaining about your children such a taboo?  Andie Fox knows it’s a normal part of parenting until she realised it calls into question your very femininity.

I don’t feel bad about my body, By Jean Hannah Edelstein
"Not feeling bad about my body is something I’ve never articulated because feels like such a defiance of convention." Edelstein explains why she’s determined not to feel bad about any bit in spite of the things that people have pointed out are “wrong” – just because they can.

The video every woman needs to watch, By Kasey Edwards
In experiments where Capuchins sitting in neighbouring cages were unequally rewarded, the Capuchin who had been underpaid with cucumber rejected the inferior reward, throwing it at the experimenter. If monkeys won’t accept unequal pay, why should we? 

Hipster sexism, By Candice Chung
We may be getting better at spotting garden variety misogynists, but what happens when the perpetrator is embraced by popular culture? Could it be that we’ve been putting up with ‘ironic’ sexist behaviour to prove that we are above it all?

What it's really like to wear a hijab , By Raidah Shah Idil 
“I wear a hijab so when I’m in the public eye, I am unmistakably Muslim. If you look at me, you’ll see that I’m Asian. If you talk to me, you’ll see how much I love fantasy novels.” Shah Idil reminds us that the rest of the world, there are layers to her you can’t immediately see.

How to respect women, By Clementine Ford
Some men feel that the only way to respond to a woman’s criticism is to denigrate the naysayer’s sexual attractiveness – so Clem Ford feels it’s time to provide some helpful tips on how to respect women.

'But you're too pretty to be Aboriginal...', By Celeste Liddle
As women, our looks are ripe for commentary from strangers from the day we're born. One indigenous writer recounts the bizarre moment when she was told, “You're the best-looking Aboriginal woman I've ever met.”

Why the war on Photoshopping is a distraction, By Clementine Ford
When a young woman in Melbourne launched an online petition against CLEO magazine’s Photoshopping practice, a lot of people signed up. But surely we should be trying to establish a culture in which being beautiful isn’t the primary currency of value?

Mummy groups’ are ruining grown-up spaces, Alecia Simmonds
Mums are pretty destructive, it seems. In Australian newspapers, mothers with children have been blamed for sabotaging peoples’ early morning jogs, long-haul flights  and clogging cafe corridors with Peugeot-sized prams. Are these fair claims or simply absurd?

The names we call smart women, By Clem Bastow
Remember the time when Leigh Sales took Tony Abbott to task on The 7:30 report? For her Walkley Award-winning interview, Sales was called “shrill” and “aggressive”.  When will men stop feeling the need to put down smart, powerful women?

What should we call our vaginas? By Clementine Ford 
When a new Carefree panty liners ad attracted complaint for mentioning the word “vagina”, Clem Ford thought she’d help the conservative folks out by providing some alternatives to the ‘V’ word –AKA, “She Who Must Not Be Named”.  

Five reasons why women say they aren't feminists, By Clem Bastow 
It’s okay not to be a feminist – thought it’s not a stance Clem Bastow could imagine taking. But what’s up with the famous ladies who like to rattle off a list of personal beliefs that are expressly feminist but won’t associate with the F word?

Behold: powerful, public parenting in action, by Kasey Edwards 
When Jada Pinkett-Smith posted a letter on Facebook explaining why she and Will had no problem with Willow cutting her hair, thousands of feminist mums applauded. Kasey Edwards explains why it’s such a powerful parenting message for women and girls.

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