7 Women Who Should Have Been Woman of the Year Instead of Bono

I'm not here for yet another Man of the Year

by Stephanie Kaloi

banneroption1bottles of champagne at wedding

This week, Glamour magazine announced that Bono, famed front man of U2 and philanthropist a million times over, has been chosen as one of their Women of the Year. The Internet immediately balked, and the magazine covered their tracks by saying no, no, guys, he’s actually our  inaugural Man of the Year alongside this year’s Women of the Year.

Listen: I like U2. In fact, I was even just cruising their site the other day, hoping that a 2017 tour had been announced, and I fully intended to finally fulfill my wish of seeing the band live. That wish, though? It’s feeling a little dead to me now.

Bono is, full stop, a great believer in humanity, supporter of important causes, and ally to women. But… Bono isn’t a woman. And you’re telling me that Glamour couldn’t come up with one more woman instead of deciding that what 2016 really needs is to celebrate another man? Because the rest of the list is really good: IMF head Christine Lagarde, gymnast Simone Biles, and Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi (the women who founded #BlackLivesMatter). On this note, we came up with seven women who would have been excellent choices instead:

michelle obama in pink dress

1. michelle obama: After her incredible DNC speech and even more powerful speech against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the FLOTUS has been on fire lately. Her speaking skills combined with her White House initiatives (Let Girls Learn, Let’s Move!, and the White House Vegetable Garden) have made her quite possibly the most loved First Lady ever, and that’s saying something. Michelle Obama is a powerhouse, and should probably be on the top of every “Woman of the Year” list for the rest of her life.


2. Tsai Ing-wen: As the recently elected President of Taiwan, she’s also the first woman to be elected by the island, ever. She’s also the first unmarried President, and the first of Hakka and aboriginal descent. She’s also an advocate for women, children, the aborigines in Taiwan, people who are impoverished, and LGBT communities. Basically, she’s here to raise up people in Taiwan who need lifting, and advocating for everyone.

photo of journalist amy goodman

3. Amy Goodman: As longtime News Director of Democracy Now! American journalist Amy Goodman has always been a badass. This year she leveled up when she returned to North Dakota to deal with a warrant for her arrest—a warrant that was issued after she covered the ongoing Dakota Pipeline protests at Standing Rock. Amy was cleared of charges, and continues to battle on for the good of the entire world.

author jessica valenti

4. jessica valenti: As a longtime feminist writer and author (and friend of the site), Jessica Valenti has dealt with more than her fair share of threats from disgruntled (to say the least) men around the Internet, but earlier this year took a digital break after receiving sexual threats against her daughter. She has since returned to Twitter, and continues to work tirelessly for women and equality and to defeat sexism.

iranian actress taraneh alidootsi

5. Taraneh Alidootsi: Taraneh is a wildly popular actress in Iran (she’s sometimes called the Natalie Portman of Iran, though perhaps Natalie is the Taraneh Alidootsi of America). Early this year she shocked some by revealing a tattoo on her inner left arm—and not just any tattoo, but one of a symbol that is widely associated with radical feminism. When asked about that tattoo, she simply replied, “Yes, I am a feminist.” SLAY.

pitcher mo'ne davis

6. Mo’Ne Davis: In 2014, Mo’ne was one of two girls to play in the Little League World Series and the first girl to pitch and win a shutout in Little League World Series history. In 2016, she switched her focus to basketball, because why not? Mo’ne is sixteen and breaking barriers for women and girls in sports daily, and we don’t see her stopping any time soon.

johnetta elzie standing against a wall

7. Johnetta “Netta” Elzie: Johnetta became intensely involved in the Black Lives Matter movement on August 9, when Mike Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri. She began by co-editing the newsletter Words Into Action, and rapidly became one of the movement’s most dedicated activists. She has a loyal following on Twitter, and continues to raise awareness and fight for the organization and for Black women in general.

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her family. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and emoji (!!! ? ? ?).

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  • louise danger

    Did you see that Emily Doe from the Stanford swimmer case was on the list? The essay she wrote for the magazine is extraordinary. I’m kind of bummed she’s not included here in your round-up, but it gives me an excuse to link the essay here instead of in the Happy Hour this afternoon: http://www.glamour.com/story/women-of-the-year-emily-doe (tw – mentioning of her sexual assault and the trial)

    • lamarsh

      Woof, don’t mind me, just tearing up at my desk.

      • louise danger

        i was a wreck the other day as i read it, so #solidarityhighfive there

    • idkmybffjill

      My god she is such a fierce writer too. What an extraordinary human.

    • Jess

      Not that Emily Doe is not amazing, because obviously, but I think the point of *this* list was to include women that *weren’t* on the original Glamour list that could have taken Bono’s place.

      • stephanie

        Yep, that. She’s amazing, that letter is super powrful, 100% agree on her being a choice.

        • Jess

          Yeah, so. many. justified. tears.

    • stephanie

      I did see — this is meant to be a list of women who could have been on their list instead of Bono.

  • scw

    this is ron swanson winning the dorothy everton smythe female empowerment award all over again, except that was fiction.

    • ItsyBit

      Parks & Rec was frighteningly accurate (/prophetic?) sometimes.

      • Jessica

        Like how they predicted a cubs win?

      • MC

        It is truly wild how many plot points from Parks & Rec have played out this year.

    • Noelle

      That is all I could think about while reading.this.

      “I don’t want the damn thing.” “Well, you’re going to take it. Like a man.”

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    Buncha badasses, the lot of them.

  • Vanessa

    Just FYI in the RSS version Michelle Obama and Jessica Valenti are coming through uncapitalized.

  • Anon For This

    “Listen: I like U2. In fact, I was even just cruising their site the
    other day, hoping that a 2017 tour had been announced, and I fully
    intended to finally fulfill my wish of seeing the band live. That wish,
    though? It’s feeling a little dead to me now.”

    So, you’re gonna make Bono pay for something he had nothing to do with? Maybe Glamour wanted to start honoring men who care about women’s issues along with choosing a “Woman of The Year”.

    I see nothing wrong with it. It seems like a lot of energy expended on looking for the negative?

    • Kate

      The problem is not recognizing Bono, it’s recognizing him by awarding him Woman of the Year. It’s gimmicky and insulting to all the badasses Glamour could’ve awarded instead. Plus I’m sure Bono’s team had at least some heads up from Glamour. He should’ve had the good sense to say “Thanks but no thanks. Please don’t do this.”

      • Anon For This

        But he’s only alongside the Woman of The Year. He didn’t take anyone’s place.

        Perhaps Glamour takes the view that we’re all in this together. So why not have a Woman of The Year and a Man of The Year to show good role models for working together?

        If they had chosen a man and no woman, I’d see the problem. I really don’t see a problem with the women executives who run Glamour choosing to do this.

        • Sarah

          yeah, Glamour also recently stopped publishing their “Jake” column about a real guy and his life/relationships because they feel “women don’t need this now, we can just talk directly to men, girl power!” Glamour is perhaps trying too hard.

      • rg223

        I think the gimmicky aspect is hat bothers me the most. Plus, I’m not all up to date on Bono’s work, but it seems to me that he contributes to a LOT of causes, and doesn’t specifically focus on women’s rights/issues. If it were someone like Matt McGorry, I could see some small merit in it, maybe. But Bono just feels like a total gimmick.

    • A.

      Yeah, because both Bono and other progressive men have historically lacked opportunities for recognition. And there’s really no value to keeping women-centric celebratory spaces active in mainstream publications.


      • Anon For This

        I just don’t know about living life on the continual lookout for reasons to be offended. It’s exhausting.

        Also, I didn’t know that Glamour magazine was considered a bastion of feminism? But I assume it’s run by women and that no one put a gun to their head.

        • Ashlah

          “I just don’t know about living life on the continual lookout for reasons to be offended.”

          Oh, come on. You disagree that it’s offensive. Fine. It’s condescending as hell to suggest we’re purposefully looking for reasons to be offended, as opposed to, you know, just actually finding it insulting and calling it out.

          • stephanie

            I was coming here to say exactly this. I don’t live my life LOOKING for “reasons to be offended”, because I don’t have to. They’re all over the place.

        • Maddie Eisenhart

          You know, I once went to an awards show at a conference that was supposed to be by, for and supporting women. And 50% of the awards went to the 2% of the audience that was men. And it fucking sucked. In a visceral way I don’t know if I can explain. Like, here were all these amazing women deserving of recognition. But we fall over ourselves to recognize a dude who does even a fraction of what women do, because the expectations that they should care about our issues are not even there. And it stings.

    • stephanie

      To be real, he will not notice or miss my lack of dollars.

      • Anon Too

        Not really the point. It’s the logic. He didn’t personally do anything to merit your disapproval. If you were going to boycott someone, I’d think it would be Glamour magazine.

    • Make Bono pay? I seriously doubt he’s going to cry because someone decided they didn’t want to see a U2 show.

  • Jess

    But the Man Feelings would be hurt if Glamour acknowledged women without honoring a man… :(

    Seriously though, what a good list of great women!

  • Annie

    Let’s not forget Simone Biles too! Talk about this being *her* year (and badass Black Girl Magic along with her), whoooo.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Ohman, she is just the best.

  • Danielle

    Or hey, if you wanna mess with the gender binary, why not include an awesome transgender lady like Laverne Cox or Janet Mock, or any one of the other wonderful transgender women who are activists and organizers in their/our communities as well? ?

    • Jess

      I love this suggestion the most!