If 2016 was a person, it wouldn't be described as a manly year, or even a girly one at that. It would be a fiery, spunky woman. A woman who broke barriers, changed lives and ran the news with her brilliant marketing stunts. Here are some women who changed the game in 2016:
Beyoncé- Beyoncé has debatably "run the world" since 2003, but her brilliant marketing strategy shined through in 2016. Super Bowl 50 staged the debut of her song "Formation," which paid homage to the Black Panthers, Malcolm X and the Black Lives Matter movement. At a time when police brutality fronted the headlines, Beyoncé used the largest stage in the world to challenge society.
Then, 'Lemonade' happened. Beyoncé's sixth studio album, dropped in late April, was released as a dramatic short film only available on Tidal. The last lyric of the song "Sorry" sings, "you better call Becky with the good hair." Boom. The public immediately conjured up a storyline connecting the lyric to designer Rachel Roy (supposed Becky) to insinuate Jay-Z has been cheating on Beyoncé. Sparked by public curiosity, Beyoncé's album purchases skyrocket. The best part? Jay-Z is involved in the ownership of Tidal. He most likely knew Beyoncé would drop that lyric. The hype blew over, and no one really knows if the lyric was staged or true, but over one million albums were sold, so Beyoncé wins either way. Brilliant.
Gretchen Carlson- Fox News anchor and host of The Real Story, Gretchen Carlson filed suit against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in July over allegations of sexual assault and retaliation. Carlson was demoted from Fox & Friends after reporting inappropriate comments from Steve Doocy to Ailes and suffered retaliation from Ailes after refusing a sexual relationship. Carlson’s announcement was very public. Copies of complaints were sent to reporters and a copy of the lawsuit was posted on her webpage. She started the hashtag #StandWithGretchen and began a dialogue on workplace harassment. By taking the courageous step to leave her high-paying job and involve the public in her decision, Carlson helped raise awareness against workplace harassment and encouraged the bravery of other women.
Hijab-Wearing and Muslim Women- In a world of rising Islamophobia, hijabs are becoming increasingly more normalized in the American public. Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first U.S. Olympian to both compete and medal while wearing a hijab. The fashion and magazine world embraced this welcomed level of 'firsts.' Women's Running and Playboy featured their first hijab-wearing woman. CoverGirl added hijab-wearing beauty blogger Nura Afia to their ads and Dolce & Gabana started a hijab and abaya line.
Dolly Parton- Dolly Parton is a Tennessee's sweetheart. In August, she released her album "Pure & Simple with Dolly's Biggest Hits." Her lyrics are wholesome and bright, just like her twitter. She's recently started using #dollyism to tweet positive life messages. In December, Dolly moved swiftly to provide for the families affected by the Gatlinburg wildfires. She hosted a Smoky Mountains Rise telethon featuring Kenny Rogers that raised over $9 million dollars for the My People Fund she started to help the fire victims. She also immediately pledged to personally donate $1,000 per month for six months to each family affected by the fires. In a world where celebrities are famous for spending money on lip injections and Lamborghinis, Dolly uses social media to spread love.
From Ellen receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Michelle Obama delivering her powerful speech on sexual assault, women took major steps in 2016. So, what's next? More marketing. More women appearing as 'firsts,' more women dominating social media and more women using creative tactics to drive publicity.