The End Of 2016 Means Nothing: Real Change In 2017 Will Happen Only If We Make It

We have to be pro-active about social change

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As we stepped over the threshold into 2016, we hit a tripwire that plunged us into some sort of alternate universe.

Or at least, that's been the rhetoric.

The dystopian world we entered is one in which all our idols die or (or secede), in which we have had to watch as the geiger counter for mindless atrocity moved well beyond the point we could tolerate and in which we've lost faith in the idea that there are any world leaders left who might help us navigate our way through the grief and rubble.

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- Tripoli

- Nice

- Berlin

- Ankara

- Aleppo

- Bowie

- Prince

- Trump

The list is much, much longer than that...

Understandably, and in many ways quite cheeringly, people have turned 2016 into the biggest running joke since the Bake Off's baked Alaska 'bin-gate.'

We even wrote a post chronicling the best of the 'end 2016' memes.

2016 IS HARAMBES REVENGE (@leogoldman33 Twitter)

A photo posted by Ben Soffer (@boywithnojob) on

The issue, of course, with calling for the end of 2016 though, is that our problems won't actually die with the close of the year.

In 2017, hope as we might, our troubles won't all seem so far away, they'll be here to stay and the only way to alleviate them, won't be to meme them on Instagram, or to take part in the armchair politics we've seen all over Facebook.

It will be to get up, get loud and take matters into our own hands.

If 2017 is going to be any better, it will be be because we make it the year that we got seriously proactive about social change.

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Putting our money where our mouths are, the ELLE team are all prepped to roll up their sleeves in 2017. So if you need a little inspiration, here's what some of us are planning to do:


Natasha Bird - Digital Editor

This year has made me really, very angry. I've spent most of it ranting on ELLEUK.com myself and commissioning other people to write articles about women's political and reproductive rights, which I hope has at least given people hope that their feelings are shared.It hasn't been enough though.

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Next year, I plan to make a concentrated effort to engage with the opposition. Too often, thanks to Facebook's algorithm, the newspapers I buy and the group of people I surround myself with, I exist in a place where my own views are reflected back at me.

If Brexit and Trump's victories have taught me anything, it's that I've been too ignorant of the other sides of the debates. In 2017, as much as it pains me, I will listen more to the voices I disagree with and I will go and buy the papers that don't fit well with my political inclinations.

If I am to lead our publication to fight for what we believe in, we need to be entering the ring as well armed and well informed as we possibly can be.

I will be joining Alex Holder, Lena De Casparis and many of the other ELLE women on the Women's March in London on the 21st. And I think this will be the first of many times I will be physically out on the streets making some noise about important issues.

I have already worked with Women's Aid, when they were shaping and branding their campaign 'Invisible Prison', against 'Coercive Control' in relationships. I let myself down by not continuing with my contribution though, so I will get back in touch and give them more of my time.

But I also want to make sure to use my voice as a journalist and as a person of certain privileges to fight harder for the people who find it more difficult to be heard, instead of just taking a stand on the issues that directly affect me. I have plans to challenge the lack of diversity that still prevails in mainstream media, but I need to keep that under my hat for now. Watch this space...



Kenya Hunt - Fashion Features Director

In addition to signing every relevant petition I come across and emailing every government official I can, I've stepped up my activism on a more grassroots level.

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I am doing this by organising a mentorship program for students of colour in the UK who are looking to work in the fields of journalism, fashion, book publishing and tech.

And while I've had this program in the works for quite a while, it was the American election results that caused me to step on the gas with my planning of this.



Alex Holder - Acting Content Director

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The Standing Rock triumph showed us that protesting really can work - it inspired me to get out there and make my voice heard.

I will be attending a lot more demonstrations in the New Year, starting with The Women's March on the 21st January.


Michelle Duguid - Senior Fashion Editor

This is a tough one because it's hard to feel like one person can change the world. However, I think there are grassroot things that could definitely help.

The main thing is that I am bringing up a small boy and I really want him to thoroughly believe that girls and boys can do the same thing and are worth the same value.

This is tough as I have to be careful not to resort to stereotypes in our household alone. Also I love the fact that he has a massive group of friends complete with different religions and diversity. The kids around him don't see colour or religion as a problem - they just react to whether the child is fun and nice and that should only be encouraged next year when the government and far right groups are trying to set us against each other.

I am also really positive that we should start being nice on a very basic level to each other, especially women. There are enough obstacles in our way - we need to stand together to take on the world as a team.


Imogen Van Zaane - Workflow Director

1. Educate myself. Know where I stand, fight for what I believe in and understand the opposition. I was really inspired by the crowd-sourced guide Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda that started doing the rounds last week. It's an interesting read I can really recommend it.

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2. Dutch elections are in March 2017. I am making sure I am voting to try to avoid a Nexit and am thinking of campaigning for a Dutch expat's right to have dual-nationality. A law was proposed last week because a considerable amount of expats have had their Dutch nationality revoked without notice in recent years. A scary fact that's even scarier when you think of the recent EU problems.

The Netherlands is one of the few countries that does not allow voluntary dual-citizenship. A petition has now been signed by 25,000 people (still going), plus it's hopefully an important agenda point for the elections. In light of Brexit this will directly impact my life as an EU citizen in London.

3. I am spending my Christmas break educating myself on how to encrypt my data to the best of my ability. Did you know 'a bill giving the UK intelligence agencies and police the most sweeping surveillance powers in the western world' was signed last month? It is now time to educate yourself and know what data you are sharing.

4. I have asked my family to donate to one of these charities instead of giving me Christmas presents. Disclaimer: I was told I wasn't a lot of fun so will also be getting a blender .

5. I will be doing a January spring cleaning to donate old clothing to charity. It's a been too long since I've last done this.


Lila Roberts - Fashion Cupboard Manager

2016 was a sh*tter but 2017 can be better if people stop complaining and GET INVOLVED.

I'm going to carry on writing my blog and open up an agony aunt section. When I write, I get emails from people saying how it made them feel, and I want to open a forum so people can talk anonymously to people in the same situation as them.


Heather Gwyther - Fashion Intern

I am going to get more involved with Sisters Uncut - an organisation that takes direct action against domestic violence - the political has never felt so personal.


For MORE Inspiration about getting active in 2017 read:

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