Why 2018 Rocked!

By Tegan Francis

Sure, 2018 might not have been the best year this planet has ever seen… Trump is STILL president, brave women such as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford are STILL dismissed when coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment… We STILL haven’t agreed on a Brexit deal, and, well, Theresa May danced on national television, a troubling sight for many eyes (although at least she gave it a go!).

It this might seem like the past 12 months were filled with doom and gloom, but sometimes I think humans find too many reasons to complain. It’s easy to get angry and frustrated about what’s going wrong in the world without taking a second to really appreciate just how much of a blessing modern day life is. Our time here on earth is limited and finding things that make us smile seems like a a much better use of our time than complaining about things which we may or may not be able to change.

Ireland Abortion Ban

An impressive outcome came this May from Ireland’s vote on the 8th amendment, which effectively banned abortion in Ireland up until now. The country voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban with a result of 66% vs. 34%. In short, this now means that legal status of lives of a foetus and the woman carrying it are now equal. This is an incredible outcome for the modern day generation of Ireland, and demonstrates definite signs of progress in the country. I feel strongly that the life of Dr. Savita Halappanavar should also be mentioned when discussing this topic and the social progress in the country. Her death ignited a spark in Ireland, and powered the determination of activists within the country to change the law. Savita’s story really stuck with me this year and I would encourage anyone with an interest in this topic to acknowledge her bravery, courage and impact she has had on the Irish legal system.

Women on the Road In Saudi Arabia

It may seem like a small step but in actual fact it’s a giant leap for women and the gender disparity experienced in the UAE. As a Saudi women states in an interview with the BBC “Driving to me represents having a choice – the choice of independent movement. Now we have that option.” This reform is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s programme to modernise some aspects of Saudi society. Despite the development in this particular aspect of female life in Saudi Arabia, women have to adhere to strict dress codes, must not associate with unrelated men, and if they want to travel, work or access healthcare they must be accompanied by – or receive written permission from a male guardian. There’s still a long way to go, but for now let’s celebrate this small win of 2018!

A New Age Princess

Although this is a controversial topic for most people from the UK, the fact that Meghan Markel has now become the first woman of colour to join the British royal family is pretty freaking cool. A strong women in her own right, the grace and composure she showed on her wedding day as the world watched her marry Prince Harry was nothing short of a scene of pure inspiration. She carried herself incredibly well despite the media coverage of her family members and the drama her father caused in the lead up to the big day. It’s no wonder that she’s been the most googled person on the internet this year!

We Caught the Golden State Killer!

YES! We’ve got him! After managing to hide from police enforcement in the US for over 40 years, the man who is otherwise referred to as one of the most sadistic serial killers and rapists in American history is now behind bars. I personally don’t believe a human who committed such heinous crimes should be named in these circumstances as their life fundamentally doesn’t matter so we’ll just remain happy that justice has been served. The discovery and evidence used to finally arrest him came after the DNA left on his victims was checked against and online ancestor database. His arrest has helped dozens of people affected by his terror, breath a sigh of relief. Although this does not bring back their loved ones, they are at least able to rest now knowing that the attacker is now behind bars.

Life-changing Films

There were a considerable number of films released in 2018,  which had me leaving the theatre numb (in a good way) as well awestruck. Although these may not seem to carry the same weight as changes to the law or impressive scientific breakthroughs, I maintain that they are still important from a cultural and personal perspective.

The joy my friends and I experienced throughout the whole of the Mamma Mia sequel was something, which I’d never experienced before (so the movie may not win an Oscar any time soon, but it’s get my award for feel-good film of the year). We left the theatre with a new lease of life, determined to get our lives together, purchase a pair of colourful trousers and head off to Greece next summer in the hope we will be followed by three delicious men all vying for our attention. I’ll report back on whether this becomes a reality.

Bohemian Rhapsody was also an incredible performance, by all cast members involved. Shining a light on the person behind the rock star gave Freddie Mercury a human element which I’d never considered before. I also felt strangely proud to be British whilst watching the film.

Finally, I have to say, A Star is Born was worth the hype. I was completely convinced by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. The story takes twists and turns in places where I wasn’t expecting them, and the soundtrack is utterly beautiful.

Honorable mentions for why 2018 was “not so bad”:

  • The fact that David Attenborough didn’t die.
  • Scientist in China have successfully cloned a Monkey (you decide whether this is good or bad news)
  • There’s been a breakthrough in cancer research.
  • World hunger is at an all time low
  • We’re living longer! YAY!

So it’s not all so bad! I hope you’re feeling more optimistic and energized for the year ahead now you see that 2018 has been pretty kind to us. Here’s to another 12 months of excitement, progress, and changing for the better. Have a great one.

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