Approaching the end of another year is always a time for reflection; what the last 12 months has taught us, what our successes and achievements have been. And, inevitably, where we’ve missed the mark and how we might strive to do better in 2014.

Last week, the Representation Project did just that by taking a look back, somewhat depressingly, at How The Media Failed Women in 2013.

The examples (all American) will make your heart sink a little, and then make you mad. And Jane Martinson later highlighted some British ones that will make you fume a little more.

But it wasn’t all bad in 2013, and there were a number of heroes/heroines to take comfort from over the last 12 months.  Like the University of Auckland ladies behind “Defined Lines”. If I were choosing this year’s feminist villains, I’m pretty sure Robin Thicke would be top of my list for the his vile-yet-annoyingly-catchy “Blurred Lines” hit. But this fightback from Kiwi law students Olivia Lubbock, Zoe Ellwood and Adelaide Dunn skewered Thicke’s message with intelligence, wit and humour. (YouTube’s absurd decision to remove the parody briefly because it was deemed “inappropriate” only served to highlight their point about double standards further). For a slightly different Thicke take-down, also check out this from Mod Carousel.

Then there was Caroline Criado-Perez – the campaigner behind the fight to keep women on our bank notes. She was subject to a huge and horrible backlash on Twitter (which I wrote about here) but she won her battle, forcing the Bank of England to backtrack.

And from the world of entertainment, Jennifer Lawrence has continued to be a breath of fresh air. Favourite quotes have included: “I don’t really diet or anything. I’m miserable when I’m dieting and I like the way I look. I’m really sick of all these actresses looking like birds… I’d rather look a little chubby on camera and look like a person in real life, than look great on screen and look like a scarecrow in real life.”

And: “Don’t worry about the bitches – that could be a good motto, because you come across people like that throughout your life.”  

Oh, and: “I’m never going to starve myself for a part. I’m invincible. I don’t want little girls to be like, “Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner! I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong – not thin and underfed.”

Enough said.

There was Wendy Davis’ amazing 12-hour filibuster against an anti-abortion law in Texas; Malala Yousafzai’s speech to the UN;  Fiona Woolf become the second female Lord Mayor of London in 800 years; and many others.

So as well as reasons to keep fighting, there are reasons to celebrate. And plenty to take inspiration from. Let’s lead by their example in 2014.

Who were your heroes this year, feminist or otherwise? Let me know in the comments.

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