A thousand and one Internet blowups punctuated 2014, a long and eventful year full of triumph and tragedy for women and and trans folks in American culture. Yet before we look forward to the next frontier, we ought to celebrate the year’s many, many heroines. Whether they sent us into a collective tizzy with their scandalous album covers or had us pumping our fists in favor of their truthful testimony, these 25 women (plus a few honorable mentions at the end) were the ones who got us talking, thinking, re-thinking, and maybe, just maybe, planning a revolution of our own.
All hail Queen Bey. Her self-titled album, which dropped around this time last year, was the soundtrack for our entire year, full of righteous woman power, sexy confessionals, and unprecedented emotional honesty accented by insane vocal dips and twists that had the whole world saying “surfbort.” Then she put the word “feminist” in lights behind her at the VMAs and made the Internet explode, again.