Badass women: 12 January 2017

This week's badass women include Meryl, Madonna, an astronomer and the best Instagram account we've seen this year

By Emma Chong Johnston | Published: 12 Jan 2017

Badass women 12Jan17
Photo: Golden Globes

Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep could make this list every single week just for being Meryl Streep, but this was an exceptionally big moment for the actress. Upon receiving the Cecil B DeMille Award at this year's Golden Globes, Meryl used the opportunity to call for a free press, and to criticise US President-elect Trump's infamous mocking of a disabled reporter

"But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose...

"We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call him on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in the Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth."

Nur Adlyka Ainul Annuar
PhD student (and Johor girl!) Nur Adlyka is part of a team of researchers that has discovered evidence of a previously undiscovered supermassive black hole near the Milky Way. "These black holes are relatively close to the Milky Way, but they have remained hidden from us until now," she said. "They’re like monsters hiding under your bed, their recent discoveries certainly call out the question of how many other supermassive black holes we are still missing, even in our nearby universe."

Nur Adlyka is currently completing her PhD in Astrophysics at the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy at the University of Durham, and has spoken of her plans to return to Malaysia upon completion of her degree. "I really want to go back home and give back to the country by offering my research experience," she told The Star

We shouldn't need to remind anyone that Madonna is a badass - but it turns out, it does bear repeating once in a while. In a recent interview, Madge held forth on many things: feminism, agesim, political activism, and the need to always, always speak up for yourself. 

"I've always felt oppressed. I know a lot of people would go, 'Oh, that's ridiculous for you to say that. You're a successful white, wealthy pop star,' but I've had the shit kicked out of me for my entire career, and a large part of that is because I'm female and also because I refuse to live a conventional life. I've created a very unconventional family. I have lovers who are three decades younger than me. This makes people very uncomfortable. I feel like everything I do makes people feel really uncomfortable.

"That is one of the arguments I would get into with my ex-husband, who used to say to me, 'But why do you have to do this again? Why do you have to make another record? Why do you have to go on tour? Why do you have to make a movie?' And I'm like, 'Why do I have to explain myself?' I feel like that's a very sexist thing to say. Does somebody ask Steven Spielberg why he's still making movies? Hasn't he had enough success? Hasn't he made enough money? Hasn't he made a name for himself? Did somebody go to Pablo Picasso and say, 'Okay, you're 80 years old. Haven't you painted enough paintings?' No. I'm so tired of that question. I just don't understand it. I'll stop doing everything that I do when I don't want to do it anymore. I'll stop when I run out of ideas. I'll stop when you fucking kill me. How about that?"

Kristi Loyall
This cancer survivor was forced to undergo the amputation of her right foot after a cancerous growth was discovered on her pinky toe. Traumatic - but not life-ending. Kristi turned the trauma into material, and now carries the (cleaned up) foot around with her wherever she goes, documenting the photo ops on Instagram account @onefootwander.

Why did she keep it? "I was thinking it’d be a cool conversation piece," Kristi told New York magazine. "Like if someone walked into my house and I was like 'Hey, btw, that’s my real foot.'"


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