It’s hard to believe 2017 is coming to a close, and what a remarkable year it’s been — full of controversy, strength, sadness, inspiration, and change.
At Healthline, our core mission is improving lives, and we wanted to end the year with a look back at the many memorable moments that changed the world of health over the past 12 months.
Our editors reviewed hundreds of contenders and handpicked 100 standouts. We chose these winners because they truly elevated our thinking and our lives.
Here, in no particular order or importance (because they’re all award winners in our book!), are the voices, visionaries, movies, movements, people, pets, and products that helped redefine wellness in 2017.
Congratulations, and thank you to all!
If you are on this list or have questions about this list, please email [email protected].
We’re more connected now than ever before thanks to social media. Throughout 2017, people shared images, stories, emotions, and experiences in ways we never thought possible. And in an often overcrowded sea of Instagrams, tweets, and Facebook posts, these powerful voices stood out this year. Many of us found ourselves “liking,” “loving,” and sharing because of how strongly they moved us.
1. A letter from the fat person on your flight
When we think of air travel, we think of routines — security, boarding, takeoff, baggage check. But traveling as a larger person can come with different routines: shame, mistreatment, fear. As this powerful reveals, the words we use and the actions we take (or don’t take) in public can have lasting effects on the people we direct them at. The writer — identified only as Your Fat Friend — shared the depths of her discomfort at the hateful actions of a former seatmate: “He had asked to be reseated. The nearness of my body was too much for him to bear.” Just as bad were the passengers and flight attendants who did nothing to help or stop his cruelty. This isn’t an easy read, but it’s a necessary one.
2. The childhood crush that stopped a suicide
If you didn’t believe in fate before, you might change your mind after : Boy meets girl, boy and girl lose touch, boy grapples with depression for years. Then, at his lowest moment, he resolves to take his own life. Just seconds before he takes his own life, the phone rings. “It was a number I didn't recognize, so I picked up and it was her.” Quora user Kevin Walsh regaled readers with the story of how his 13-year-old summer crush stopped him from killing himself years later. Not only that, but she became his wife. This story proves love has powers beyond our understanding.
3. Positively Kate’s joyful jiggle dance
Mental health advocate Kate has endured eating disorders, psych ward stays, and misdiagnoses, but she keeps on keeping on… and growing a devoted following. , Kate showed us all how to embrace our imperfections and love our bodies. Her inspiring “jiggle dance” is proof that healthy bodies do squish and shake. “If jiggling in a thin privileged, able bodied privileged, tan body like mine is hard,” she writes, “this society needs to be way more accepting.” We couldn’t agree more!
4. Matching 'g-tubes' for father and son
Chace Elijah’s dad is willing to go the distance to support his son, who lives with a congenital heart defect called tetralogy of Fallot. The condition causes him to be underweight and require a feeding tube — but he doesn’t have to go through it all alone. Gluing a feeding tube on to his own stomach, his dad posed in an with Chace, writing: “I'll always support my son and he'll never be in a fight alone.” Along with his Instagram account, Chase’s father launched a to raise awareness about congenital heart disease.
5. A mother’s ode to her nurses
Jill Krause’s to the nurses who helped her after each of her babies’ deliveries is an emotional reminder of how valuable caretakers are. Getting through labor, delivery, and the aftermath would be much harder – maybe even impossible – without them. “That moment when I was so vulnerable, so tired, scared, shaky. My swollen belly deflating, and my modesty long gone. They treated me with such kindness and dignity,” she wrote in her moving post. It inspired other moms to share their appreciation for their own nurses and doulas.
6. The trans teen who smacked down a Twitter troll
Sonnis Love, a 17-year-old model and YouTuber based in LA, loves to share makeup tips and ponytail tutorials… along with candid details about her trans journey, seeking to educate and inspire others. And when a Twitter user posted her picture with a caption asking guys if they would still have sex with her after finding out she’s transgender, Love did both, with a response that earned over 46,000 retweets. “The tweet was basically fishing for transphobic comments just for pure entertainment,” Love . “So I decided to stand up for myself.” What’s not to love about that?
7. Aubrey Hirsch’s take on medicine’s ‘women problem’
Aubrey Hirsch’s brilliantly captured the all-too-real struggles many women face in trying to get an accurate diagnosis or be taken seriously when it comes to chronic illness. Depicting her own moments of fatigue, vulnerability, and hopelessness, she describes how it “felt like these doctors were diagnosing me based on my age and gender, and not my actual symptoms.” In so doing, the artist empowered those who feel they’ve fallen through the cracks of the medical system.
8. The CEO who praised mental healthcare
When Michigan-based web developer set an out-of-office reminder notifying her company of a last-minute leave to take care of her mental health, was brilliant. CEO Ben Congleton applauded Parker for taking time away and being public about it, calling it “a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health.” It’s encouraging to know there are bosses who understand mental health is just as important as physical health.
9. Tokimonsta’s fierce triumph over brain disease
Musician Jennifer Lee — known as TOKiMONSTA for her psychedelic hip-hop beats — proved she’s not only a monsta in the studio — she also slays in real life. Earlier this year, Lee of her diagnosis with a rare brain disease called moyamoya, and the two brain surgeries that left her unable to understand music. Thankfully, with patience and hard work, she was able to find her way back to creating music. She shared her story in an effort to “help a few people see that we are capable of making it through the darkest of times.”
10. Blythe Baird on the fine line between recovery and relapse
For many people with eating disorders, it can be difficult to “unhear” the voices that count calories or tell you you’re not good enough. In her , “Relapse,” Blythe Baird poignantly expresses the fine line between recovery and relapse, admitting: “Bathroom scales make me feel nostalgic. Like a scrap book, I flip through snapshots of my sickness.” She shares intimate details about her relationship with food, and what it felt like to be fully immersed in her eating disorder. By doing so, she offers a new perspective to those who can’t quite grasp what an eating disorder is like — and solidarity to those who do.
From unicorn toast to galaxy bowls, 2017 has been awash with innovative and beautiful foods. And one thing’s for sure: Sugar is out, but everything Chrissy Teigen bakes, cooks, or even half-mentions is in! These are the food trends and innovations that captured our appetites this year.
11. Sweet potato toast
Instagram’s had it with carbs. But this super simple, photo-worthy breakfast trend lets you slice up your sweet potato, toss the “pieces” in the toaster, and heat to a golden brown, just like you would with your nine-grain wheat. You can top the sweet potato slices with avocado and red pepper flakes, a fried egg with sea salt, or even peanut butter and bits of cacao. It’s a lower-carb, lower-calorie toast. Want to try it? has some mouthwatering ideas.
This was the year of the healthy gut, and for good reason. Those trillions of bacteria in your belly play a role in so many aspects of your health, from your weight to your immune system. Kimchi is a fermented cabbage, made with chili peppers, salt, vinegar, and other spices. It introduces countless probiotics to your system, feeds the good bacteria in your stomach, and keeps the bad ones at bay. Oh, and it’s delicious, too. Try this by one of our favorite food bloggers, Two Red Bowls.
13. Cauliflower rice
The potential health benefits of low-carb and ketogenic diets are astounding. Evidence suggests they can lower cholesterol, help with weight loss, and even improve blood sugar levels. But beloved carbs like rice are definitely not on the list. Fortunately, low-carb eaters came up with a genius substitute for the diet mainstay: cauliflower rice. It’s easy to prep, flavorful, and fills that rice bowl-sized hole in your heart. Try it as a side with your favorite dish, like ’s tofu steaks with garlic paprika asparagus.
14. Turmeric golden milk
Turmeric is a yellow-orange spice with a host of benefits, including reducing inflammation that could lead to serious health problems, like Alzheimer’s and certain types of cancers. This year, turmeric golden milk offered a whole new way to indulge in this 1,000-year-old spice. Curious? Try from Nutrition by Amy. Warm, creamy, and delicious — perfect for a cozy winter weekend.
15. Chrissy Teigen’s banana Bundt bread
We love Chrissy Teigen. Who doesn’t? She’s body positive, always ready to take a stand on important issues, and — best of all — she loves to eat as much as we do. This year, she shared her recipe for with the world via Instagram, and we couldn’t be more grateful. Nutrient-rich bananas, coconut, and dark chocolate — how could we say no? For embracing healthy with a side of sweetness, we salute the lovely Mrs. Legend.
16. Poke bowls
The poke bowl — pronounced “POH-key” for those not in the know — is a traditional Hawaiian dish that exploded this year in major food scenes across the mainland. Essentially, it’s cubed raw fish seasoned and served over a bowl of sushi rice. And people like are having a blast experimenting with toppings and seasonings, like quinoa, avocado, and radishes.
For college students and pasta enthusiasts, noodles are mainstays, be they ramen or rigatoni. But are they always the most nutritious choice? Given what we know about low-carb diets, probably not. Keeping our waistlines in check — and still slurping on noodles to boot — we’ve discovered zoodles. They’re noodles made from zucchini and tossed in with our favorites, like . Yum!
18. Root veggie chips
We’ve been noshing on potato chips for years, not realizing there was a better, more nutritional (and still crunchy) way to live. Root veggie chips — like from Super Healthy Kids — have taken 2017 by storm. They’re made from such delights as red and yellow beets, sweet potatoes, and yams. With beets offering a host of nutrients and even protein plus sweet potatoes’ rich antioxidant makeup, root veggie chips are revolutionizing the way we snack.
19. Crudité platters gone wild
There are crudité platters… and then there are crudité platters. 2017 proved there’s more than carrots and cucumbers that go into these beauties. There’s a lot of artistry, too. With the right colors, arrangement, lighting (and fromage), it can become the centerpiece of any get-together. Hollywood’s hottest caterers, , have reinvented the art of hors d’oeuvres, crafting platters that are simply behemoths. Be it veggie-based, meat-based, or covered in dips, crudité platters went wild this year. And we hope they’re here to stay!
20. Lab-grown meats
If you have mixed feelings about eating animals — but also can’t go without the protein and flavors of your favorite meat-based dishes — your worries may be over. Innovators like are creating lab-grown meat — yes, real meat from actual animal cells — but without the slaughter of animals. And while their products aren’t vegan yet, they plan to eventually “entirely remove the animal from the meat production process.” For those who believe the future of food (and the environment) , this is worth a serious second look.
Hundreds of cool goods and gadgets showed up this year. But these 10 products not only changed how we approach our health habits, they also made it more exciting to be on our wellness A-game. Hold onto your credit card: These 10 consumer products bring comfort, delight, and well-being in a way that’s worth opening your wallet for.
21. Instant Pot
The is a revolutionary pressure cooker that lets you cook, well, just about anything at super speed (including frozen foods) while keeping its moisture and flavor. They can do the job of a rice cooker, sauté pan, pressure cooker, steamer, and even yogurt maker. Set it, forget it. It’s the low-maintenance gadget you always wanted. and gourmet chefs alike embraced the Instant Pot’s magic in 2017.
22. Sun Potion
Sometimes our diet needs a boost, and adaptogens were one of 2017’s most buzzworthy ways to get it. owner and founder, Scott Linde, has scoured the earth for high-quality greens, mushrooms, algae, and tonic herbs to fuel and nourish the body and consciousness. His powders are organic and easy to mix into smoothies, lattes, soups, and even salad dressings. They’ll give you a hefty dose of extra vitamins, superfoods, and minerals.
23. Girlfriend Collective
In this age of fast fashion, it can be difficult to find environmentally responsible clothing lines. Cue the , a line of Instagram-worthy leggings, tops, and bras made from water bottles collected from Taiwan. Once nicknamed “Garbage Island,” Taiwan now recycles of its waste (compared to 35 percent in the United States). This is a fabulous way to contribute to their efforts… and look cute at the gym while you’re at it.
What if you didn’t have to pay for branding? That’s the mission of San Francisco and Minneapolis-based , which sells basically all your necessities — from face moisturizer and chicken broth to biodegradable coffee cups — for just $3 a piece. How? By eliminating the tax associated with branded goods. If you often find yourself wondering, “Wait, how did that happen?” when looking at inflated receipts, Brandless might be right up your alley.
Does the world really need another shoe? The resounding answer in 2017 was, YES! New Zealander Tim Brown partnered with one of the world’s best Italian textile mills to craft gorgeous and cozy . They may look unassuming, but there’s a reason Allbirds are all the rage. The New Zealand-sourced Merino wool they’re made from is great at regulating the temperature of your foot and decreasing sweaty odor. Plus, as any devotee will tell you, these are ridiculously comfortable. With people making unfortunate and unhealthy footwear decisions all the time, this is a fantastic step toward sustainability, style, and health.
is taking a good, hard look at the way real women actually prep for the day ahead, and works to reflect that in their beauty line. Their products hone in on what matters to the everyday woman: healthy, glowing skin. Glossier’s accessible and clean-cut products strip away the complexities of the beauty industry. They focus on essentials like primers and moisturizers — with makeup as an optional add-on. As it should be!
27. Fenty Beauty by Rihanna
When Rihanna launched her highly anticipated line this year, she changed the game for millions of women who, like her, have found it difficult to find makeup products that match their skin tones. Riri spent two years developing the products, including a whopping 40 shades of foundation. With Fenty, every woman is able to walk around with skin that looks like, well, their own.
It’s 2017, folks. A plastic toothbrush and an occasional floss just don’t cut it anymore. Enter . This new-age toothbrush features bristles that actually alert you when an area of your mouth is clean enough, prompting you to move along to the next area. The motions are sensitive — and silent — and a brand-new brush head is delivered to your house every three months, before you overuse the old one. This isn’t elementary tooth care. It’s the future.
29. Banyan Botanicals Ayurvedic tongue cleaner
Speaking of mouth hygiene… You brush. You floss. But how often should you clean your tongue? Research says probably a bit more often than you are right now. Tongues are coated in bacteria and other gunk, and the new is a life-altering way to get them off. As well as scrubbing your tongue clean, it can improve your breath and even enhance your sense of taste for the day ahead.
30. Felix Gray’s blue light filtering lenses
Staring at screens is a part of life for many of us. OK, pretty much all of us. But it’s not really doing our eyes a favor. In fact, your computer could be responsible for headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, sleepless nights, and eye fatigue. This is why lenses filter out the blue light that causes these issues, protecting your eyes while you work, read, and tweet.
At their most powerful, words form unforgettable stories that open our minds to different experiences and transform how we see the world. From love and loss to hope and anger, these 10 extraordinary features stirred a whirlwind of emotions around heroism, history, Harvey Weinstein… and even death.
31. ‘You Never Think Your Child Will Be an Addict’
“September 20, 1996 — 21 years ago today — I met my son Mishka Cesar after a 14-hour labor ending in a C-section delivery. On February 20, 2014, 17-and-a-half years later to the day, I lost him.” Thus begins Celine Kaplan’s heartbreaking story, as told to . She details her son’s journey with addiction and her unsuccessful attempts to find him treatment. Kaplan’s raw and honest telling of a mother’s relentless dedication uncovers how complicated addiction is, and how the emotional journey affects more than the user. The essay breaks stereotypes and provides an eye-opening perspective by recognizing that addiction is a disease… and one that even love can’t always conquer.
32. ‘Reflecting on One Very, Very Strange Year at Uber’
“It’s a strange, fascinating, and slightly horrifying story that deserves to be told...” And boy, does it. Susan Fowler’s recount of her time at Uber is arguably the post that launched a far overdue movement in the fight for women’s rights. Appearing on her personal blog, “” exposed the sexual harassment and gender discrimination she and other female employees faced. This post launched a tsunami of culture change at Uber, resulting in the takedown of CEO Travis Kalanick. It’ also been credited with paving the way for the removal of Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, and more influential men accused of sexual misconduct.
33. ‘The Heroism of Incremental Care’
In his , surgeon and prolific author Atul Gawande reveals the unique approach doctors at the John Graham Headache Center in Boston take with their patients who have chronic and debilitating migraines. “You ask them to tell the story of their headache and then you stay very quiet for a long time,” explains clinician Elizabeth Loder. Gawande follows the fascinating story of Bill Hayne and others with chronic issues, including his own son who was born with a heart condition. While healthcare is often focused on a quick “cure,” Gawande reveals how long, slow, subtle treatments — doled out in incremental steps — are often what makes the difference in someone’s health… and even whether they live or die.
34. ‘Speaking Out About Harvey Weinstein’
In an op-ed for The New York Times, Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o recounts — in vivid detail — several incidents that occurred over a number of years when Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed her and attempted to bully her into drinking alcohol with him. And more. Her piece reveals the intimacies, vulnerabilities, and hypocrisy of revoked privacy that comes with being in the spotlight. “” ends with Nyong’o calling for a community where women can speak up about abuse without fear of being ridiculed.
35. ‘Kangaroo Care — Why Keeping Baby Close Is Better for Everyone’
After learning that newborn kangaroos are surprisingly similar to human preterm babies, Colombian pediatrician Edgar Rey began to research how baby kangaroos survive. It turns out constant contact and thermal regulation from skin-to-skin touch with the mother eventually leads the newborn kangaroo to latch onto its mother’s nipple. From there, it stays until it’s ready to live on its own. Journalist Lena Corner reported Rey’s findings for in this wonderful article that goes on to explore how Rey transferred the kangaroo concept over to premature human babies, ultimately saving lives.
36. ‘There You Are: Afton’s Story, Part One.’
On her enormously popular food blog, Pinch of Yum, Lindsay Ostrom has connected with her many followers. But in January of this year, she reached out to them in a different way when she shared the devastating, beautiful story of her pregnancy with her son, Afton, and his short life following an emergency cesarean delivery at just 23 weeks. In detail, she shares “the sharp, stabbing realization that things were not going to be okay. That this was both the beginning and the end.” There’s no right way to grieve, and Ostrom weaves a tale that shows us how grief doesn’t always have to be hidden. With precious pictures of Afton and beautiful words by his mother, this is an eloquent must-read. “All this, even in knowing that we would be saying goodbye to our baby in our very next breath. It was the most profoundly beautiful and hard moment of my life,” Ostrom writes.
37. ‘You May Want to Marry My Husband’
Knowing that she was dying from ovarian cancer, best-selling children’s author and filmmaker Amy Krouse Rosenthal penned for the popular New York Times’ series “Modern Love.” The letter was published just 10 days before Rosenthal died on March 13, 2017, and ends with these impactful words: “I am wrapping this up on Valentine’s Day, and the most genuine, non-vase-oriented gift I can hope for is that the right person reads this, finds Jason, and another love story begins.”
38. ‘What Bullets Do to Bodies’
“The gun debate in the United States would change in an instant if Americans witnessed the horrors that trauma surgeons confront every day,” begins writer Jason Fagone. In , Fagone speaks with Dr. Amy Goldberg, a surgeon of 30 years at Temple University Hospital in North Philadelphia. This hospital treats more gunshot victims than any other in the state. Goldberg shares her honest and blunt experiences, telling Fagone that people have to confront the physical reality of gun violence without the polite filters. “The country won’t be ready for it, but that’s what needs to happen. That’s the only chance at all for this to ever be reversed.”
39. ‘In a Place of Need, an Unhealthy Contradiction’
This by Jessica Contrera is the story of several ill, poverty-stricken citizens without healthcare coverage living in McDowell County, West Virginia. It’s the county with the shortest life expectancy in the United States — but also one where the majority voted for Donald Trump for president. Now confronted with the threat of losing coverage under Obamacare, the citizens of the county face a dark battle and the uncertainty of their health. Most poignant is the perspective of Keisha Saunders, a 35-year-old nurse practitioner whose brother died due to undiagnosed kidney cancer. “Derrick was 24 — too old to be covered by his father’s insurance but unable to afford his own. He thought his only option was to go to an emergency room. His parents remember him returning home, having been told there was nothing wrong with him.”
40. ‘The Forgotten Story of the Radium Girls’
When the United States joined World War I, hundreds of working-class women took jobs to paint watches and military dials with glowing radium, a chemical element. Many asked if radium was safe. They were told it was — even though the chemical had a poisonous history of killing. These women eventually developed cancerous bone tumors and died from horrific and gruesome causes. Published by BuzzFeed, Kate Moore’s “” brings to light how these women’s strength, suffering, and sacrifice paved the way for workers’ rights.
Beauty and health are defined in so many diverse, wonderful ways — and looking different shouldn’t bring on negative feelings. Here, we celebrate 10 remarkable people who used their bodies to start conversations and change the way we think about size, shape… and ourselves.
41. Cathleen Meredith
In the world of , there’s no such thing as a “dancer’s body.” She believes everyone deserves to feel beautiful when they boogie, regardless of size or shape. And she spread that message loud and strong in 2017. Through her movement , Meredith used dance as a language to cross barriers and reach every corner of the world. Thanks to her, women with all types of bods shook, shimmied, and shared their fine moves, from to local dance .
42. Ericka Hart
Ever since breast cancer survivor showed off her double mastectomy scars at Afropunk Fest 2016, she’s been on a mission to promote healthy body image and self-worth. Her powerful Viceland video “” shows how sexual expression is essential to overall human health. And, as a Black Queer Femme activist, writer, and sexuality educator, Hart shows how race, gender, chronic illness, and disability intersect.
43. Alessia Cara
At MTV’s 2017 video music awards, did so much more than sing “,” the body-positive anthem of the year. In the middle of her performance, she proved how much she believes in inner beauty by . But the unveiling didn’t stop there. The rest of her outfit, from her wig to gown, continued to be stripped away until all she had on was a plain black outfit. With the lyrics, “The world could change its heart,” Cara reminds us all that nobody has to conform to standards that don’t bring happiness.
44. Cinta Tort Cartró
Rather than hide our bodies’ natural markings, artist Cinta Tort Cartró celebrates them on her . Instead of encouraging women to erase their stretch marks, blemishes, mastectomy scars, and more, Cartró through colorful, eye-catching body art. “To embrace all of this is to embrace your roots, accept every part of your body and ultimately, embrace yourself. Stretch marks are a part of our essence, our moments, our lives, our stories, and of ourselves,” Cartró reminds us.
45. Crystal Kaye
Toys are meant to make children feel joy, but a perfectly coiffed Barbie or chiseled Star Wars figurine may not speak completely to a child who may look and feel different from others. That’s why artist Crystal Kaye created . She crafts dolls with unique and diverse attributes, letting kids celebrate these differences. Kaye finds new and used dolls at thrift stores and yard sales and transforms them to look like kids who live with , vitiligo, and other conditions.
46. Josh Sundquist
When was 9 years old, he received a diagnosis of a rare form of bone cancer that required amputation of his left leg. His doctors declared him cured from cancer when he turned 13 years old. For the last seven years, he’s created unique Halloween costumes to highlight his disability and promote body positivity. His 2017 costume of him dressed as may arguably be his best to date.
47. Sara Geurts
Sara Geurts lives with the rare skin condition Ehlers-Danlos. This syndrome causes her skin to sag, making her look much older than the 26-year-old she is. Geurts hid her condition with clothes until she was 22 years old, when she began appreciating the and lines on her skin. In 2017, she caught eyes as a , and began advocating against society’s expectations of perfection. “It is the imperfection that makes us perfect and is where true beauty lies,” she tells . “A reminder we all need: love your body, love yourself, be gentle with your body, be gentle with yourself.”
48. Josh Rossi
makes our list for helping a special group of youngsters feel empowered in their bodies. The photographer took six kids under the age of 8 who live with diseases and disabilities and transformed them into Justice League superheroes. “The whole idea was to take the things that are weaknesses for the kids such as cancer and other diseases and turn them into strengths,” he told PetaPixel. Rossi didn’t stop there. He created movie-style images for the kids, empowering each of them to feel like the brave souls they are. He reminded us that body confidence is something we can teach and promote in others.
49. Tarik Carroll
Growing up, never felt like he fit in. However, when he began working as a photographer in the fashion industry and got to know male models, he learned that they too were affected by body image issues. To help redefine masculine aesthetics and liberate men from self-hate, Carroll created the . It highlights queer and transgender men of color who have a variety of strong, sensational body types.
50. Mona Patel
When Mona Patel was 17 years old, a drunk driver hit her, throwing her body 12 feet into the air. The tragic accident left Patel without a leg — or a support group for amputees. So Patel started her own nonprofit, , to help others like her rebuild their lives. In 2015, she led a group to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. And in October 2017, she was named for her work helping amputees. “I get to guide them and watch them shine through the things that they never thought they’d ever be able to accomplish,” she tells , proving that disabilities don’t have to define one’s life — or stop adventures from happening.
Hashtags made their mark in 2017. They inspired movements so large that they took life offline. These simple phrases changed the way we talk about a number of important issues, turning the tide on cultural norms and opening the pathway to empathy. No matter your social media of choice, these 10 hashtags filled your feed and started conversations that were impossible to ignore.
When Alyssa Milano reignited Tarana Burke’s campaign with a , she inspired a world of women to speak up against centuries-long sexual assault and harassment. Following her lead, countless stories surfaced and shook the world awake. The response was unprecedented and eye-opening, reminding everyone that sexual harassment isn’t something we should keep quiet about. And it’s something that even the most famous people in the world have been subjected to.
In response to the election of Donald Trump as president, activists , , and planned the iconic . But it didn’t stop in D.C. The January 21 march was a worldwide event, with to protest Trump’s “grab ‘em by the pussy” comment and more. Social media was on fire for that day. After the march, organizers also shared how to keep up the momentum with a “10 Actions for the First 100 Days” campaign.
Plus-size model Tess Holliday launched the hashtag to share the notion that people should embrace their bodies without apologizing for how they look. Although it first started in 2015, #effyourbeautystandards resurfaced in mainstream media again this year with Liza Golden Real’s about the pressures of Fashion Week. This hashtag has stood the test of time as people continue to respond with .
Coined by celebrity blogger and author Sarah Wilson, is based on Wilson’s recipe blog and movement to return to “real food.” This hashtag made it clear that we need to consider the amount of added and hidden sugar in everything we eat and drink — including yogurts, dressings, and “health” bars. Many people have adopted Wilson’s sugar-free eating practices, and share their journey on social media with .
On August 3, 2017, queer people of all different backgrounds took to Twitter to show their pride in themselves and support of one another with . The hashtag came to life as users celebrated themselves and others by proudly sharing selfies and retweeting others from the LGBT community. Self-love was an important theme in 2017, and #LGBTbabes was all about that.
Think of four people you know, and read this statistic: Mental illness affects 1 in 4 people during their lifetime. This knowledge stunned a lot of people, which is why the BBC launched its . Celebrities, including , , and , took to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets to post photos of themselves giving a four-fingered salute. The hashtag took off, raising awareness and efforts to destigmatize mental illness.
This campaign was originally started by four amazing women: , the blogger behind Colitis and Me; , an advocate for Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD); Sahara, founder of ; and , another Crohn’s advocate. The campaign first ran in 2014, championing for the awareness of IBD. People all over the world shared photos on social media, showing off their surgery scars and ostomy bags to boost and spread confidence. This year, #GetYourBellyOut is still going strong, with over 10,000 photos shared. Their efforts have also been .
Invisible diseases and conditions present unique challenges. But empathy shouldn’t come with caveats. People turned to the hashtag after activist Annie Segarra asked people to share their photos at the end of Invisible Disabilities Week. These photos helped show that while diseases like multiple sclerosis, , and may not be apparent right away, they can have the same ups and downs as visible illnesses.
Work, being busy, and feeling stressed out are way overrated, according to , illustrator and mental health activist. That’s why Daisy started on Instagram. The hashtag encourages people to slow down, take a breath, and make the time to care for themselves. , and began sharing the little — but important — ways they take care of their health and body.
When Victoria Reese received a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis at 25 years old, she took to the internet to find support. But when she came across a lack of resources or representation, she decided to launch her own campaign, . The movement is a 10-part, yearlong awareness tour to redefine what “sick” looks like and unite women of color with MS. It’s also amazingly .
Photo Credits, left to right: , , , , ]
Animals prove time and again that they’re far more than just sweet, cuddly companions. Sometimes, they’re service animals, lending emotional support in times of high stress and anxiety. Other times, they inspire and amaze us with their compassion or unmatched bravery. There are endless ways to love, and animals show us that — each and every single day. These are the dogs, ducks — and yes, pigs and hippos too — who wowed us in 2017.
61. Daniel the emotional support duck
When Daniel Turducken Stinkerbutt last October wearing a Captain America diaper and a pair of red shoes, many passengers weren’t sure what to think. That’s probably because Daniel... is a duck. More specifically, he’s an emotional support duck for his owner, Carla Fitzgerald. Winning the hearts of others wherever he goes, he set the internet alight when caught him staring out the plane window at the clouds, wagging his feathered tail.
62. Chi Chi the rescue dog
At just 3 years old, the aptly named is a wild bolt of energy. But unlike other golden retrievers, her life began at a South Korean dog meat company, where she was raised as food before being found in a trash bag, her legs tied with wire. Now, as a quadruple amputee, with four custom-made prosthetic legs, she’s proof that a positive spirit can overcome even the most horrible circumstances.
63. LiLou the pig
is that adorable speckled pig you might see trotting around San Francisco International Airport if you happen to be passing through. Often dressed up in one of many fashion-forward outfits (flouncy blue tutu, anyone?), the trained therapy animal works hard to help make travel more enjoyable and stress-free for passengers, offering friendliness and unexpected good cheer during what can be hectic trips through the airport.
64. Wafflenugget the Berner
Back in 2015, Bernese service dog was crowned the , and we had no reason to disagree. But these days, the 103-pound fluffy lover is a service dog to her mom, Kate Fisher, and also brings overzealous joy to 85,000 Instagram followers, daily. In an unpredictable world, it’s nice to know we can count on Wafflenugget’s upbeat energy and winning smile.
65. Odin the dog
When 2017’s devastating Northern California wildfires engulfed his home, showed us that family comes first. The brave Great Pyrenees pup refused to abandon his “brothers and sisters” — the eight goats his owners had adopted. Roland Hendel and his family were forced to flee their home and came back afterwards to find it destroyed. Fearing the worst for Odin and the goats, they were astonished and overjoyed to find all the animals there to greet them. Bravery like that is definitely something to bark about!
66. Puff the duck
Just one day after her birth, was sick, small, and barely breathing. But Ashley Scott, , rescued her from the pet store that planned to throw her out, and kept her alive with a dropper until Puff could gain strength. Now, Puff returns the love, sitting with Scott when she needs support, and living alongside her — one adventure after the next.
67. Izzy the lost dog
When fires ravaged Northern California this past October, Beckyjean Widen’s parents in Santa Rosa awoke with moments to spare before the flames engulfed their house. As they raced away, their dog, Izzy, got loose, and they felt sure she was gone. But when Beckyjean’s husband and brother hiked back to survey the damage after the fire had passed, they were amazed and overjoyed to find Izzy there to greet them. captures the moment she popped out from behind the foliage — watch until the end!
68. Fiona the baby hippo
This year, the ’s adorable hippopotamus stole the hearts of millions when she was born. At just 29 pounds, she was the smallest baby hippo to ever survive. But what she lacked in size (then, at least), she . Her latest scene-stealing moment? The — pressing her face up against the glass as Nick Kelble proposed to his now-fiancée, Hayley Roll, during one of their frequent visits to the zoo.
69. Arthur the jungle pup
Veteran turned adventure racer often takes part in races that last up to eight days — running, cycling, and kayaking over mountains and jungles. A few years ago, he found himself in Ecuador, followed through the jungle . And something about this pup’s resilience, despite wounds on his back and a sadness in his eyes, stuck with Lindnord. So he brought the adventurous pup — now named Arthur — with him for the rest of the journey, and today he’s an irreplaceable member of Lindnord’s family in Sweden!
70. Grandpa Mason the cat
Shelly Roche is founder of , an organization in British Columbia which captures feral cats to ensure they’re spayed, neutered, and given medical treatment. That’s how she met , the crotchety “old man” cat, with a busted tail, a large growth on his paw, and — worst of all — kidney failure. No one thought Mason was capable of joy at this stage of his life, but since Roche introduced him to five kittens, he’s ! Mason’s story reminds us that no one is beyond love’s reach.
We’re bombarded with advertisements every day. While most are simply trying to sell us things, some do much more. Sometimes a company creates an ad that not only hits the right notes with its audience, but goes above and beyond. These 10 ads struck a chord in 2017, capturing our attention and inviting us all to do a second take and reexamine what wellness and humanity really mean.
71. Canada Tire’s ‘Wheels’
This created by Cleansheet will make your tear up… and smile. Viewed more than two million times, its message about acceptance, inclusion, and overcoming obstacles is told through the eyes of children which makes it all the more powerful. A wheelchair-bound boy isn’t able to join in shooting hoops with the neighborhood kids… until they (and he) decide it’s time to change things.
72. SickKids’s ‘SickKids VS: MomStrong’
This is a tribute to the nearly superhuman strength of moms who are caring for chronically or terminally ill children. It portrays mothers in devastated and emotionally raw states — often when they’re alone — as they deal with heartbreak, medications, surgeries, and hospital visits. They question whether they can do it all. But as moms often do, they put on a strong front and get up to face another day full of love and hope. The message reminds us that caregivers need support, too — even if they don’t openly show it.
73. Airbnb’s ‘We Accept You’
In this simple yet powerful ad, reminds us that the sharing economy — and the world — is for everyone. In a , the faces of men and women of all ages and cultures appear on the screen paired with words of acceptance. In a year filled with discord, this serves as a visually compelling reminder of the beauty we can create together. The ad ends with this powerful message: “The world is more beautiful the more you accept. #weaccept.”
74. Heineken’s ‘Worlds Apart’
Perhaps more social experiment than advertisement, this poses the question: “Can two strangers with opposing views prove that there’s more that unites than divides us?” Watch as strangers are paired up to complete tasks and have conversations. The surprise? None of them know that their partner has the polar opposite opinion on a controversial topic such as trans rights, feminism, and climate change. In a move that gives us all hope, unveiling the truth about the other person doesn’t deter any of them from enjoying a beer together and embracing their differences.
75. Bodyform’s ‘Blood Normal’
Remember those pad and tampon ads from back in the day with the mysterious blue liquid that demonstrated how absorbent they were? Well, Bodyform decided to toss those out the window and what periods really look like: red and bloody. There are several revolutionary moments in the ad, including a man casually buying menstrual products in the store and a leg in the shower with blood running down it. Because it’s time we make blood normal.
76. Understood.org’s ‘A Direct Path to easy eat hand’
According to the American Psychiatric Association, about have ADHD. This by and starts with a mother giving voice commands to her smartphone, asking why her son struggles in school. The phone’s AI program responds with nonsensical and unrelated answers, further frustrating the mother. The exchange continues, ultimately leading to a captivating metaphor for what it’s like to live with learning and attention issues… and to not be understood.
77. Canadian Down Syndrome Society’s ‘Anything but Sorry’
What’s the one thing you shouldn’t say to the parents of a child with Down syndrome? It’s definitely not a curse word, or even inappropriate questions about birth or bodily fluids. This by the features young adults with Down syndrome playfully offering examples of everything you can say to parents of kids with Down syndrome (a lot of things!) and the one thing you shouldn’t say.
78. Cigna’s ‘TV Doctors of America’
With the help of some famous on-screen doctors (hello, McDreamy!), to . Actors Patrick Dempsey, Donald Faison, Neil Patrick Harris, and Kate Walsh relive a bit of their past as “pretend” docs in a series of playful scenes. But their message is serious: Regular checkups are one of the most important ways you can be in control of your health.
79. Pfizer’s ‘Senior vs. Senior’
Entering the workforce in your younger years and retiring in your older ones are both life-defining moments. This — part of Pfizer’s “” social campaign — challenges the idea of age and expectations. The video chronicles the journey of a retired man who goes back to work as a “senior intern,” and interacts with his much younger fellow interns. It illustrates how, despite initial nervousness and bias from both parties, the two groups find they have lots to learn from each other. It’s a reminder to us all to be conscious of our prejudices, however small, and to be lifelong learners.
80. Hilfiger Clothing’s Tommy Adaptive
In perhaps his boldest fashion move yet, American designer Tommy Hilfiger introduced clothing made for adults and children with disabilities. The features models with a variety of physical disabilities, and showcases how the clothing is made to meet their needs. The line is just as stylish as other Hilfiger collections and breaks the barrier in fashion for those with and without disabilities.
Fame has its ups… and downs. In our eyes, 2017 was a special year where downs became ups and celebrities had something important to say. Illnesses like cancer and lupus aren’t selective. They’ll afflict chart-toppers and A-listers just as readily as anyone else. And when a celebrity shares a health struggle or becomes a voice for a “taboo” subject that affects millions, they don’t just shine a much-needed spotlight on essential issues, they provide hope and momentum toward something greater.
This year, these 10 celebrities chose to share very personal challenges and hardships, using their fame to bring critical topics to the forefront. We applaud them for their candor and bravery.
81. Lady Gaga
Anyone who saw Lady Gaga’s remarkable 2017 Super Bowl performance knows there’s a lot of power packed into her 5-foot-2-inch frame. And her Netflix documentary — aptly named “” — proved just as remarkable. “I have chased this pain for five years,” Gaga said in the film. “I can still be me, and when I feel the adrenaline, and my music, and my fans, I can f****** go. But it doesn’t mean that I’m not in pain.” Between rehearsals and performances, a window into what it’s like to live with a debilitating condition like fibromyalgia. The star’s willingness to document and share her experience brings attention to the disease and the people in the United States living with it.
82. Selena Gomez
The award-winning singer took a break from promoting her new music to undergo kidney transplant surgery, which she explained she needed due to complications from lupus. Gomez shared an of herself and kidney donor (and BFF) Francia Raisa on Instagram holding hands in their hospital beds presurgery. By sharing her experience openly, Gomez raised much-needed awareness for the autoimmune disease and the implications of living with it. She used her platform for good, promoting the cause of organ donation with the star power only a former Disney star, and most-followed Instagrammer (130.4 million followers) could have. “[Francia] gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed.”
83. Chrissy Teigen
It’s easy to write off a stunning supermodel… married to an equally stunning award-winning singer-songwriter. But time and time again, Chrissy Teigen (aka Mrs. John Legend) has proven she’s different. An open book by nature, Teigen has always been about her life — from her fertility struggles to her postpartum depression. In a with InStyle this year, Chrissy discussed her experiences with depression and the decision to go on medication. Her willingness to talk about fertility struggles, IVF, and mental health after the birth of daughter Luna only endeared her more to fans. Kudos to Chrissy for helping to shed light on the challenging experiences many women face.
84. Jimmy Kimmel
Jimmy Kimmel is the king of Halloween pranks and late-night laughs. But when he switched up his usually funny opening monologue to get very serious about his sick son, he shed a light on the importance of having insurance no matter your situation. Kimmel shared the , and the surgery he needed at three days old to correct a congenital heart defect. During a tearful speech, Kimmel applauded the medical professionals at and , who successfully saved his child’s life. But he didn’t stop there. Kimmel took a strong political stance on universal healthcare: “No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life.”
85. Prince Harry
Addressing the 20th anniversary of a mother’s death is hard, no matter how much time has passed. And when you’re the son of Princess Diana, one of the most beloved figures in years, finding the right words to commemorate her in front of the entire world can be even more difficult. This year, Prince Harry chose to open up about the devastating impact her passing had on his mental health. “I know there is huge merit in talking about your issues and the only thing about keeping it quiet is that it’s only ever going to make it worse,” he said, also noting that speaking out about his mother publicly has helped his healing. By doing this, Prince Harry has followed in his mother’s footsteps in normalizing stigmas, specifically around mental health issues. He also honored his mother’s legacy by this year on her behalf, reminding the world what a powerful HIV and AIDS advocate she once was.
86. Nyle DiMarco
Actor, model, and activist Nyle DiMarco proudly used all that he had, from social media platforms to his charming looks, to shine a new light to the possibilities of being hearing impaired. As the first deaf person to win “America’s Next Top Model” and “Dancing with the Stars,” DiMarco practices what he preaches: “Find your ability in your disability.” On his page, which has over 900,000 followers, DiMarco shows that being inclusive shouldn’t be hard. By raising awareness of issues in the deaf community and making efforts to share pop culture and news via sign language and with captions, he sets a new definition for the word “role model.”
87. Shannon Doherty
“Beverly Hills 90210” alum and once teen queen Shannon Doherty has been very public about her life-changing breast cancer — from diagnosis to treatment — documenting her journey on Instagram along the way. One of these tender and emotional moments was of . Doherty reflected on her treatment and how cancer has altered her in “both superficial ways and deeply profound ways.” Doherty doesn’t glamorize breast cancer. She shares her fears, hopes, and all the messy bits in between, reminding us that health battles don’t discriminate in how to change a person’s life forever.
88. Solange Knowles
This was the year surged to the spotlight and became a role model for generations of black girls everywhere. With the release of “,” the singer addresses the intrusive behavior black women often face — like having their hair touched without consent. Black girls embraced that song as an anthem to stand up against social pressure of assimilating and compromising one’s complex identity and history. Her work and advocacy has led her to win the this year. In her acceptance speech, her praises and thanks to her community brought tears to the audience’s eyes. “Black women make me feel invincible… there are days I feel so goddamn weird and alone, but I get up and I want you to know that you can and you will too.”
89. Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell’s charming openness has earned her the admiration of fans everywhere. This year she took a step away from the peppy personality the world has come to love her for and got brutally honest about her mental health, marriage, and what it takes to maintain a healthy partnership. Bell candidly spoke about and why she isn’t ashamed of taking medication and getting help to manage her own illness. Kristen also shared how she learned to be a “” in her relationship with husband Dax Shepard, advocating that disagreements can be both productive and healthy, as long as you respect one another in the process.
90. Roxane Gay
American writer Roxane Gay isn’t afraid to speak her truth or call out others for discriminatory behavior. In her recently published memoir, “,” Gay takes on fat discrimination, problems with the healthcare system, and unfair beauty standards. But Gay’s work isn’t only limited to her books. Online, especially through Twitter, she fights against narratives that try to pigeon-hole her success or . Gay brings realism to the issues women face, in a way that’s fierce and unapologetic, inspiring us to never take the easy road.
Pop culture has been not just entertaining, but also incredibly inclusive throughout 2017. These are the shows, movies, books, and performances that have truly made a difference in people’s lives, giving those formerly marginalized or unheard a voice, and validating the act of seeking help when you need it most. These are the moments that rocked the world this year.
91. Kesha’s ‘Praying’ music video
The past few years have held dark days for singer Kesha, who fought a bitter legal battle with her ex-producer and accused abuser, Dr. Luke. But with her comeback single “Praying” and its , Kesha reemerged as a force to be reckoned with. The video maps the road from the hopelessness and self-doubt that can follow abuse to recovery and rebirth. It was glorious, and empowering to us all.
92. Logic’s ‘1-800-273-8255’
Rapper Logic’s moving song “” — named for the — documents his own experiences with depression and suicidal thoughts. The day he released the song, the hotline saw a in calls, demonstrating just how effective pop culture can be at raising awareness about valuable, life-saving resources. And as Logic proved at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards — where he was joined on stage by suicide attempt survivors — no one is alone when dealing with mental illness.
93. ‘Wonder Woman’
Before 2017, live-action female superheroes were few and far between, with characters like Black Widow, Storm, and Catwoman playing second fiddle to their male counterparts. But this year, comic books’ leading lady finally got her chance to take center stage. Patty Jenkins’ film was so effective at flipping the tropes (and male gaze) associated with female superheroes, it left audiences . Wonder Woman didn’t just march solo across No Man’s Land. She set a new benchmark for the way women are treated in superhero films.
94. ‘13 Reasons Why’
Netflix high school drama “” sparked considerable controversy this year, as a series centered around the suicide of a teenager. While some have critiqued the show as glamorizing suicide, others — like suicide prevention expert Dr. Christine Moutier — say it has at least created an opportunity for teachers, parents, and counselors to have conversations with teens about suicide and mental health. For that, it deserves some applause.
95. ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ by John Green
Novelist John Green is well-known in the YA world, lending insight and compassion to teenage stories through mega-hits like “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Paper Towns.” This year’s highly-anticipated release, “,” tells the story of a teenager dealing with obsessive compulsive disorder, which the author himself also lives with. Green has openly on his YouTube channel and on his 2017 book tour. Green and his brother, Hank, also highlighted the importance of self-care for better mental health, opening a powerful dialogue for adolescent readers.
With “,” the warm-hearted dramedy about a teen with autism, Netflix gives a voice to a group that’s normally not heard. Its question, “What does it mean to be normal?” leads us down a path toward empathy, watching as high school senior Sam grapples with girls and “fitting in.” With living on the autism spectrum, it’s important that mainstream television is working to educate and bridge the divide when it comes to understanding and embracing autism.
97. Beyoncé’s baby announcements
Can Beyoncé do any wrong? (The answer is no.) The characteristically private chanteuse sent shock waves around the world in February when she revealed — via an — that she was pregnant with twins. Five months later, she followed it up with a of herself holding the new arrivals, Rumi and Sir Carter. Shrouded in a green veil and surrounded by flowers, the “Formation” singer reminded us that motherhood is beautiful, sacred, and worth celebrating.
98. Autism comes to ‘Sesame Street’
It’s not just Netflix embracing autism. For the first time in 10 years, “” introduced a new Muppet, Julia. She’s shy, has bright red hair, and has autism. Stacy Gordon, the puppeteer who plays Julia, has a son on the autism spectrum, and , “I really wish the kids in my son’s class had grown up with a ‘Sesame Street’ that had modeling [of] the behavior of inclusion of characters with autism.” Now, thanks to her, other kids will.
99. ‘This Is Us’ addresses anxiety
Sobbing through “This Is Us” on a weekly basis is something of a national pastime now. But back in February, the show captured something not often shown on television: a panic attack. Randall, played by actor Sterling K. Brown, lives with an anxiety disorder. It’s a rarely addressed mental health condition that affects in the United States alone, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Brown’s Emmy-winning performance was a huge step in helping erase the stigma surrounding mental illness.
100. Mary Tyler Moore’s death
The honored actress and 70s icon “lit the world up with her smile” for decades, but did much more in her lifetime. Moore was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 33, just as her namesake TV series was launching. In the years that followed, she became a and . Moore died in January at the age of 80, but not without making a huge difference, appearing as a regular fixture on Capitol Hill and fighting to keep the world smiling another day. She forced people to pay attention to the life-changing condition. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation : “Mary Tyler Moore’s legacy is that of a woman who tirelessly committed herself to helping the millions with T1D. Over the past 30 years, Moore educated about and increased awareness of T1D around the world and raised millions of dollars for research that will one day lead to a cure.”
The world of wellness is constantly shifting, and 2017 brought significant, positive changes to how we view, care for, and celebrate our health. Thanks to all the individuals who made it happen!