No matter what happens in years to come, 2011 will always be special to those of us who work here, because it was the year we launched xoJane.com, in mid-May. So obviously, the best posts of 2011 are sort of extra-special to us, because they're the best posts we've done so far.
To decide, I asked editors and contributors to pick their favorite posts of the year, by themselves or someone else. Here are the results.
Picked by: Jane
"Without cheating by going back and rereading anything, I will say that my favorite post was Emily's My Rapist Friended Me on Facebook (and all I Got Was This Lousy Article). It was written in the crazy days when we were launching and there were two or sometimes three of us spending long hours in a relatively small YELLOW room and it made me cry and was everything I wanted this site's posts to be: personal experience, writers willing to live through further experience (getting him on the phone and transcribing it) in order to show them to you, new material rather than opining on what material/news is already out there. Mostly, it made me cry.
At the end, when Emily says to take care of your daughters so that this doesn't happen to them, most especially. It is beautiful and simply written and wise. All of my favorite things. I learned from it. A close second would be, 'I told my boyfriend I'm trans.' Also beautiful and gutsy and all of those other things that I want xoJane to be. I'm proud."
Picked by: Emily
"First of all, best headline ever. This was one of the first posts Cat ever wrote for xoJane, and along with a couple of other early posts like My Favorite Lipstick in the World! Plus: Why Men Are Lame and I'll Try Anything Once: The Pepto Bismol Facial, it defines her offbeat, slightly cracked way of writing about beauty. Cat has taken a lot of shit in 2o11, some of it from people who dare to suggest that she's not (!) a good (!) writer (!). But I don't see how anyone can read a post like the above and not see Cat's epic originality. (And if you're wondering where Cat's pick is, well, she never sent it. Take her for what she is.)
As far as my own stuff, one of the most fulfilling pieces to write (other than the rapist piece, which Jane covered) was "Do This Don't: Size 14 Bikini," just because of the overwhelming amount of love and support from the commenters.
Picked by: Lesley:
"I'm going with my street harassment post, not so much because I think the post itself was brilliant, but mostly because of the amazing conversations that happened in the comments, and the way so many people drew reassurance from the shared stories. Street harrassment is one of those things that we often just quietly accept as an inevitable part of life, when it IS something worth getting angry over, and sharing our experiences and responses can help us feel less isolated and more righteous in our shared rage."
Picked by: Eric
"My favorite was my/our Courtney Love house tour. Because:
* the timing was brilliant
* she's been on my "someone to work with list" -- check.
* I got the chance to work with my buddy/interior photographer Peter Murdock"
Picked by: Julieanne
"Incredible and brave. I have a car battery where my heart should be, but this story was so moving that I may have become moist in the general nasolacrimal area. (Particularly when her boyfriend's response to her admission was, "Can I hug you?" I mean, I haven't felt feelings like that since the end of that "Homeward Bound" movie, and even then I contend that there was some kind of emotion gas leaking into the theater.) This was such a well-written post and a great reminder that human beings can be unexpectedly wonderful."
Also Picked By: Bryan
"This particular IHTM was an amazing and humbling read for me. As a gay man I thought I knew a lot about the group I am associated with in society (lgtbqia) the group whose rights I am a part of championing. But in truth, I realized I only know a little about very little, even when it comes to the many different types of people that make up my own community (which gets bigger, stronger and more diverse everyday.) As hate still exists, so does the need for disclosure, exposure, acceptance and honest voices.
It's posts like this one (or any one of the timely/personal topics that our contributors have bravely lived, taken on and shared on xoJane) that have the ability to reach millions of readers worldwide. Stories like Janet's teach us all lessons that make us better more compassionate people. Thank you, Janet, for sharing your story with us."
Picked by: Madeline
"I don't know what it is about this post by Cat, but I've read it a million times! I keep going back. I think it's a combo of things: Cat at her funniest, the cutest photo of her ever, plus really good info. This article helped me perfect my hair color, and I've always been super into talking about blond hair and how to get it looking awesome (don't know why that's a thing for me). I hope I don't sound too shallow, but whatever! Love you, Marnell."
Picked by: Jenny
"This is really hard to answer; there have been so many good posts this year. But I was super touched by Rachel's "I'm Leaving the Nanny Game, But Not Without Unconditional Love." Eloquently heartfelt, with the perfect combination of sweet and sad. I hope the girl she nannied gets to read this piece one day."
Picked by: Helena
My fave story is Boobs Radley's (who I call Tits Magee in my head or just Julieanne) "I Am Mariah Yeater" story because when I first clicked on it I thought it'd be about ''safer sex'' but it wasn't. I can hardly describe what it's about, aside from saying it's a dark, twisted fantasy.
Picked by: Jessica
"This has bugged me for a looong time and it was nice to get it off my chest. Very satisfying."
Picked by: Rachel McPadden
"I have three favorite xoJane posts of 2011, the selection of which is based solely on happiness and love (and one selfish inclusion of a post of mine). #1 is Emily's I'LL TRY ANYTHING ONCE: 70s Bush. I love everything about this experiment and write-up, including the months-long teasers. #2 is Jenny Ryan's A 10-Year-Old Singing Karaoke Into a Banana Is My Therapist. There's a lot of same-sex soul-mating going on here at xoJane. And thirdly, my post, Which One of You Crazy Cheerleader-Types Told Mike Lacoste His Jam?, because sometimes no one thinks you're funnier than yourself."
Picked by: s.e. smith
"My favorite post on xoJane in 2011 was my piece about being genderqueer; both because I thought it was a fantastic and important piece, and because it got rather a lot of attention. It was also a kind of scary post for me to write because I was very new to xoJane at the time, and I was a bit nervous about writing a post that basically said "Hi, I know I just got here, but you have made an editorial decision that deeply offended me." It was awesome to be able to stand my ground, and to be supported by Jane and the rest of the xoJane crew in doing so. Definitely made me feel good about being here, and gave me lots of material to work with into 2012!"
Picked by: Julie
"I remember reading 'Does Anyone Else Gag down Water?' back when xoJane first launched and I was a sad, oppressed copywriter. It's a perfect example of Cat putting her own hilarious spin on something completely mundane. I've been drinking 'abortion water' ever since."
Picked by: Olivia "After way to many years of trying to think of tsomething 'witty' or 'gross' it was really encouraging to hear someone say that it was OK to look as slutty as I want to. This past year I was a Slutty Ms. Piggy and it was my favorite costume yet."
Happy New Year! What was your favorite conversation on the site in 2011? Or is it egotistical of us to even ask?