Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

From Miley to 'Camp Gyno,' stories that got women fired up in 2013

By Kelly Wallace, CNN
December 26, 2013 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
From Miley Cyrus' twerking and Sheryl Sandberg 'leaning in' to the backlash against Miss America, there was no shortage of stories that got women talking in 2013. Click through to read about the stories that sparked some of the biggest conversations this year.<!-- -->
</br><!-- -->
</br>Topping the list was Miley Cyrus, the former Disney star whose<a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/27/living/outraged-parents-why-miley-cyrus-performance-sets-girls-and-women-back/'> performance at the MTV Video Music Awards </a>followed by her <a href='http://marquee.blogs.cnn.com/2013/09/11/miley-cyrus-speaks-on-wrecking-ball-video/'>'Wrecking Ball' video</a> outraged women who felt her sexualized image set women and girls back. From Miley Cyrus' twerking and Sheryl Sandberg 'leaning in' to the backlash against Miss America, there was no shortage of stories that got women talking in 2013. Click through to read about the stories that sparked some of the biggest conversations this year.

Topping the list was Miley Cyrus, the former Disney star whose performance at the MTV Video Music Awards followed by her 'Wrecking Ball' video outraged women who felt her sexualized image set women and girls back.
HIDE CAPTION
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
Stories that really got women talking in 2013
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Our list consists of stories that resonated strongly with readers on CNN.com and social media
  • Miley Cyrus, Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer among women who sparked passionate debate
  • Viral videos on beauty and a girl's first period also got our attention this year
  • Inspiring moments include teen's version of Katy Perry's "Roar" video and BatKid

Editor's note: Kelly Wallace is CNN's digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering family, career and life. Read her other columns and follow her reports at CNN Parents and on Twitter.

(CNN) -- It's hard to believe another year is coming to end. Where on earth did 2013 go?

While we try to answer that question, we're thinking about the year that was -- and all the stories that inspired us, those that made us crazy and those we couldn't stop talking to our friends about -- on and offline.

We put our list together based on those stories that resonated the most on CNN.com and in social media -- the 20 stories that seemed to spark the biggest conversations among women this year. (Click on our gallery above to see them all!)

Cyrus on VMAs: I wanted to make history

No surprise that Miley Cyrus tops our list. If the former Disney star's goal was to be one of the most talked about women of 2013, she arguably succeeded. Her twerking at the MTV Video Music Awards (full disclosure -- I didn't know what twerking was until the VMAs!) followed by her nearly nude performance in a video for her single "Wrecking Ball" got tongues wagging all over the country. Will Miley continue to shock in 2014? We'll be watching!

PHOTOS: 2013: The year in pictures

Sandberg: Upside for men in 'Lean In'

Other women who generated some heated debate this year include Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook chief operating officer whose book "Lean In" became an immediate best-seller. But was Sandberg, a mom of two, accusing women of not being ambitious enough or not doing enough to put more cracks in the glass ceiling, many women asked this year?

Can a tech CEO be chic?

Many women criticized Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer for banning working from home, and for donning a designer dress and stiletto heels in a sexy pose for Vogue magazine. I sided with others who asked: Why can't a woman be smart and beautiful and sexy?

Love her or hate her, folks were definitely talking about Miley Cyrus in 2013. It was her year. Love her or hate her, folks were definitely talking about Miley Cyrus in 2013. It was her year.
Good year: Miley Cyrus
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
Photo: Celebs who had a great 2013 and some who didn\'t Photo: Celebs who had a great 2013 and some who didn't

The sexualization of girls was another big topic in 2013 illuminated not just by Cyrus but by media outlets counting the days until Kendall Jenner, one of the youngest members of the Kardashian clan, turned 18.

"There is a countdown clock waiting for a girl to turn 18 so they can (ogle) her more inappropriately then they already do," reader Jodi Ferich said on CNN's Facebook page. "I think it's a valid question about the appropriateness of waiting for a young lady to age so you can objectify her as a sex object."

Is there truth in Dove's body image ad?

There were many inspiring moments this year for women, too, such as that Dove ad campaign, which went viral, showcasing our inability as women to see just how beautiful we are.

'Camp Gyno' ad about periods goes viral

One of our favorite ads ever, about a fictional place called 'Camp Gyno,' took the Internet by storm. In the ad, a tween is the first girl to get her period at camp, what she calls her "red badge of courage," and proudly sets out to teach her pals about this milestone.

2013: Dying teen covers Katy Perry

We were inspired by celebrities too, such as Katy Perry whose "Roar" video motivated a 16-year-old Toronto girl named Olivia Wise with an inoperable brain tumor to do her own version.

Two months after Wise recorded her "Roar" video, which brings me to tears every single time I watch it, she died. Perry took to Twitter, telling her 48 million followers (she bumped Justin Bieber from the top spot on Twitter this year) that Wise's strength and spirit inspired her and so many others.

Batkid, age 5, saves 'Gotham City'

And how could we not mention Batkid, the 5-year-old leukemia patient from San Francisco? He won the hearts of people around the world when he joined Batman fighting crime in a made-up Gotham city as part of a wish granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

PHOTOS: The year in entertainment

Teen suspended for hugging teacher

There were big debates among parents, too. The documentary "Blackfish," showcased on CNN, prompted families to discuss whether to take their kids to SeaWorld. The question of whether schools go too far in enforcing zero tolerance policies also came up after a 17-year-old who hugged a teacher and a 6-year-old who kissed a fellow first grader were suspended for sexual harassment.

Stay in touch!
Don't miss out on the conversation we're having at CNN Living. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest stories and tell us what's influencing your life.

Some relatively unknown women were thrust into the national spotlight this year. Wendy Davis, a Texas state senator, became a hero to women abortion rights supporters when she staged a dramatic 11-hour filibuster. Huma Abedin, the wife of the former New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, also got women talking for her decision to stick with her husband after his second bout with sexting and reports that she blamed herself for his indiscretions.

READ: The CNN 10: Ideas

First lady: Bangs are my midlife crisis
William, Kate and baby leave hospital

And there were definitely some lighter moments that we women loved to dish about, from Michelle Obama's bangs (yes, they really generated a ton of conversation!) to the arrival of Prince George with Kate Middleton showing the world that contrary to what you see in Hollywood, women do actually have a post-baby belly right after giving birth.

I always love these opportunities to look back and showcase the issues and stories that really struck a chord with us. We just must might be talking about them again next year.

Until then, can we go back to that question from the top -- where did 2013 go?

Follow Kelly Wallace on Twitter and like CNN Living on Facebook.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Looking for ways to get into the best school for you, cut tuition costs or study smarter? Here are 10 tips for improving the college experience.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Lisa Respers France
CNN's Lisa France opens up about her lifelong struggle with weight, its physical and mental toll, and what she's doing to lighten the burden.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2152 GMT (0552 HKT)
Bridget Cutler was still adjusting to being a new mom when she read a magazine article that changed her life.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
Hundreds of students staged a walkout in Denver, accusing the school board of trying to censor what they're taught about U.S. history.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
People who identify as asexual feel little or no sexual attraction to other people. And as far as they're concerned, that's A-OK.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1736 GMT (0136 HKT)
Actress Emma Watson joins a cadre of celebrities who have used their star power to bring attention to gender issues.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
Clemson University suspends mandatory online course that asked questions about sex lives, drinking and drug use.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 2113 GMT (0513 HKT)
Does the word "virginity" evoke discussions of sexuality or religious belief? That's the question residents in Fayetteville, Arkansas, are asking after a junior high student was asked to change out of a T-shirt that read "Virginity Rocks."
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1438 GMT (2238 HKT)
Not knowing exactly where her ancestors come from has always bothered Kelly Wallace, but she's heartened to learn about some of the famous cousins she never knew she had.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1401 GMT (2201 HKT)
Many superstar athletes from Michael Vick to Tiger Woods were ultimately forgiven by fans and the public. Could Ray Rice also get a second chance?
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)
The indictment of NFL star Adrian Peterson on child abuse charges has revealed sharp differences in cultural, regional and generational attitudes toward using physical force to discipline kids.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
cara reedy
The world often treats little people like Cara Reedy as less than human. She's learned to stand up for herself and shout back.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1727 GMT (0127 HKT)
The unheard voices of domestic abuse spoke up on CNN iReport when Rihanna's story of abuse came to light. In light of the Ray Rice controversy, we decided to bring back these stories that are still just as powerful as the day they were told.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1410 GMT (2210 HKT)
More than 3 million children witness domestic violence every year, and the damage can last a lifetime.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
As media outlets Monday circulated video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator, many wondered why the woman -- now his wife -- could remain with him.
September 4, 2014 -- Updated 1652 GMT (0052 HKT)
The ways mother-daughter book clubs can help empower girls are the focus of a new book, "Her Next Chapter."
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 2140 GMT (0540 HKT)
Colleges are working to prevent sexual assault by educating students on affirmative consent, or only "yes means yes."
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
A mom questions if she wants her daughters seeing a "sado-masochistic relationship, dressed up as a Hollywood love fantasy?"
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1904 GMT (0304 HKT)
In 2014, why is society still so incredibly uncomfortable with public breastfeeding? Kelly Wallace gets to the root of the controversy.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
Seven years ago, Barbara Theodosiou, then a successful entrepreneur, stopped going to meetings, leaving the house and taking care of herself. She grew increasingly distraught -- her two children were addicts.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1304 GMT (2104 HKT)
The situation in Ferguson, Missouri, after the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, throws America's problem with talking about race into sharp relief.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 0225 GMT (1025 HKT)
Mo'ne Davis is the first girl to throw a shutout in the Little League World Series. She's an inspiration, but will she change the face of the sport?
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
There is a reason why when people post pictures of themselves during their middle school years on Facebook for "Throw Back Thursday," we all stop and take notice.
It could cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars to raise your child -- and that's not even including college costs, according to new government estimates.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 0409 GMT (1209 HKT)
From parent to son, uncle to nephew, there's a raw, private conversation being revived in America in the wake of violence in Ferguson, Missouri.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 0150 GMT (0950 HKT)
Children sometimes get left out of our conversations about mental illness. The truth is, they suffer too.
August 12, 2014 -- Updated 2114 GMT (0514 HKT)
CNN's Kat Kinsman says that talking freely about personal mental health and suicidal thoughts can help others.
August 12, 2014 -- Updated 1726 GMT (0126 HKT)
morning person
Easy tips on how to improve everything from your dinner order to the song in your head to your career.
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1733 GMT (0133 HKT)
The case of an Arizona mom who left her kids in a car during a job interview highlights the fluid line between bad parenting and criminal behavior.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1941 GMT (0341 HKT)
A children's book about gun rights has benefited from an unexpected boost in sales after it became the subject of a mocking segment on a talk show.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1505 GMT (2305 HKT)
Some campers and counselors keep the campfire flames burning with summer flings that become lifetime commitments.
August 1, 2014 -- Updated 1143 GMT (1943 HKT)
After letting her 7-year-old son walk from their home to a park to play, a Florida mother faces up to five years in jail for child neglect.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1916 GMT (0316 HKT)
Lindsey Rogers-Seitz, who lost her son in a hot car, hopes mandatory technology in cars and car seats will stop child death from heatstroke in cars.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
Not to mention your jeans, bras and pillows? Here's a definitive guide to keeping all your quarters clean.
Imagination Playgrounds have snaking tunnels, platforms and springy mats just like any other playground. But they're different in one fundamental way -- they're built by kids.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1535 GMT (2335 HKT)
Grammy Award-winning singer Sarah McLachlan, a 46-year-old divorced mom of two girls, talks about parenting, sex and whether women can have it all.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1154 GMT (1954 HKT)
Researchers say physical punishment actually alters the brain.
Post your personal essays and original photos, and tell us how it really is.
cnn, parents, parenting, logo
Get the latest kid-related buzz, confessions from imperfect parents and the download on the digital life of families here at CNN Parents.
ADVERTISEMENT