In most end-of-year wrap-ups, the people highlighted are those who have made a positive difference.
But when it comes to women's issues, sometimes it's the ones who try to oppress, limit, or humiliate women that mobilize us most effectively. Sometimes it's the negative difference that leads to positive change.
This was a year in which grassroots social media came into its own as a tool for women to disseminate information and unite under a specific call to action. Again and again, when the words and deeds of an infamous few threatened one woman or many, we responded in impressive numbers with strength and passion.
That's why I've put together an end-of-year list highlighting those "men behaving badly" because they prompted so many women to action. The words and actions of these bad boys of 2012 backfired on them by drawing attention to issues and situations that made women angry enough to react.
I'm not talking about the garden variety "bad behavior" of a David Petraus, but the arrogance of a legislator who refuses to have women testify at a hearing on contraceptive coverage; the ignorance of a politician who thinks that a woman who's been raped can magically prevent a pregnancy resulting from the heinous crime; or the cluelessness of a candidate who thinks that hiring competent women for his administration is as easy as opening up a binder.
What a man does to muck up his own life is his own business, but when he sets out to muck up the lives of women because of gender and personal bias, them's fighting words.
In 2012 many of us fought the good fight, and what prompted us to enter into the ring wasn't a good female role model who inspired us, but a bad boy who simply pissed us off one too many times.
Is there someone who should be on this list that I've missed? Add your nominees in the comments below.