recommended-readingRanging from buddies to body image to business to work-life balance and beyond, we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss this compendium of 25 articles from 2012 that the Huffington Post believes should be required reading for women…so without further ado, do yourself a favor and take a moment out of your holiday schedule to see which articles below may cause you to reflect, get inspired, or otherwise change your outlook for 2013!

“Transformation and Transcendence: The Power of Female Friendship” 
Emily Rapp, The Rumpus

Rapp learned that friendships with women are more than just nice supplements to the “real” relationships in our lives and that the views we have in our early 20s may change over time.

“At the Pinnacle of Hillary Clinton\’92s Career” 
Rachael Combe, ELLE

Before Texts From Hillary, before the beer drinking in Cartagena, before the dancing in Malawi, this article pointed out something the world was finally starting to realize: Hillary Clinton is pretty awesome.

“Ashley Judd Slaps the Media in the Face of Her ‘Puffy’ Appearance”
Ashley Judd, The Daily Beast

The actress and activist could have ignored the speculation about her face. Instead, she seized the opportunity to talk about the persistent objectification of women and why it needs to stop.

“All the Weddings I Have Ever Been To, as I Remember Them”
Jen Doll, The Hairpin
Those of us who feel like singles on a wedding-go-round could relate to Doll’s experiences as a frequent, if imperfect, guest. She said the reaction to the piece convinced her to write a book on the topic.

“The Ripped, Bikini-Clad Reverend”
The Rev. Dr. Amy Richter, New York Times Magazine
How many of us would put on a two-piece swimsuit and participate in a fitness pageant for “personal enrichment”? This Episcopal priest — yes, a priest — did.

“It’s Different for ‘Girls'” 
Emily Nussbaum, New York Magazine

Nussbaum told us “Girls” was worth watching. She told us Lena Dunham was talented, insightful and brilliant. She was right on both counts.

“Being Mean to Fat People Is Pointless: A Good Old-Fashioned Plea for Civility”
Lindy West, Jezebel

Fed up with the way Americans talk about obesity and the shame tactics used against the overweight, West provided a lesson in humanity and a reminder that “fat people are people.”

“I Know Why the Fat Lady Sings” 
Caitlin Moran, Wall Street Journal

If you’ve never really thought about overeating as the “addiction of choice” for women, it may because no one’s talking about it. The author of “How to Be a Woman” suggests it’s time to change that.

“Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” 
Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Atlantic

The Princeton professor and former State Department official sparked a nationwide discussion about work-life balance and what needs to be done to make it a reality.

“Can Modern Women ‘Have It All'”? 
Rebecca Traister, Salon

Slaughter’s piece provoked responses across the Web, but Traister’s was one of the best. The writer called for an end to the phrase “have it all,” calling it a trap that sets women up for failure.

“Seeing Nora Everywhere” 
Lena Dunham, The New Yorker

In a moving tribute that was also one of the best pieces of writing we read this year, Dunham revealed the way in which Ephron reached out to, befriended and encouraged younger writers. “Her advice was unparalleled,” Dunham wrote.

“Ann Bauer Looks Beyond the Mirror”
Ann Bauer, ELLE
In this candid essay, Bauer opened up about what it was like growing up “ugly” — and how she was finally able to think differently about her appearance.

“Dear Sugar, I Could Really Use Your Help Here”
Anna Holmes, New York Times

It takes a brave writer to review a book in the very beloved, very distinct style of its author. Holmes did it for her very first New York Times book review — and she did it beautifully.

“I’m Letting Go of My Pregnancy Dreams” 
Emily McCombs, XO Jane

McCombs reminded us that having a baby isn’t the only way to have a family.

“Why Photoshop Isn’t As Big Of A Deal As Everyone Makes It Out To Be”
Amy Odell, Buzzfeed Shift

Body positive activists get worked up over retouching in magazines, but Odell suggested that “Photoshop has become a scapegoat for and distraction from the thin-obsessed culture that’s become part of daily life for millions of women across the country.” Don’t miss the last line.

“Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives”
Mimi Swartz, Texas Monthly 

With some of the best reporting of the year, Swartz gave us a comprehensive look at the battles waged over health care in Texas and what they may mean for women around the country.
(Registration required, but is free and worth it.)

“Numbers About My Mother”
Melissa Chandler, The Hairpin

It couldn’t have been an easy piece to write, but Chandler’s retelling of the days following her mother’s suicide attempt is powerful and heartbreaking.

“Boys on the Side”
Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic

The author of “The End of Men” argued that women are hardly victims of “hookup culture.” Instead, they’re proponents of it — and for good reason.

“The Mom Stays in the Picture” 
Allison Tate, HuffPost Parents

When Tate wrote about her realization that she needed to appear in family photos no matter how she felt about her body, she clearly struck a nerve: More than 2,200 moms sent in photos with their kids.

“How to Be Friends With a Congresswoman”
Erin Gloria Ryan, Jezebel

This piece about the bond between Gabrielle Giffords and Debbie Wasserman Schultz brought the site’s commenters to tears.

“The F Word”
Jennifer Weiner, Allure

When Weiner’s daughter called another girl fat, it brought up memories of her lifelong struggle with her own weight. The author’s doubts about how she handled the situation make the piece even more relatable, and the end will break your heart.