Time magazine has finally revealed its Person of the Year for 2017, and everyone everywhere will be left cheering. The top choice for the honor goes to a group called The Silence Breakers, a name coined ostensibly by Time for the women and men who have come forward in the last year to bring sexual assault and harassment against women and in some cases men into the national conversation. Their actions and choices to live in their truth have sparked the downfall of many powerful men, especially in Hollywood, and have forced our nation to confront how we culturally approach topics of sexual assault and abuse of power.
The cover art for the issue features strawberry picker Isabel Pascual, who represents hourly workers who grapple with whether to report harassment and assault and risk their jobs; lobbyist Adama Iwu; former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, whose essay about a culture of sexual harassment went viral this year and caused massive upheaval for the company; Ashley Judd, one of the first actors to speak out against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein; and Taylor Swift, who won a sexual assault lawsuit this year against radio DJ David Mueller, asking for only $1 in damages and instead investing her time and money in a legal battle that was mostly symbolic.
President Donald Trump was the magazine’s runner-up, despite tweets he wrote last month saying he had been offered the title.
The #MeToo movement is featured heavily in Time‘s article, as is activist Tarana Burke, who created the hashtag 10 years before it went viral this year in the wake of the Weinstein scandal. Thousands of women have used the hashtag this year to tell their own stories of sexual abuse, assault and harassment at work and elsewhere. It has highlighted that our culture of allowing violence toward women is deeply ingrained. It has bolstered the movement that seems like the first ever real wind of change.
“The reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight,” Time writers Stephanie Zacharek, Eliana Dockterman and Haley Sweetland Edwards said in the article. “But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries. Women have had it with bosses and coworkers who not only cross boundaries but don’t even seem to know that boundaries exist.”
The Time honor is just another victory for women, and we can only hope this cultural shift continues beyond 2017.
© 2020 PMC. All rights reserved.