Culture

Time’s Person Of The Year Are The “Silence Breakers” Behind #MeToo

"This is the fastest moving social change we've seen in decades."

Time magazine has bestowed the title of Person of the Year on the “silence breakers” who spoke out about sexual harassment and assault.

In a year when the news cycle has been dominated by stories of powerful men — in the entertainment industry, the media, politics and everyday life — using their influence to exploit and abuse, the editors at Time paid tribute to the individuals of “all races, all income classes, all occupations and virtually all corners of the globe” whose “collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results”.

Included on the cover of the magazine were celebrities Ashley Judd and Taylor Swift, Uber engineer Susan Fowler, lobbyist Adama Iwu and a strawberry picker from Mexico identified as “Isabel Pascual”, a pseudonym designed to protect her identity. The cover also features the arm and shoulder of a sixth woman, an anonymous hospital worker from Texas who took part in the shoot “as an act of solidarity to represent all those who could not speak out”.

The accompanying article shares the stories of the women featured on the cover, as well as numerous other victims of harassment and assault, including actors Rose McGowan and Terry Crews, Oregon State Senator Sara Gelser, journalist Megyn Kelly, housekeeper Juana Melera and university professor Celeste Kidd, as well as Tarana Burke, creator of the #MeToo movement.

The article also touches on the sexual assault allegations that have been levelled against last year’s Time Person of the Year, US President Donald Trump. In November, Trump tweeted that he “took a pass” on being named Person of the Year for a second time after being told it would involve “an interview and a major photo shoot”. Time subsequently tweeted back that the President was “incorrect”.

In the end, Trump did make this year’s shortlist, along with Chinese President Xi Jinping, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, NFL player and activist Colin Kaepernick, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and former FBI director Robert Mueller, the man who is currently leading the investigation into purported ties between Russia and President Trump’s election campaign.

Rounding out the shortlist were the “Dreamers”, undocumented immigrants living in the United States eligible for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which was recently rescinded by the Trump administration.

In announcing this year’s winner on NBC’s TodayTIME editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal called the #MeToo movement “the fastest moving social change we’ve seen in decades” that began “with individual acts of courage”.