Earlier this week Time Magazine took a powerful stand against sexual harassment by choosing the #MeToo global movement for its Person of the Year edition.
The issue, titled “The Silence Breakers,” honors victims, both female and male, who found the strength to take a public stand against their abusers, shedding light on a social epidemic that has remained unchecked for far too long.
Depicted on the cover are five women who experienced sexual misconduct and used their painful experiences to inspire others to speak out against abuse. There is Adama Iwu, the San Francisco-based lobbyist who helped spark dialogs about sexual violence in the California Capitol, and Susan Fowler – a former Uber engineer who wrote an expose on sexism in the Silicone Valley. They are accompanied by musician Taylor Swift, who was mishandled by a former DJ earlier this year, and Ashley Judd – one of the first women to openly accuse Harvey Weinstein.
Representing the vast sea of abuse victims whose voices rarely get media coverage is a Mexican agricultural worker who was harassed and stalked by her boss and chose to go by the pseudonym Isabel Pascual due to safety concerns.
Also featured on the cover is the arm of a woman whose face remains concealed. Allegedly an unnamed hospital worker from Texas, she represents the millions of people who have experienced sexual misconduct but find themselves in a position where it is impossible to speak out or confront their abusers.
The announcement of Time Magazine’s selection for Person of the Year comes less than a fortnight after US President Donald Trump shared a Tweet claiming that he had turned down an offer to be on the cover of the same issue. His allegation was immediately refuted by Time. Furthermore, the authors of the Person of the Year story – Stephanie Zacharek, Eliana Dockterman, and Haley Sweetland Edwards – openly criticized Trump, explaining that it was his brazen language and actions that changed how people talk about bad sexual behavior in America:
Discussions of sexual harassment in polite company tend to rely on euphemisms: harassment becomes “inappropriate behavior,” assault becomes “misconduct,” rape becomes “abuse.” We’re accustomed to hearing those softened words, which downplay the pain of the experience. That’s one of the reasons why the Access Hollywood tape that surfaced in October 2016 was such a jolt. The language used by the man who would become America’s 45th President, captured on a 2005 recording, was, by any standard, vulgar.
Considering how bumpy 2017 has been so far, we are grateful for Time’s effort to end the year on a high, empowering note. Here’s to hoping that 2018 will bring us more justice, equality, and respect.