I am so relieved; Time Magazine’s Person Of The Year 2017 isn’t an accused sexual predator like last year. The magazine announced that their annual Person Of the Year honor is being shared among The Silence Breakers, the brave women who lit the fire that started the growing public movement against sexual assault and harassment.
The feature starts with Ashley Judd, the first person in the film industry to go on the record, recounting her 1997 meeting with Harvey Weinstein. Judd:
“Literally, I exited that hotel room at the Peninsula Hotel in 1997 and came straight downstairs to the lobby, where my dad was waiting for me, because he happened to be in Los Angeles from Kentucky, visiting me on the set. And he could tell by my face—to use his words—that something devastating had happened to me. I told him. I told everyone.”
Judd also says that, at the time, there was only a “whisper network” within the industry that allowed for women to occasionally warn each other.
“Were we supposed to call some fantasy attorney general of moviedom? There wasn’t a place for us to report these experiences.”
Other Silence Breakers in Time’s piece include Rose McGowan, art curator Amanda Schmitt, Taylor Swift, actor Terry Crews, housekeeper Juana Melara, farm worker Isabel Pascual, and many others. Some of the women remain anonymous, with fears of their livelihood being threatened or being ostracized in their communities.
Time’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal writes that the magazine’s decision to:
”…spotlight one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s. For giving voice to open secrets, for moving whisper networks onto social networks, for pushing us all to stop accepting the unacceptable, the Silence Breakers are the 2017 Person of the Year”
Time’s Person Of The Year, was called Man Of The Year or Woman Of The Year until 1999. The annual issue profiles a person, a group, an idea, or an object that “for better or for worse… has done the most to influence the events of the year”. Pairs of people such as married couples and political opponents, classes of people, The Computer (Machine Of The Year in 1982), and Endangered Earth (Planet Of The Year in 1988), American Women (People Of The Year in 1975) have all been selected for the special year-end issue.
Last year, the honor went to the most prominent sexual predator on the planet, Donald J. Trump. Time could have named that issue “Pussy Grabber Of The Century”.