Two weeks ago, President Trump tweeted his preemptive excuses for not being named, in his words, “Man of the Year.” Trump’s chauvinistic use of the pre-1999 term for TIME Magazine’s much anticipated annual “Person of the Year” has to make the real winner all the more difficult for the president to stomach. (Cover below.)
TIME had to issue a fact check in November of Trump’s claim that he declined the offer because they couldn’t guarantee him the title, slapping the president down in no uncertain terms:
The President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year. TIME does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6.
— TIME (@TIME) November 25, 2017
Though perhaps inadvertently, TIME was not done getting under Trump’s skin.
TIME’s 2017 person of the year, is the #MeToo movement, “the silence breakers,” the women (and some men too) who have shed a harsh and much-needed light on the pervasive culture of sexual harassment and assault in the work place perpetrated by men of great power.
Edward Felsenthal writes of the esteemed cover for TIME:
The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover—Ashley Judd, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu, Taylor Swift and Isabel Pascual—along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s. Social media acted as a powerful accelerant; the hashtag #MeToo has now been used millions of times in at least 85 countries. “I woke up and there were 32,000 replies in 24 hours,” says actor Alyssa Milano, who, after the first Weinstein story broke, helped popularize the phrase coined years before by Tarana Burke. “And I thought, My God, what just happened? I think it’s opening the floodgates.” To imagine Rosa Parks with a Twitter account is to wonder how much faster civil rights might have progressed.
Trump has been accused of at least a dozen instance of sexual misconduct and even rape, notoriously bragging about sexual assault on tape on an Access Hollywood bus. The TIME article explaining the choice even includes mention of Trump’s attitude toward women:
While polls from the 2016 campaign revealed the predictable divisions in American society, large majorities—including women who supported Donald Trump—said Trump had little respect for women. “I remember feeling powerless,” says Fowler, the former Uber engineer who called out the company’s toxic culture, “like even the government wasn’t looking out for us.”
The recognition of the silence breakers is much deserved. In just a few months, in opening up and telling their stories, courageous victims of sexual assault have begun the process of making work places safer for women, changed the way people do business, toppled giants, and transformed the complexion of our government.
Let’s hope they’re just getting started.