"The Silence Breakers" are TIME's 2017 Person of the Year
December 6, 2017 5:24 AM   Subscribe

The Silence Breakers. "The people who have broken their silence on sexual assault and harassment span all races, all income classes, all occupations and virtually all corners of the globe. Their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results. For their influence on 2017, they are TIME’s Person of the Year."

TIME explains their choice, which included interviews with several dozen men and women across the world and economic spectrum. Some victims who were interviewed asked to remain anonymous.

The cover photo shows only a sample of the people and their actions that motivated this year's decision: actress Ashley Judd, victim of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein; engineer Susan Fowler, who revealed widespread sexual misconduct at Uber; Adama Iwu, the VISA lobbyist who launched a campaign to expose harassment in California politics, musician Taylor Swift, who faced a radio DJ in court this year who attempted to silence her with a defamation lawsuit, and Isabel Pascual (a pseudonym to protect her identity), an immigrant farmworker in California who is among the many victims in America largely due to the vulnerability of their status and situation.

The short list for this year included U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, activist Colin Kaepernick, and director Patty Jenkins.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (73 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite
 
The short list for this year included U.S. President Donald Trump

I can't help but think that this was just a hand-wave in his direction so they could say that they at least considered him. Certainly he's up there in the biggest stories of the year, but I can't imagine that they'd ever give him this cover.

Regardless, I'm dead certain that he's going to interpret this very good choice as being a personal attack against him, and that is almost as good as the choice itself.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:37 AM on December 6 [60 favorites]


An aside note: I've done a thing where I time how fast each year someone makes a "darn I hoped it would be me again" joke and, well, I'm not doing it for this one.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:38 AM on December 6 [29 favorites]


I still think it should've been the "This is fine" dog.

(But really, no, this is a good choice by Time)
posted by pompomtom at 5:38 AM on December 6 [30 favorites]


A bright spot, on Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. For non-Canadians- it's the 28th anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre, when a man armed with a gun and hunting knife, marched into the engineering department of a university and started shooting women, claiming that he was "fighting feminism". I'm seeing a lot of talk about the anniversary on social media this year, and can't help but feel that the success of the #metoo movement is linked to that somehow.
posted by peppermind at 5:45 AM on December 6 [54 favorites]


I'm dead certain that he's going to interpret this very good choice as being a personal attack against him...

Yeah, that's pretty much a given. Although, Trump and Time already had a kerfuffle over this a couple of weeks ago.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:47 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


I figured, given that the Person of the Year can be awarded for negative impact, that Donald Trump would be up there. My guesses were that it'd be either the shadow Trump cast over the world, or about the dramatic shift in how we talk about sexual harassment and assault over the year. While it'd warm my heart to see Trump finally get his Person of the Year cover except it's deeply, deeply unflattering, I think he's less important* than the change in culture around powerful men and what they're allowed to get away with.

* Number 2 is the first loser, as the saying goes, and President Trump really is the First Loser.
posted by Merus at 5:47 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


I have issues with Taylor Swift being a poster child for the Silence Breakers when she actively works to silence her critics, and wish Rose McGowan could have taken her place on the cover.

Other than that. This is good.
posted by Ruki at 5:48 AM on December 6 [59 favorites]


Awesome to see Terry Crews up there. He's not seen nearly the support in Hollywood that some other folks have gotten, perhaps given that the person he accused, Adam Venit, reps Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Emma Stone and Dustin Hoffman.

Some folks have his back, though. And that number is growing.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:48 AM on December 6 [31 favorites]


I was rooting for Kaepernick, but this is good.
posted by Fig at 5:49 AM on December 6 [12 favorites]


Taylor Swift says she was made to feel bad about the consequences that her harasser faced. After she complained about a Denver radio DJ named David Mueller, who reached under her skirt and grabbed her rear end, Mueller was fired. He sued Swift for millions in damages. She countersued for a symbolic $1 and then testified about the incident in August. Mueller's lawyer asked her, on the witness stand, whether she felt bad that she'd gotten him fired.
"I'm not going to let you or your client make me feel in any way that this is my fault," she told the lawyer. "I'm being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions. Not mine." (Mueller said he would appeal.)


Regardless of the Official Opinion on Taylor Swift, I think that's a pretty epic and notable thing for the worlds biggest pop star to do.
posted by windbox at 5:52 AM on December 6 [172 favorites]


I figured, given that the Person of the Year can be awarded for negative impact, that Donald Trump would be up there.

TIME has been doing the "short list" thing for a few years now, because no matter how hard they try otherwise people seem to interpret POTY as an award (including Trump, who notably claimed he "refused the offer" which wasn't made, because, you know, it's not an award). I think it's their way of staving off accusations that someone/something else was "ignored."

However, if Trump had been picked, he'd have been only the second person to ever be Person of the Year in two consecutive years. The other was... Richard Nixon.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:54 AM on December 6 [13 favorites]


And the first comment complaining about Taylor Swift is in.... how predictable..
posted by Pendragon at 5:55 AM on December 6 [6 favorites]


And Rose McGowan is also problematic.
posted by Pendragon at 5:57 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


I don't see Anthony Rapp's story mentioned, and I hope it's because he declined to part of the story rather than an oversight. Otherwise, I do like this choice.

I hope Kaepernick's moment is still to come when his lawsuit dismantles the NFL as we know it.
posted by gladly at 5:57 AM on December 6 [9 favorites]


I have issues with Taylor Swift being a poster child for the Silence Breakers when she actively works to silence her critics, and wish Rose McGowan could have taken her place on the cover.

The glaring omission for me was Kesha, though for all I know she may have refused or had other personal/legal reasons not to be interviewed. I appreciate that Swift mentioned her in her interview.

When I saw the cover, admittedly one of my first thoughts was "oh, people are going to be mad that Swift's on the cover" and I think, honestly, that might be part of why she needed to be. Swift (and Megyn Kelly, also interviewed) represent a very important part of this story: people who you can dislike but also acknowledge are victims and deserve the same belief and support.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:04 AM on December 6 [102 favorites]


It's because she's the most famous.
posted by ominous_paws at 6:07 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


Ah men.
posted by infini at 6:11 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


I'm not much into Taylor Swift, but her testimony in court was a thing of beauty. She destroyed that asshole.
posted by thelonius at 6:13 AM on December 6 [28 favorites]


Who bought TIME again?
posted by infini at 6:15 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


I have issues with Taylor Swift being a poster child for the Silence Breakers when she actively works to silence her critics, and wish Rose McGowan could have taken her place on the cover.

This makes me feel gross - a consistent strategy that defense lawyers have used against women in sexual assault cases is to focus on any other perceived moral failing in their life as a way to take their story away from them. I don't know why we have to do that here with Taylor as that territory has been well-tread. Even terrible people can be victims and deserve the same support when confronting their abusers.
posted by notorious medium at 6:16 AM on December 6 [96 favorites]


Infini, the fuckin' evil Koch brothers
posted by barchan at 6:21 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


TIME has been doing the "short list" thing for a few years now, because no matter how hard they try otherwise people seem to interpret POTY as an award (including Trump, who notably claimed he "refused the offer" which wasn't made, because, you know, it's not an award). I think it's their way of staving off accusations that someone/something else was "ignored."

I feel them on that, I guess, but not calling it "person of the year" is an easy fix that would go a long way toward correcting that. They purposefully gave it an award's name. And I realize they did that because a more accurate label wouldn't sell as many magazines, but that's the cost.

If I say that McDonald's chocolate shake is Milkshake of the Year, I can talk about sales or geographic footprint or whatever all I want to, but people are going to think I'm calling it the best shake of the year, and they're going to have feelings about that. Anyway, I kind of like the short list.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:25 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


I'm not much into Taylor Swift, but her testimony in court was a thing of beauty. She destroyed that asshole.

Seconded. Every single step of the way she refused to back down and put the onus of blame squarely back where it belonged, and in a way that also underscored how it's implied that the victims of sexual attacks somehow were complicit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:25 AM on December 6 [51 favorites]


Yes, Taylor Swift was a victim, too, and I do admire the way she handled it. I object to the name Silence Breaker. I am not saying she wasn't a victim. I am not saying she doesn't deserve support. I am saying it's an odd title to give her when she uses silencing as a tactic herself. I happen to think that's relevant in an article called The Silence Breakers.
posted by Ruki at 6:31 AM on December 6 [11 favorites]


Taylor Swift supported Kesha financially during the latter's court case against Dr. Luke (Kesha is one of the more glaring oversights, but honestly, Time got so much right this time that I’m willing to overlook it).
posted by Kattullus at 6:42 AM on December 6 [30 favorites]


This is great. Just going to toss in here that Tarana Burke, a black woman, had the idea for #MeToo around 10 years ago, to call attention to minority groups that weren't typically offered help by rape crisis centers and advocates.
posted by FirstMateKate at 6:48 AM on December 6 [32 favorites]


Tarana Burke is one of the women photographed (not on the cover, though) and mentioned in the article.

This was the great unleashing that turned the #MeToo hashtag into a rallying cry. The phrase was first used more than a decade ago by social activist Tarana Burke as part of her work building solidarity among young survivors of harassment and assault. A friend of the actor Alyssa Milano sent her a screenshot of the phrase, and Milano, almost on a whim, tweeted it out on Oct. 15. "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet," she wrote, and then went to sleep. She woke up the next day to find that more than 30,000 people had used #MeToo. Milano burst into tears.

At first, those speaking out were mostly from the worlds of media and entertainment, but the hashtag quickly spread. "We have to keep our focus on people of different class and race and gender," says Burke, who has developed a friendship with Milano via text messages. By November, California farmworkers, Pascual among them, were marching on the streets of Hollywood to express their solidarity with the stars.

posted by paisley sheep at 6:57 AM on December 6 [20 favorites]


The Koch Bros did not buy Time. Meredith Corp bought Time; the Koch’s invested $600M in the deal.
posted by notyou at 7:06 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


Kesha is one of the more glaring oversights, but honestly, Time got so much right this time that I’m willing to overlook it

I'm not. That's not a minor oversight. She got flayed for doing it when it was not posh to speak out. What had been said about her -- by other women, no less -- was utterly revolting.

Her treatment didn't fit the convenient narrative, and so, just leave her out, meaning the choice was meant to pander, nothing else.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:41 AM on December 6 [33 favorites]


McGowan apologized for using the word.
posted by brujita at 7:49 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


Tarana Burke is one of the women photographed (not on the cover, though) and mentioned in the article.

It bewilders me that she is not on the cover. She invented the movement.

On second thought, I am completely unsurprised.
posted by maxsparber at 7:58 AM on December 6 [21 favorites]


Kesha is one of the more glaring oversights, but honestly, Time got so much right this time that I’m willing to overlook it

I think this primarily has to do with chronology. Her case against Dr. Luke is from early 2016, and this is 2017's Person of the Year. We could launch the names of several more women who came forward in the past few years, but I think the editors had to draw a hard line for the sake of consistency.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 8:01 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


This is an odd place to do this... But forgive me, I feel this is a safe environment and I just want to get this story off my chest. Hope it's okay.

So, this is my #metoo story. In my mid 20s I still hung out quite a bit with a group of people from my best friend’s high school. I did not go to school with them but since my friend and I went pretty much everywhere together, I ended up becoming their friend. Or so I thought.

At around 2 am on a night of hard partying at one of their parents’ place, a smaller group of them decided they wanted to go on a coke run. I had never tried the stuff (still never have) but decided I would tag along. I was very very drunk and had been smoking weed too. So we get into M’s little car, with my best friend riding shotgun, and me and N in the back seat.

We were all pretty wasted, and I passed out not long into the ride. But, I wake up to N fondling my balls. His hand was under my pants, and under my underwear. Direct contact. Now, I had never given him any indication I was into him, and for all I knew he wasn’t even into guys. In my drunken stupor, and shock/disbelief at this happening to me, I just kinda shuffled away from him, didn’t say anything or even opened my eyes, I guess I just wanted to pretend it wasn’t happening. He got the hint and put his hand away, and I fell asleep again.

Now this must have been a long ride, because I woke up to his hands down my pants again. This time I did grab his hand and put it away, and turned away from him. I was still wasted so I couldn’t help but fall asleep again, and slept through the whole adventure of them trying (and maybe failing? Can’t remember) to score some blow.

Now, the ugly part was the group’s reaction when I started sharing the story the next day. Nobody expressed outright disbelief, but I think they were pissed at me for airing their (older) friend’s dirty laundry. They stopped inviting me to stuff, and I haven’t seen or heard of most of them in years. Good riddance, I suppose.
posted by papafrita at 8:20 AM on December 6 [52 favorites]


I'm all for the Silence Breakers, it's a good call. People are listening now, and there are consequences, some of them surprisingly (ahem) swift.

Victims have been talking about abuse + worse since ever. The difference with the "Silence Breakers" is not only that they are talking, but that they are being heard & taken seriously.

Long time coming, really.
posted by chavenet at 8:36 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


papafrita, I sympathize (and empathize); I am also male and have been on the receiving end of unwanted attention from a man, and I didn't really speak up during the cresting wave of #metoo: partly because I didn't want to be the dude demanding spotlight time when women were sharing traumatic histories, and partly because mine was limited to harassment and cyberstalking and a level of physical contact that seemed calculated to stay on the edge of plausible deniability. I never felt myself in physical danger of assault, but that is my big white guy privilege shielding me.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:13 AM on December 6 [13 favorites]


The roots of TIME’s annual franchise—singling out the person or persons who most influenced the events of the year—lie in the so-called great man theory of history, a phrasing that sounds particularly anachronistic at this moment.

That is ice cold shade.
posted by chavenet at 9:18 AM on December 6 [31 favorites]




Papafrita: Any time is an okay time to speak your story. Thank you for trusting us with it. I'm sorry that happened to you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:29 AM on December 6 [17 favorites]


And Rose McGowan is also problematic.

You shouldn't have to be pure to have a voice.
posted by bonehead at 9:38 AM on December 6 [82 favorites]


It's the same for Swift above---regardless of what you think of her personally, she deserves, as all humans do, basic decency.

Nitpicking that she or anyone else isn't perfect is whataboutism.
posted by bonehead at 9:41 AM on December 6 [11 favorites]


Yes, Taylor Swift was a victim, too, and I do admire the way she handled it. I object to the name Silence Breaker. I am not saying she wasn't a victim. I am not saying she doesn't deserve support. I am saying it's an odd title to give her when she uses silencing as a tactic herself. I happen to think that's relevant in an article called The Silence Breakers.

The article is explicitly about people who have broken silence on sexual assault, not just some sort of generic notion of breaking silence on anything. Has Taylor Swift silenced people's claims of sexual assault? If so, I'm confused as to the point you're making. Women who you believe have silenced people on some unrelated subject are not exempt from being considered 'silence breakers' on the silence surrounding sexual assault.
posted by armadillo1224 at 9:51 AM on December 6 [6 favorites]


For fuck's sake, this is really not the thread for your "Taylor Swift is no angel" comments.

The whole fucking point is that "She's no angel" is used to discredit women who make claims of sexual assault and harassment
posted by medusa at 9:57 AM on December 6 [71 favorites]


When the history of this moment is written, they had better remember Kesha, because the first ones over the ridge always get hit the hardest in an attempt to intimidate everyone behind them, and boy howdy did she take one Hell of a hit over all this.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:08 AM on December 6 [66 favorites]


Nitpicking that she or anyone else isn't perfect is whataboutism.

That's what I was, clumsily, trying to say.
posted by Pendragon at 10:08 AM on December 6


and partly because mine was limited to harassment and cyberstalking and a level of physical contact that seemed calculated to stay on the edge of plausible deniability. I never felt myself in physical danger of assault, but that is my big white guy privilege shielding me.

Richochet Biscuit, if it makes you feel any better, it's not necessarily your privilege shielding you, that is actually textbook MO. Calculated to stay on the edge of plausible deniability is the perfect defense against silly-women-who-can-believe-them? and anyone with less power. Disrupting the social circle gives us enormous anxiety and plausible deniability lets the circle remain intact while giving cover and defense to abusers. I would guess that an overwhelming percentage of offenses fall into this category.

Thanks for telling your story and you, too, Papafrita.
posted by amanda at 10:40 AM on December 6 [12 favorites]


And Rose McGowan is also problematic.

McGowan apologized for using the word.


Its not like she's actual grown and learned from her mistakes. I can't think of a better example of failure to understand intersectionality and pushing LGBT community to the back of the line then this.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:26 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


How about instead of trying to point fingers at problematic people, we talk about the people who are awesome?

Anthony Rapp is handling the post-Spacey stuff with an INSANE amount of dignity.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:34 PM on December 6 [13 favorites]


The "Taylor Swift is no angel" comes from her history of implicit to explicit racism: exploiting the racist Vulnerable White Woman vs Angry Black Man trope, gawping at black women's bodies, her bizarre refusal to just say "I don't support Nazis" as it's fine to light she's a favored celebrity of the white supremacist movementmovement. I thought her testimony was great. But WOC sexual abuse survivors are disproportionately silenced and #metoo was started by a black woman. Saying it's "silencing" to criticize Swift being featured, especially when Tarana Burke was not, is a pretty huge intersectional fail. Even moreso in light of the fact that it took white women speaking out to get the movement started, and even now white survivors get more focus.

The article itself is wonderful. But sexual harassment and the denigration of woman does not occur in a bubble of Generic Patriarchy and the issue cannot be fixed without incorporating that fact.
posted by schroedinger at 12:41 PM on December 6 [19 favorites]


especially when Tarana Burke was not

but she was
posted by mrmurbles at 12:45 PM on December 6 [4 favorites]


Also, I think men MUST share their stories, because the shame heaped on men for being sexual assault victims is part and parcel of the patriarchy and its dehumanization of women. A man who suffers is "weak"--i.e. feminine--because men are supposed to be strong and the aggressors. And that expectation for men to be dominant and in control is part of the driving force behind sexual assault.
posted by schroedinger at 12:49 PM on December 6 [21 favorites]


For the love of whatever's still sacred, can this thread please not derail into Taylor Swift's Problematic? It wasn't even a good album.
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 12:49 PM on December 6 [11 favorites]


To the men who keep quiet: Your suffering is not an imposition. What happened to you is worthy of your pain and the world's compassion. You deserve to have a voice, to be upset, to be heard, and you should not be left feeling you must crush it down and endure this alone. You have been hurt. It is already cruel we expect men to minimize their vulnerabilities. To do so in the face of what can be such a profound physical and psychological violation is truly monstrous.
posted by schroedinger at 1:00 PM on December 6 [18 favorites]


Sunshine is the best disinfectant.
posted by ShakeyJake at 1:54 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


especially when Tarana Burke was not

but she was


Was she on the cover?
posted by palomar at 2:10 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


Was she on the cover?

She should have been front and center. You can't research your biggest issue of the year, know who Tarana Burke is, and rationally decide it would be better to put her inside, especially when you are going to feature multiple women on the cover. No excuse.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:21 PM on December 6 [14 favorites]


And I just realized I am just as guilty of omitting Tarana Burke. I won't do that again.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:02 PM on December 6


She should have been front and center. You can't research your biggest issue of the year, know who Tarana Burke is, and rationally decide it would be better to put her inside, especially when you are going to feature multiple women on the cover. No excuse.

But you can. Maybe she didn't want to be on the cover. Maybe they did make an editorial decision to keep the cover to women who have come forward in 2017. Maybe 8 million other things.

Obviously white women are tremendously privileged over black women in this arena, and every other. The media cares more when it happens to white women. They give white women more credit when they step forward. But this specific critique -- the feature is wrong because Burke isn't on the cover and Swift is included -- doesn't prove that point.
posted by mrmurbles at 3:11 PM on December 6


Gabrielle Union gave a fantastic interview to the NYTimes this week, about her memoir, but also about her experiences talking about sexual assault and her thoughts about the current movement. If you don't grasp why it's bad optics at the very least to not include the creator of the #metoo movement on a magazine cover about how important that movement is right now, then maybe Ms. Union can enlighten you.
posted by palomar at 3:20 PM on December 6 [10 favorites]


Strictly in terms of who most dominated the headlines, it obviously should have gone to Trump, the cancerous growth on the world's face. But the Silence Breakers are certainly noteworthy and it makes me happy to imagine Trump throwing a tantrum over this.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:30 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


I'd agree if the cover was a more generic theme, but it specifically references the #metoo movement: Time magazine says the women who shared stories about sexual harassment and abuse through the #metoo campaign — the "silence breakers" — are its Person of the Year.

In any event, I'm happy that this was "who" Time chose.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:41 PM on December 6


I am glad Time came up with this, 'bout time.
posted by Oyéah at 4:08 PM on December 6


Why not "PersonS of the Year"? (I know they can't use 'People' because its a whole 'nother magazine)
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:16 PM on December 6




I really love the portrait photography in this feature, and think it’s a perfect fit for the piece. It’s somehow both stark yet very warm, tonally addressing the gravity of the situation without stripping away the humanity of the subjects. They’re not photographed as victims, but as people who have been victimized.
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:39 PM on December 6


but she was

I was talking about the cover.

As I said though--my annoyance with Swift aside, inside the actual magazine the stories were powerful, the portraiture gorgeous, and the feature in general was very moving and did justice to the topic, the people it profiled, and the women who've spoken up. I don't want my comments above to give the impression I hated the whole thing. Swift was a crazy fail but otherwise it was really lovely and important and required reading.
posted by schroedinger at 8:42 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


oneswellfoop: Why not "PersonS of the Year"? (I know they can't use 'People' because its a whole 'nother magazine)

I’ve thought on occasion that they should change it to Story of the Year. That wouldn’t preclude them choosing a single person, but would still allow for choices like this one. (Am I misremembering, or wasn’t “the home computer” the “Person of the Year” once?)
posted by tzikeh at 9:08 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


This pissing over which celebrity deserves the cover underscores for me how so far this reckoning has seemingly only brought justice and retribution to those who can bring it to the media. Everyone else's #metoo just ticks over a counter for all it seems to have been worth. I'm afraid I can't express myself well on this one but if hope next year's cover would be a few million otherwise anonymous #metoos. Justice shouldn't just be for the .1%.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 9:15 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


Yeah, your pithy dismissal sounds nice on the surface but reflects a deep ignorance about the origins of the movement and the debate around whose voices are featured and who is given credit and attention.

First of all--unlike Swift, Tarana Burke is not, and never has been a celebrity. Which is the whole goddamn problem, because she should be receiving that recognition. I am struggling how anybody could come to that conclusion that her privilege, media and public access, income, social recognition, etc is anywhere near even a B-list celebrity, much less Taylor Swift. So portraying the debate as a bunch of shallow celebrities fighting is incredibly disingenuous.

I find it ironic that you're talking about #metoo only applying to the 0.1% when the entire controversy is over the relative lack of attention paid to WOC, who are both disproportionately affected by sexual assault and disproportionately dismissed and shamed. The new #metoo wave hasn't changed this at all. It was started by a WOC but is primarily associated with famous white women, the original #metoo campaign was only one of multiple campaigns that were initiated by WOC and ignored until a white woman popularized it (if one did at all), and even now the stories of white women are dominating the media narrative.

I am not saying the guilt you or be Social-Justicery-Than-Thou. I am making an issue of this because the history of the USA has demonstrated that social justice movements that do not specifically account for the stacking effect of marginalized identities are social justice movements whose benefits end up delivered to the most privileged. Women's suffrage in the USA is an extremely good example of this. I doubt most people here believe in trickle-down economics--so I don't know why anyone would act like human rights work the same way.
posted by schroedinger at 12:58 AM on December 7 [12 favorites]


schroedinger, that was Ogre Lawless' first comment in the thread. I think you might have misread it and also confused them with someone else?
posted by tobascodagama at 8:24 AM on December 7


I think this primarily has to do with chronology. Her case against Dr. Luke is from early 2016, and this is 2017's Person of the Year. We could launch the names of several more women who came forward in the past few years, but I think the editors had to draw a hard line for the sake of consistency.

But she is being sued for defamation as a result and lost her appeal, and all of that is happening now. It was very relevant to the article.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 1:13 PM on December 9 [3 favorites]




'Feminism' is Merriam-Webster's word of the year
(Link to Merriam-Webster write-up of top look-ups of 2017. The other top words are also notable; e.g., complicit, recuse...)
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 11:09 PM on December 12 [4 favorites]


Brent Lang in Variety has an excellent interview with Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, How New York Times Reporters Broke Hollywood’s Biggest Sexual Harassment Story. Here's a bit that addresses a concern that's come up here:
Did you have any idea that the Weinstein reporting would open the floodgates on other stories of powerful media figures engaging in sexual abuse?
Kantor: It’s counterintuitive. One of our editors said to us, “You know he’s not that famous.” It was true, because Weinstein was Hollywood famous, but he wasn’t a household name. One of our editors, Matt Purdy, has an interesting theory, which is that this was the rare situation in which the accusers were more famous than the accused.

I’m of two minds about the potency of fame in making this story impactful. On one hand, I kind of resist and resent it, because I believe every woman’s story counts. Harvey Weinstein appears to have done the same thing to a lot of women regardless of their stature in the industry. As a journalist and as a human being, I don’t like the idea of weighting the more famous women’s stories more heavily than the lesser-known women’s stories. That said, I have to concede that the impact of big stars like Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow going on the record was enormous, in part because they were saying it’s not shameful to tell your story. I ask myself would it have played out the same way if the really famous women had not come forward? I’m not sure it would have.
posted by languagehat at 11:55 AM on December 14 [5 favorites]


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