December 7, 2017

TIME names “The Silence Breakers” Person of the Year for 2017


Weeks after Donald Trump’s ludicrous and embarrassing claim that he “took a pass” on TIME magazine’s invitation to name him person of the year—an honor with which the President is childishly obsessed—the magazine has given the title to a group it’s calling “The Silence Breakers.”

TIME’s editor in chief Edward Felsenthal made the announcement on the “Today” show yesterday morning (just one week after the morning program’s lead anchor, Matt Lauer, was fired for sexual harassment), saying the women who spoke out against Harvey Weinstein earlier this fall, and the ensuing #MeToo movement, had triggered the “fastest-moving social change we’ve seen in decades,” and highlighted that “it began with individual acts of courage by women—and some men too—who came forward to tell their own stories about sexual harassment and assault.”

TIME’s “Silence Breakers” include Tarana Burke, the “Me Too” creator; Ashley Judd, the first woman to go on record with her allegations against Weinstein; Adama Iwu, a lobbyist; Dana Lewis, a hotel hospitality coordinator; Celeste Kidd, a university professor; Sara Gelser, a state senator; Juana Melara, a hotel housekeeper; Susan Fowler, a former Uber engineer; celebrities like Selma Blair, Rose McGowan, and Alyssa Milano; and many others.

In their piece for for TIME, Stephanie Zacharek, Eliana Dockterman, and Haley Sweetland Edwards write:

This reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight. But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries. Women have had it with bosses and co-workers who not only cross boundaries but don’t even seem to know that boundaries exist. They’ve had it with the fear of retaliation, of being blackballed, of being fired from a job they can’t afford to lose. They’ve had it with the code of going along to get along. They’ve had it with men who use their power to take what they want from women. These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought.

On the “Access Hollywood” tapes leaked last year, we heard the President say, “I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything… grab them by the pussy.”

Well, not anymore.



Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.