Heartening and heartbreaking that the women and men who have spoken out this year about sexual harassment are Times person of the year for 2017.
In the opening rationale/editorial, Time editor Edward Felsenthal lays out an argument for why the individual acts of courage and voicing have manifested in an influential movement. The article that follows is a powerful examination of the cultural moment. It’s not in-depth analysis. It glances over Anita Hill and the reckoning with the politics of the 1990s that needs to happen. It spotlights a wide range of people, acknowledging that women of color, immigrants, service industry workers, and members of the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to be victims of harassment.
Felsenthal also acknowledges that
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. But the idea that influential, inspirational individuals shape the world could not be more apt this year.
It explains why our current president so badly wants to have this honor. He’s desperate to be remembered as a great. Indeed, he was number 2 on the short list, a juxtaposition that’s jarring if apt. After all, his vulgar language about women being objects for his gratification sparked the Women’s March. The Silence Breakers are an apt choice for a year which began with millions of women marching across the country and is hopefully ending with what will be a nationwide reckoning about the abuses of power and sexual assault.