By Skylar C.
The election of Republican Donald Trump in 2016 left many with bitter tastes in their mouths and a real concern over the direction that our country was taking. His election was especially significant and painful for people of color, women, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and many young people, all of whom had watched a man whose campaign was full of divisive comments that were often sexist, homophobic, and islamophobic become the President of our nation. A man who had bragged on tape about sexual assault now sits in the most powerful office in the world, after defeating the first women to be nominated for that same office. If you, like me, are looking for some hope that 2018 will be a better year than the last, look no further than Time Magazine’s Person of the Year winner: The Silence Breakers.
Person of the Year is an annual issue of the US news magazine Time that features 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.” The title of the award itself is telling, it was only in 1999 that it was changed from “Man of the Year” to “Person of the Year.” Past winners include former president Barack Obama, Pope Francis, and the Ebola Fighters. Last year, Donald Trump took the title. This year, it is “a hashtag, a movement, a reckoning,” the women and men of the #MeToo movement who gave “voice to open secrets, moved whisper networks onto social networks” and pushed “us all to stop accepting the unacceptable.”
The Silence Breakers are not just Hollywood actresses, they are the men and women of all races, income classes, and occupations and are from all over the world. Some remain anonymous, as they do not have the privilege of speaking out for the risk is simply too much. But all have sacrificed to share their story. Finally, we are seeing real, tangible change thanks to these heroic women. The names of men in media who have been toppled by allegations of sexual misconduct have piled up: Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey and Matt Lauer. And I continue to hope that this is just the beginning.
Whether you’re a 20-year-old college student like me, or a parent worried about raising sons into men who value equality, or a victim (male or female) of sexual harassment and you need something to hold onto, read this article…every word.
Citations: Person of the Year: 75th Anniversary Celebration (Special Collector's ed.). New York: Time Books. 2002. OCLC 52817840 http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers-choice/