TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year: Not Trump but the ‘silence breakers’

Vindicated. Empowered. This is how I feel on behalf of my fellow women, and men who want to do what is right in honor of their mothers, wives, sisters, friends. TIME Magazine‘s choice of the “Silence Breakers” — “for giving voice to open secrets,  for moving whisper networks onto social networks, for pushing us all to stop accepting the unacceptable” — made that happen.
As TIME explained its decision to honor the women on the cover over other contenders including President Donald Trump — “the galvanizing actions of the women in their 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.”
TIME Magazine Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal wrote, “Social media acted as a powerful accelerant; the hashtag #MeToo has now been used millions of times in at least 85 countries.”
Felsenthal looked back to the beginning of 2017 and intimated that “at its outset, did not seem to be a particularly auspicious one for women. A man who had bragged on tape about sexual assault took the oath of the highest office in the land, having defeated the first woman of either party to be nominated for that office, as she sat beside a former president with his own troubling history of sexual misconduct. 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.’”
But the injustice and victimization were not limited to sexual abuse. The TIME editor wrote, “2017 appear to be especially promising for journalists, who—alongside the ongoing financial upheaval in the media business—feared a fallout from the President’s cries of “fake news” and verbal attacks on reporters. And yet it was a year of phenomenal reporting. Determined journalists…picked up where so many human-resources departments, government committees and district attorneys had clearly failed, proving the truth of rumors that had circulated across whisper networks for years.”
These collective efforts of women (and some men) have reached a critical mass, building pressure in the business world, entertainment industry and even in politics, to get rid of men who abuse their power and put an end to the oppression, objectification and harassment of women all over the world.
Highlighting this TIME annual tradition, Felsenthal wrote, “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. ‘I want to show [my 11-year-old daughter] that it’s O.K. to stand up for yourself, even though you feel like the world is against you,’ says Dana Lewis, a hotel hospitality coordinator who is suing her employer over the actions of a serial groper. ‘If you keep fighting, eventually you’ll see the sun on the other side.’ Or as artist and activist Rose McGowan put it, ‘Why not fight back? What else are we doing?’”
Senator Al Franken of Minnesota was the latest powerful man who yielded to pressure coming from his own colleagues in the Democratic Party. When he announced he would resign after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct and abuse, he pointed out the irony and hypocrisy of the leaders of the Republican Party regarding this issue.
What happens now to the accountability of the president of the United States who himself has about 16 sex abuse complaints against him? And why did the POTUS even endorse an alleged child molester Roy Moore for senator? And why is the Republican Party complicit in this?

* * *

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com and www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

The Filipino-American Community Newspaper. Your News. Your Community. Your Journal. Since 1991.

Copyright © 1991-2022 Asian Journal Media Group. All Rights Reserved.