The “Silence Breakers” Are Time’s Person of the Year

by Lydia Wang

Time has revealed its 2017 Person of the Year, and it isn’t a person — or, rather, it’s many, many people. In a powerful spread available online, the magazine honored a movement they called the Silence Breakers, referring to the litany of survivors who have spoken out this year against sexual assault and harassment in America.

Edward Felsenthal, Time’s editor-in-chief, announced the choice on NBC’s Today Show. “The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover, 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,” he said. “For giving voice to open secrets, for moving whisper networks onto social networks, for pushing us all to stop accepting the unacceptable, the Silence Breakers are the 2017 Person of the Year.”

Time has crowned almost a hundred individuals and groups with the title since the first Man of the Year, Charles Lindbergh, in 1927. Among them have been Pope Francis, “You” (as in, individual content creators online), and Barack Obama.

Donald Trump was named Person of the Year in 2016, and took to Twitter to claim that Time called and offered him the title this year, too. The magazine dismissed this assertion, and Tweeted back that “Time does not comment on our choice until publication.” Trump did, however, make the shortlist, alongside Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and the Dreamers.

The article profiles a range of survivors including actors Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, Uber engineer Susan Fowler, and an anonymous office assistant. The choice to celebrate the dozens of Silence Breakers instead of Trump, who stands accused of sexual misconduct with at least 16 women, sends a message: we’re fighting through this. And though we still have a long way to go, just this year, we’ve amplified thousands of voices. And we won’t stop.

Time2 fbbaePhoto via Time.

Top photo via Time

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