Time honors a ‘revolution of refusal’

President Donald Trump finished second to a growing group of courageous women. That seems fully appropriate as 2017 draws to a close.

Trump finished behind the women in Time Magazine’s Person of the Year award, as did Xi Jinping, Robert Mueller, Kim Jong Un, Colin Kaepernick, and — gasp, another woman! — Patty Jenkins

2017 has been the year of big mouths, bluster and blathering Tweets. Time’s choice is perfect because it focuses on forced silence that is ending because of two short, nearly whispered words on the social media of choice: Me too.

It’s the same word that many men have quietly heard in recent months if they’ve bothered to ask the women they know.

Stand by to hear the hurt feelings of the men who didn’t.

The movement started gained momentum in 2017 with the stories from actors, Time notes:

When movie stars don’t know where to go, what hope is there for the rest of us? What hope is there for the janitor who’s being harassed by a co-worker but remains silent out of fear she’ll lose the job she needs to support her children? For the administrative assistant who repeatedly fends off a superior who won’t take no for an answer? For the hotel housekeeper who never knows, as she goes about replacing towels and cleaning toilets, if a guest is going to corner her in a room she can’t escape?

Like the “problem that has no name,” the disquieting malaise of frustration and repression among postwar wives and homemakers identified by Betty Friedan more than 50 years ago, this moment is borne of a very real and potent sense of unrest. Yet it doesn’t have a leader, or a single, unifying tenet. The hashtag #MeToo (swiftly adapted into #BalanceTonPorc, #YoTambien, #Ana_kaman and many others), which to date has provided an umbrella of solidarity for millions of people to come forward with their stories, is part of the picture, but not all of it.

The reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight, Time says, but it’s been developing for generations.

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.

The caterwauling of too many men in the face of the “revolution of refusal” is the death rattle of a culture.

It’s about Time.

Related: I was sexually harassed. Question my story (Washington Post)

  • kevins

    Congrats to the movement. I just sooo did not want to see Trumpsky’s face on the cover of that magazine, unless of course the photo was accompanied by the word impeached.

  • Rob

    I can’t like this enough. The fact that the Groper-in-Chief, having expected to be Time’s pick, must be going bonkers, is the icing on the cake.

  • Gary F

    No arguing this has been the topic of discussion this year.

    Time magazine? Has anyone checked it for a pulse?

    • Rob

      Focus, Gary, focus.

    • Right out of the playbook.

    • Chris

      Enough of a pulse that the Koch brothers want to buy in. That was some low energy trolling. This cover must be making Trump nervous.

      • Rob

        From your lips to the gods’ ears.

    • Gary, I gotta give you a 24 hour timeout. This is trolling. You know it. I know it. It ruins the comment sections.

      Bring value here when you come back and not spitballs.

    • >>Time magazine? Has anyone checked it for a pulse?<<

      Revenue of over $800 million…seems like a pulse.

      • People: Gary was trolling to distract and inflame. I’m no more interested in comments taking the bait than I am the bait.

  • Guest

    A) When several women come forward with the same accusation against the same man it IS convincing.

    B) Mere accusations, however convincing, should not be enough (with zero due process) to destroy any person.

    C) Most of these horrible incidents occur in private with no witnesses and denials from mere mis-understanding to “just kidding” to “it never happened” so courts can not take action But there MUST be a gray area where innocent men and guilty men ARE known and treated differently. Society has not found a way to do this.

    • I thought the Time video was very good. There was a dishwasher included who revealed that she was sexually abused.

      What would be her reason for lying a decade or two later?

      For that matter — to ask a question that John Oliver asked that Dustin Hoffman wouldn’t or couldn’t answer — what would be a once 17-year-old intern’s reason for lying decades later?

      One of the reasons famous men have paid off women is to prevent it from going to court. Once it does, you have discovery and depositions. I figure the guilty don’t want that.

      [edited to add]

      BTW, one way society can figure out the guilty from the innocent is to eliminate the statute of limitations from sexual harassment laws. Then it can go to court.


      • Guest

        YES, I said the women ARE convincing.

        However, my point is the difficulty of providing both the accuser and the accused a fair hearing. Society and the media do not have a way for us all to know this was true, this was not.

        I am expressing frustration that both never believing and always believing cause problems. See the Duke La Cross team.

        • Kassie

          It doesn’t seem like the accused really need fair hearings as almost all of them admit to doing what they did. Very few have called the women liars.

          • Guest

            Very True. But this issue of calling out cads will be with us for years.

            I would like to see society come to an understanding of what should happen after the next cad.

            With no public understanding trust evaporates. See MPR treatment of Garrison Keillor.

          • JamieHX

            I would add that proportionality is a factor that is escaping many in the current discussion. We need to figure that out, too.

          • You mean figuring out what sexual harassment is excusable and what isn’t? Maybe we men should just let women tell us the answer to that question. For a change.

          • JamieHX

            Did I SAY that some sexual harassment is excusable?

            (I am a woman, btw.)

          • // See MPR treatment of Garrison Keillor.

            This is how this issue is ALWAYS framed. How MPR treated GARRISON KEILLOR.

            You know how this is NEVER framed — especially by men — how MPR treated one of its female employees who said she was sexually harassed.

            See how this works? See our gender’s privilege?

    • Rob

      You sound like a defense lawyer for someone accused of sexual harassment.

      • Barton

        Or someone afraid that s/he is going to be accused of something….

  • Time is timely on this one. Great choice. As ubiquitous as Trump and Trumpism is, I’m guessing that what is happening with #MeToo is the more consequential story, and this will become more apparent as the years go by.

  • Dan

    Not that Time’s Person of the Year, as a topic, is something I’m passionate about, but it always irks me slightly when they don’t pick a person. Like “You” or “The American Soldier”. Just seems like “not completing the assignment” to me, even though as far as I can tell they’ve done it as far back as 1950 (“The American fighting-man”). This one is slightly less annoying, though. It’s probably better than picking out any one of the women who has come forward, and from an American perspective, the topic is probably the biggest newsmaker.

    I’d give pretty good odds Mueller gets it next year.

    • You might want to read the piece Time wrote and note the women who were on the cover. They clearly picked out the women who have come forward.

      Also pay close attention to the cropping on the cover.There’s a particular message there. They picked out the women who didn’t.

      • Jeff C.

        Do you know who was cut out?

        • “The women who don’t come forward”

        • Sybil Twilight

          Does it matter? I see it as being emblematic of ‘every woman.’ When I look at my facebook or twitter feed easily 90% of my female friends have shared stories of harassment ranging from whistles on the street, to having a passenger on the bus whipping out his penis and stroking it, to being raped by a babysitter at 6 years old. We are angry and we are legion.

          • Jeff C.

            It does only because I didn’t get it. I was thinking that it was a particular person. I’m glad I asked so that others and I could be better informed. Thanks for helping me understand better.

      • Dan

        They clearly picked out the women who have come forward.

        I can’t tell what you’re responding to. I said I think in this case that’s probably better than picking out any one of the women, you know, to make it a singular Person.

        Also pay close attention to the cropping on the cover.There’s a particular message there. They picked out the women who didn’t.

        Who didn’t… speak up? A nice message of solidarity with victims and understanding of why they felt they couldn’t/wouldn’t, but also kind of a weird way to honor “silence breakers”.

    • Rob

      I’d be perfectly fine with “People of the Year.”

      • Dan

        Yeah as I said it’s fine with me this year, but looking back there are some dumb ones IMO, like “The Endangered Earth” as “Planet of the Year”, or “You” with a mirror on the cover. I mean, I get it, it’s to sell magazines, but something about saying the Earth is the Planet of the Year involuntarily engages my eyerolling muscles.

        • Rob

          Yes. Unlike corporations, planets aren’t people. : )

        • Yeah. agree

  • chlost

    Gary’s comment is Exhibit A in the tone deaf response many women (and some men) receive in these situations. To those men (and some women) who din’t believe this is the life experience of nearly every woman, I would suggest that they openly and without judgment ask the women in their life about any experience they may have had with sexual harassment and abuse. I believe that they may be quite surprised by the response. Perhaps they will even adjust their perspective. Then again, some folks just can’t accept that others’ life experiences don’t fit their own world view.

  • kat

    Just the faces of the women on the cover was good. The article was very good. Bravo to TIme.

  • Kassie

    I’ve seen a bit of backlash about this on Twitter this morning, not from Conservatives, but from people of color. Instead of honoring the black woman who started #MeToo 10 years ago, Tarana Burke, they say it started with movie stars. Also, Time’s Editor-in-Chief stated that #MeToo is the “fastest-moving social change we’ve seen in decades,” but it is rightly pointed out that Black Lives Matter fits this description much more accurately, but was ignored. While Time includes women of color on the cover, they have seemed to whitewash the movement and ignored the other huge social movement lead by African Americans and that is a problem.

    • // , they say it started with movie stars

      They should read the piece then, which says:

      “This was the great unleashing that turned the #MeToo hashtag into a rallying cry. The phrase was first used more than a decade ago by social activist Tarana Burke as part of her work building solidarity among young survivors of harassment and assault.”

      It’s right under the picture of Tarana Burke.

      That’s why she’s also in the video.

      At no point does Time say the revolution started with Hollywood actresses. It started with “the silence breakers.”

      • Kassie

        So it is just you who says “The movement started with the movie stars…”?

        And I think their point is Tarana should be the Person of the Year, not just one sentence.

        • Fair point. I’ve changed the lead-in.

          But the “Me Too” movement in 2017 was social media led. And while she created the genesis of the campaign 10 years ago, it didn’t have the impact and cause the change until Alyssa Milano picked it up this week.

          There’s an argument to be had, of course, about giving one person credit but I think Time recognized the nuances of social change in its recognition.

          Me Too, obviously, isn’t about *a* person.

    • crystals

      I was very disappointed Tarana Burke was not on the cover. She’s apparently in the magazine and is doing TV today with Alyssa Milano and others, but still. It bothers me.

      • Kassie

        From what I’ve seen, once Alyssa Milano realized where it first came from, she has been a champion for including Tarana Burke in all the conversations possible. I love Alyssa Milano and my 16 year old self cringes hearing me say that.

    • Lindsey

      Unfortunately, Black Lives Matter is not universal, but very much a movement of the left. Hence the All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter. That’s not to say it’s not big, but that the reception has been very divided.

      • theoacme

        The face that Black Lives Matter doesn’t matter to the right makes me utterly afraid for my life from the right…

        …the fact that not one female Republican Senator called on Franken to resign makes me even more afraid of the right…

        …if I could renounce my citizenship, and move to another country, I’d seriously consider it, in large part due to the right wing not taking sexual harassment, actually the right wing’s not taking human non-corporation rights seriously…

        …because I didn’t have any choice to be born here, and I have had no opportunity to choose a country that lives up to the ideal chiseled into the facade of the Supreme Court, an ideal that the United States is utterly failing at, and has been since 1787 – “Equal Justice Under Law.”

  • Kellpa07

    I don’t think there’s any real question this is the right “People of the Year.” choice. It certainly makes sense to highlight the women who have been harmed.
    I won’t have time to read it until later, but I hope that somewhere in the article or series they note the extraordinary reporting of Ronan Farrow who played a serious and important role in bringing this matter to such a public reckoning that more women felt it possible or perhaps worthwhile to come forward.
    So there is no mistaking: Those women deserve to be on the cover and deserve to be honored. But Mr. Farrow has performed a terrific service.

  • I think this is the last time several women appeared on the cover as Person of the Year https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/94a8f1ce73c31bccd6c9b6446142fc42d47a281af1b8fc2f2f4cf63ef22c82c2.jpg

  • Rob

    Just a small irony to note: my understanding is that, in the 91-year history of Time POTY covers, there’s never been an individual woman selected to be POTY.

    • Dan

      Angela Merkel in 2015

    • There was but it wasn’t changed from “Man of the Year” until 1999.

      • Rob

        Time was several decades behind the times in making that change.

    • RBHolb

      Wallis Simpson, Queen Elizabeth II, and Corazon Aquino, but all were under the title “Man of the Year.”

      • Rob


        • KTFoley

          There has been no American woman named & photographed individually. Here’s the rundown:

          Named & photographed individually
          1936 – Wallace Simpson
          1952 – Queen Elizabeth II
          1986 – Corazon Aquino
          2015 – Angela Merkel

          Named & photographed as one of several individuals:
          1937 – Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek (“Husband and Wife”)
          2002 – Whistleblowers Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rowley, Sherron Watkins (“Persons”)
          2005 – Melinda Gates, Bill Gates, Bono (“Persons”)

          Identified & photographed as a female group
          1975 – American Women (“Women”)
          2017 – Silence Breakers (“Person”)

          Identified as part of a male & female group
          1956 – Hungarian Freedom Fighters (“Man”; photo includes a woman)
          1960 – U.S. Scientists (“Men”; photo excludes a woman)
          1966 – Twenty-five and Under (“Man”; photo includes a woman)
          1969 – The Middle Americans (“Man & Woman”; photo includes a woman)
          2003 – The American Soldier (“Person”; photo excludes a woman)
          2006 – You (“Person”; photo replaced by mirror)
          2011 – The Protestor (“Person”; photo is a woman)
          2014 – Ebola fighters (“Person”, photo is a woman on some of the multiple covers)

          • Rob

            Thanks for the info!

          • KTFoley

            I should add the the word in quotes has to do with how Time Magazine phrased their “xyz of the Year” term for that selection, and photo refers to the cover art.

            Wikipedia speaks as though women were included in the 1960 issue for U.S. Scientists, but I’d have to page through it to know whether Time implied it in other coverage or the Wiki contributor(s) inferred it in hindsight.

          • Pathetic.

          • Barton

            Wallace Simpson WAS American. That and her being a divorcee are two reasons why she was hated in the UK.

          • KTFoley

            Yes, you are right — and the Washington Post has since published a correction.

  • Mohammad Al-Gilani

    Not a good title for the stories! What was the situation before? Was it a revolution of Acceptance? . This whole issue must be handled respectfully as long as society’ culture recognizes what so called consensual relationships. To proof that this over-reaction really works, we should see some young females come forward and tell their current stories without have their career affected!

    • Did you read the Time story? I’m guessing not since it’s a direct reference.

  • eat_swim_read
    • Lindsey

      The problem is that the dinosaurs are only the most visible form of harassers. It’s the “good men” who don’t even remember these incidents that are more insidious and much harder to find.

      • eat_swim_read

        Yes, key point here. Well stated.