TIME proclaimed Wednesday that it’s “Person of the Year” for 2017 is the “silence breakers” of the “#metoo” movement – women who spoke out against sexual harassment and, consequently, brought down powerful men in the entertainment and media industries and in Congress.
But feminists, who claim the TIME cover as their own (despite many among them, like Hillary Clinton, covering for and excusing sexual harassment for decades), are angry that the cover features the “non-political” Taylor Swift alongside more readily recognizable progressive, feminist icons like Ashley Judd and Uber whistleblower, Susan Fowler.
Apparently, because Swift neglected to get political during the 2016 campaign – a decision which probably preserved at least half of her audience – she doesn’t deserve to be counted among the women defining perhaps the single largest female achievement in recent memory.
The criticism was…er…swift. And harsh.
Taylor Swift has BEEN silent about white supremacy and still made the cover of TIME as a “silence breaker” pic.twitter.com/XPXkX8jb4z
— amy wood (@amy_wood) December 6, 2017
There’s very good reason for involving Taylor Swift on the cover: it is entirely possible that her lawsuit, against a DJ who grabbed a handful of her rear during a photo shoot, kicked off a national trend of naming and shaming alleged sexual abusers. Swift’s testimony was jarringly blunt, and she was very clear that she was suing her sexual abuser to make a point for women everywhere – that they should pursue justice, even when they feel they are at a disadvantage.
Yes, there are some notable absences on the TIME cover: Gretchen Carlson, whose lawsuit led to a major shakeup at Fox News, wasn’t interviewed for TIME’s article, despite being among the big winners. Asia Argento also wasn’t mentioned in TIME’s cover story, even though her testimony about Harvey Weinstein was instrumental in his downfall. But Swift is also a household name, and her actions set an example for young women who might have otherwise accepted harassment.
Of course, nothing will ever make feminists happy. So maybe Taylor Swift just knows not to try.