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This is why the #MeToo movement is Time’s Person of the Year for 2017

The problem of sexual misconduct has been around for centuries but the dam broke in October when allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein hit the headlines.

The allegations against Weinstein were the catalyst for an ever-growing list of celebrities, businessmen and politicians who are finally facing their day of reckoning.

While it’s important to note that men are also affected by sexual misconduct – for example, actors Terry Crews and Anthony Rapp both came forward with their stories – the movement is rightly focused on women who have no doubt suffered more.

In the weeks following Weinstein’s fall, the #MeToo hashtag started trending globally as women around the world shared their experiences of dealing with misogynistic behaviour, sexual misconduct and sexual assault.

Now the #MeToo movement has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2017.

On the magazine’s December 18 cover, the people behind the movement are called “The Silence Breakers”.

The cover features activist Tarana Burke (who coined the term “me too” to denounce misogyny a decade ago), actress Ashley Judd, singer Taylor Swift, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, Californian lobbyist Adama Iwu, strawberry picker Isabel Pascual and an anonymous hospital worker whose arm is only visible.

The breaking of this silence has been a long time coming. Women have suffered men for aeons, and their voices only really began to be heard following women’s suffrage in the early 20th century and the second wave of feminism that emerged in the 1960s.

Prior to the Weinstein scandal, other allegations bubbled on the surface including those against Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes and, of course, U.S. President Donald Trump.

As noted by Slate, in many ways the Silence Breakers are a rebuke of Trump.

Trump’s name comes up multiple times in Time’s Silence Breakers piece, including references to his notorious Access Hollywood hot mic incident, the Women’s March and his overall attitude towards women.

“All social movements have highly visible precipitating factors,” says Aldon Morris, a professor of sociology at Northwestern University that’s quoted in the Time article.

“In this case you had Harvey Weinstein, and before that you had Trump.”

Trump was named runner-up to the Silence Breakers, followed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Robert Mueller, the man in the charge of the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the U.S election.

In the long run, Trump may be a good thing for America and the world. People are more politically engaged than ever and standing up and being heard. Creeps like Trump need to watch their backs, because the world is becoming unsafe for them.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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