[TRIGGER WARNING: MENTION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT, ASSAULT, & RAPE]
So, Time has named its Person of the Year to be the "silence breakers," aka all the women (and some men) coming forward to name sexual predators.
I gotta admit, I still can't get past this cautious pessimism I have over the entire sexual predators facing consequences for their actions, even the ones that hold a lot of power (but not Lord Dampnut of course, oh no). I just feel like this can't possibly be the new norm. It's gonna end up reversing itself somehow and going back to the way it's always been. I dunno. I guess I just never dreamed that this day would come in my lifetime.
But here we are. Time's Person of the Year is all the women who are ending the era of accepted sexual harassment. No more "boys will be boys." And I appreciate that Time put women of various races on their cover.
At the same time, it's also weird for them to be called silence breakers. Women haven't been silent. Many women, including the entire feminist community, have been screaming about this for decades. Maybe centuries. Yes, some women remain silent when faced with sexual harassment on the job because they can't afford to speak up or are just too afraid/in despair. But feminists have been speaking up for them since fucking forever. The difference is the consequences. It's like suddenly a switch was flipped and men are listening. We got over some invisible barrier to them believing us and/or giving a fuck. FINALLY. Suddenly, finally, in two-thousand-fucking-seventeen, the cultural norm has flipped. I'm still not sure why. Maybe my optimistic side is right and progress really is inevitable.
Anyway, I read the entire Time article on their selection on the bus this morning. It's not bad. It even names Tarana Burke, the women who originally came up with the "Me Too" rallying cry a decade ago. They don't mention that she's a black woman, which is important because seriously how many movements and hashtags that we credit to white women were actually started by black women?? Maybe Time's Person of the Year should be the ignored black women who are actually responsible for all the good social change in this country.
It also calls out the constant softening of language. Many of the cases labeled "harassment" or "inappropriate behavior" are actually "sexual assault" and "rape." You know, crimes. Felonies. Can some of these people actually be arrested or?
I'm not a fan of the shout-out the article gives to the man-fretting over "where is the line??? Could I lose my job for looking at a woman????"
And yeah, obviously a dude who makes a sexist joke and a guy who commits sexual assault aren't the same. But you can actually fire both, did you know that? Go ahead and fire the both of them.
Overall, I guess I approve, though I'll be on my guard waiting for other, more observant feminists to point out things wrong with it that I missed. Mostly, it's that we were never silent. Men just didn't do anything about it.
Side note, even though he's a white man and a Republican, I would have lost it if Time had named Robert Mueller Person of the Year. Can you imagine? They must have been tempted. I'm also a little sad that it didn't go to Colin Kaepernick. He deserves just as much recognition. Maybe next year is the year racists get fired right and left. I'm talking about more than the obvious white supremacists. #NoWorkForRacists