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12 Dec 2017 4:20
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  •   Home > News > International

    Time magazine's Person of the Year: Who are the women on the cover and what's with the elbow?

    There are six women on the cover of Time magazine's Person of the Year issue. Here's a quick rundown on who each of them are, why they're being recognised, and why one of them is represented only by her elbow.


    There are six women on the cover of Time magazine's Person of the Year issue.

    Each of them represent one of the "voices" that helped to launch the #MeToo social media movement, which went viral in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations.

    In Time's words, they are 'The Silence Breakers'.

    Here's a quick rundown on who each of them are, why they're being recognised, and why one of them is represented only by her elbow.

    Ashley Judd

    Actress Ashley Judd was one of the women interviewed by the New York Times' for their original expose back in October that broke the news about Weinstein.

    In the article, Judd recounted an incident that had happened two decades prior in a hotel room rented by Weinstein.

    She said the big-shot Hollywood producer invited her to the room, greeted her wearing a bathrobe, and asked if she would give him a massage or watch him shower.

    "Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it's simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly," she had said.

    On Thursday, in her interview with Time, she said "the whisper network" needs to be formalised.

    "That's my advice to women," she said.

    "That and if something feels wrong, it is wrong — and it's wrong by my definition and not necessarily someone else's".

    Taylor Swift

    Pop singer Taylor Swift was this year sued by a former radio show host who claimed he lost his job after she wrongfully made a complaint about him at work.

    Swift then successfully countersued for a symbolic $1, with the court finding the disc jockey sexually assaulted her during a photo shoot four years ago.

    Swift claimed the man, David Mueller, groped her "bare ass cheek" and held on for a long time.

    According to Time magazine, while Swift's case happened months before the allegations against Weinstein emerged and the #MeToo campaign kicked off, it "inspired women to speak out about harassment".

    "I think that this moment is important for awareness, for how parents are talking to their children, and how victims are processing their trauma, whether it be new or old," she told Time.

    "The brave women and men who have come forward this year have all moved the needle in terms of letting people know that this abuse of power shouldn't be tolerated."

    Susan Fowler

    Susan Fowler left her position as an engineer at Uber in December last year.

    Afterwards, she wrote a 3,000-word blog post explaining why she left and alleging that her manager once propositioned her for sex.

    Ms Fowler wrote that on her first official day, her manager sent her "a string of messages over company chat" that told her he was in an open relationship and was having a hard time looking for women to have sex with.

    "It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR," she wrote.

    But she said that when she spoke with the company's human resources department, her concerns were dismissed.

    The blog post sparked a full investigation at Uber which eventually saw CEO Travis Kalanick resign.

    Ms Fowler told Time that when her blog post went viral, she was overwhelmed with messages thanking her for speaking out.

    "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I'm not alone'," she said.

    "All of these women and all of these men were sending me messages about things that had happened to them, and they were saying, 'We can't stand out and say what happened to us, but you've told our story'."

    Adama Iwu

    Adama Iwu is the lobbyist who began the We Said Enough campaign in the United States earlier this year.

    She began the campaign after hearing about the allegations against Weinstein and feeling unsurprised.

    Together with 147 other women she signed an open letter calling out "the pervasive culture of sexual discrimination and harassment in California politics".

    "Last week millions of Americans were shocked to learn of the behaviour of billionaire mogul Harvey Weinstein. We were not," the October letter stated.

    "As women leaders in politics, in a state that postures itself as a leader in justice and equality, you might assume our experience has been different. It has not," it added.

    That pressure helped to launch a state senate investigation.

    "You have to address [sexual harassment and assault] head on and as a group. It's hard to call 147 women liars. We can't all be crazy. We can't all be sluts," she told Time.

    Isabel Pascual

    Isabel Pascual — not her real name is a Mexican strawberry picker who made a stirring speech at a march in Los Angeles in the wake of the Weinstein scandal.

    At the time, women from various industries were speaking out about their experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace and, according to Time, she wanted to give her fellow agricultural workers a voice.

    "I said enough. I lost the fear. It doesn't matter if they criticise me. I can support other people who are going through the same thing," she told Time.

    The anonymous elbow

    You might have noticed that in the lower right-hand corner of the Time cover, there is an elbow.

    According to Time, that elbow belongs to an "anonymous young hospital worker from Texas" who is a victim of sexual harassment, but who fears disclosing her identity may negatively impact her family.

    "Her appearance is an act of solidarity, representing all those who are not yet able to come forward and reveal their identities," Time said.

    © 2017 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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