No, really: did Taylor Swift truly belong on Time’s ‘Silence Breakers’ cover?

tay time

Taylor Swift made it to the cover of Time Magazine’s People of the Year. The Silence Breakers were named the POTY, all of the victims of harassment, abuse, assault and rape who have found their voices this year. The Time cover story was important and moving and gratifying, because 2017 has been utter f–king garbage. This toxic waste dump of a year has mostly been about Donald Trump, so it was great to see Time give Trump “credit” in their cover story for being such a sexual assailant and misogynist, and really spurring women around the country and around the world to speak up and speak out against their harassers, their bullies, their assailants.

As I said yesterday, I didn’t have a problem with Taylor’s inclusion in the story. My problem was that she was featured prominently on the cover, like Taylor is one of the faces of the movement. She is not. She has every right to speak up and speak out – she was assaulted, she got the guy fired, and he sued her, so she countersued and won. She put her life on hold to fight that battle, and I know she inspired a lot of women and girls to do the same. Good for her.

So, what’s the problem, really? Why did Taylor start trending on Twitter yesterday? Why were there heated tweets thrown back and forth about Taylor’s feminism? Well, it’s very complicated. Basically, Tay’s defenders argued that there is no Oppression Olympics – that Taylor speaking about her assault is no more or less important than another woman telling her story of rape. I think that’s a strawman argument – again, no one was seriously arguing that Taylor shouldn’t have a voice in this story. We were arguing that she shouldn’t be on the cover, like she’s a face of the movement, when she’s just not.

There’s also a problem with the fact that Taylor is entirely silent on social, political, reproductive and economic issues that don’t affect her personally. She will literally spend years giving interviews and writing songs about that guy who interrupted her VMA speech that one time, but she couldn’t be bothered to denounce white supremacists, and actively sought to silence anyone who questioned her silence on white supremacy. She couldn’t be bothered to publicly say that women should be believed, or that maybe Donald Trump is a bad president and a sexual assailant. Again, if you’re arguing that she has every right to be apolitical, I agree. She has every right to be publicly (and privately) apolitical. But that should mean she doesn’t agree to a Time Magazine cover shoot in which she’s positioned as the face of a massive feminist movement. She doesn’t get to pick and choose what she’ll speak out about if she’s positioning herself as the great white hope for #MeToo-ing. The Daily Beast had an excellent piece on all of this too, and they do a better job of explaining the mixed emotions of seeing Taylor’s face on this cover.

Some valid tweets that summarize the variety of opinions:

Embed from Getty Images

Cover courtesy of Time, additional photo courtesy of Getty.

 

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137 Responses to “No, really: did Taylor Swift truly belong on Time’s ‘Silence Breakers’ cover?”

  1. Clare says:

    Man, this is a woman who used lawyers to bully a blogger into silence just a few weeks ago – It’s nuts that she is on a cover which intends to celebrate and empower people FINALLY speaking out agaisnt those with more power than themselves.

    This does NOT exclude her from being the victim of that shithead dj or any other number of people. It just makes her kind of a shitty addition to the cover, given her history of trying to silence those who criticize her.

  2. Whatever says:

    Her face on the cover sells magazines. That’s why she was on it.

    I do agree that her successful lawsuit and her statements about it merit a mention in the story. It’s pretty cool that she only sued him for a dollar.

    • adastraperaspera says:

      Yes. This issue needs major publicity. Like it or not, Swift being on the cover is a guarantee that it will get talked about even more–and globally. Her brand has that reach. I say this as someone who could not name one of her songs.

    • another kate says:

      Exactly. And even more importantly in my opinion, is that her face on the magazine will sell it to a base that probably wouldn’t have picked it up in the first place – young girls from republican backgrounds.

      Plus, she WON in court – it’s great to show a victory in a case of “lesser” crime against women – no, it wasn’t rape or violent, but sexual harassment in any form needs to be taken seriously.

      • Lightpurple says:

        @anotherkate, responding to your second part. Winning in court is huge and numerous people here diminish that. As an attorney handling workplace discrimination & harassment cases, I can cite Taylor’s case in other lawsuits. Other lawyers representing other women can cite Taylor’s case to help them win lawsuits. Even women representing themselves in administrative hearings at the EEOC or equivalent state agencies can cite Taylor’s case to help win their own. Our laws rely on precedent. I know she’s a great voice & has been through Hell & deserves respect but I cannot use anything Rose MacGowan has done to help anyone.

      • Nick says:

        @Lightpurple what precedent did Taylors case set that wasn’t there before? I’m not saying her victory wasn’t important, but I can’t imagine it being precedent setting.

    • LadyMTL says:

      MTE. Taylor Swift sells, so TIME decided to put her on the cover regardless of whether or not she should really have been there. I totally understand why people would have an issue with her inclusion, but from a business perspective it makes sense. Plus it probably does help spread the message, and that’s never a bad thing.

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s what I said yesterday about it – they chose her to sell more copies and get more free publicity (like these articles and all the social media debate).

      I don’t take issue with her being there as much as I take issue with them NOT having Tarana Burke on the cover. Unless she declined, she should have been there.

  3. Ponytail says:

    I assume some people were asked if they wanted to be on the cover and some said no. I very very much doubt Taylor Swift demanded she be on the cover.

  4. lightpurple says:

    Oh, so now she’s responsible for Kanye’s breakdown? Not any chemical imbalance in his body. Not years of inappropriate behavior. Not a family that exploits him constantly for its own gain regardless of how it affects his health. Anything else Marlow Stern wants to blame on Taylor? The California wildfires? Hurricane Irma? Herpes?

    • Nanny to the Rescue says:

      Thanks! I wrote the same thing a bit below, because your post wasn’t up yet then. But seriously, she’s guilty of a lot of things, but Kanye’s breakdown is not her doing.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Yeah, that had me do a double take as well. Taylor is many things but she is not responsible for mental health issues Kanye West may have. The guy started a stupid beef with a teenage girl and met his petty match. The entire thing was and is tedious and stupid, whatever side you might come down on (I’m actually leaning towards Kanye but that’s not the point).

      She wasn’t a great choice for the cover because while she did do what many women probably never dreamed possible – take the guy down in court – I don’t know that there weren’t better women to make that particular point. Gretchen Carlson? She took down a titan and she did it before Taylor.

    • Goats on the Roof says:

      There are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize Taylor, but Kanye’s mental breakdown and her inclusion on the cover aren’t IMO. For me, her being on the cover goes a long way to telling younger women that even the “little stuff” is a big deal. Taylor countersued that vile DJ and people were quick to jump to his defense and mock HER because it was “just a little grab-ass.” I have an 19 year old sister and I want her to see this kind of stuff and know that a hand up the shirt or someone latching on to her ass cheek is not acceptable.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        No one is invalidating her experience. But Taylor should not be on the cover. Period. Tarana Burke – the woman who CREATED the MeToo hashtag should have been given that spot. Or Kesha who long before Taylor stood up to her abuser in court.

    • Nicole says:

      I don’t like Taylor but Kanye’s breakdown was just a matter of time after his mom died.

    • swak says:

      Was about to say the same thing. As I said yesterday, I was surprised she was chosen over Rose McGowan to be on the cover. That was my only problem with it – her story needs to be included as does everyones story.

    • another kate says:

      THANK YOU, Light Purple and others! This is EXACTLY what I was coming to the comments to say! Taylor is definitely not an angel, but blaming her for Kanye’s breakdown is ridiculous.

      Let’s not forget that this whole feud started with a grown man interrupting a teenage girl’s acceptance of a stupid meaningless award (for a dumb song yes, but half the awards given are for dumb as crap things. These are voted on by teens, who the f cares who wins). TSwift has absolutely put fire to the feud for her own gain but there would have been nothing to escalate without Kanye’s MTV awards stunt.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree too. She’s definitely full of problems and issues and deserves to be called out on a LOT of things, but KW’s mental health is not one of them.

    • Kath says:

      I agree – that was absolutely bloody ridiculous.

    • Ksenia says:

      lightpurple: Exactly! Taylor is most assuredly NOT responsible for Kayne’s breakdown, that’s simply ludicrous. Plus, the fact that she is on the cover will influence many female tweens/young teenagers to buy the magazine, thus potentially starting very necessary conversations among girls and their parents about sexual assault and harassment. Plus: she actually WON her harassment case in court, which sets a precedent to help others, while also providing encouragement for other women to take their own cases to court: they CAN win. Thus, like her or not, due in large part to her popularity, Taylor is actually extremely important to the cause. I think this is far more important than my own personal dislike of her: she can get young women to pick the magazine up and read it much more effectively than a lot of other women–women who I actually *like*— can. I think it would be slightly petty of me to focus on my distaste for her in this particular context.

  5. Honeybadger says:

    Kesha would have been a better choice. She sued Dr. Luke long before Taylor sued the DJ.

  6. trollonthelosse says:

    I feel for Rose McGowan who was the prominent voice and yet..no cover.

  7. Nicole says:

    No she didn’t. When someone can point out what she did for the movement AS A WHOLE then we can talk. Her court case doesn’t count, donating to Kesha doesn’t count. Those are individual actions that benefit one person.
    I think it’s a travesty that she’s on the cover but Burke who STARTED MeToo wasn’t on the cover. Yet time used her in all their promotion…shocker.

    • Alyce says:

      It is incredibly short sighted and well…wrong, to act as though tweeting and/or posting on social media is the only way to support a cause.

      Taylor used the legal system to take a stand against her harasser and in the process provided expert witness testimony that will be a model for many other victims who come forward. She also gave money to other victims including Kesha. In the real world, money to fight and using the legal resources available will usually go much further towards making change than tweeting will. We have plenty of tweeters already.

      • Nicole says:

        Really because the entire MeToo campaign encouraged people to speak out. Including Crews and Rapp and countless other women. Taylor’s court case will not affect the legal system. It affected her only. You’re acting like she did something to further the cause when in reality she showed up to court and won.
        That’s not minimizing her assault but that did nothing for the countless other women suffering in silence.

      • Jamie says:

        actually you are very wrong @nicole. Taylor provided a very important thing that none of the metoo campaign provided. A court precedent. lawyers can use that to argue any case from now on and that will help many many woman to come.

      • another kate says:

        @ Jamie and Alyce – AMEN! A lot of people don’t realize how the US legal system works – one court win can affect literally countless others. As I said above, a win on a “lesser” sexual crime is a huge freaking deal.

        I don’t think it serves us well to pit the different types of ways to support the movement against one another. The Metoo campaign obviously has been so important and empowering to so many but fighting through the legal system is just as important and is absolutely needed for real change to happen. The two aren’t exclusive.

    • lucy2 says:

      I would love to see her stick her neck out a bit and stand up for others – given the large audience she has, she could really do a lot of good, rather than just whining about everyone being mean to her all the time.
      However, I disagree that helping Kesha financially with her lawsuit and her own lawsuit against the DJ don’t count. We need every step forward in this fight, even those taken by problematic people like Taylor.

    • Lightpurple says:

      *bangs head against desk*
      stare decisis. Precedent.

    • Lola says:

      She has helped the movement as a whole.

      After her trial “The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, or RAINN, told ABC that its national hotline saw a 35 percent increase in calls from Friday to Monday. RAINN’s president Scott Berkowitz said that Swift choosing to have a trial was “a great demonstration to other victims that there is strength in coming forward and pursuing justice.”"

      That’s a big thing. Deserving of the cover in my opinion. You can read the whole article here
      :http://www.refinery29.com/amp/2017/08/168817/taylor-swift-sexual-assault-trial-impact

      So let’s be clear that though Taylor swift isn’t tweeting about the movement she’s still making a big impact. I wish more people could get this.

      • Jules H says:

        I would have to vehemently disagree. She was sued, she counter-sued, and released a statement at the end of her highly publicized case. The caption on the cover says “the voices that began the movement”. She hasn’t advocated for anything in her life….except for more profit from Apple. Additionally, she released a video for her first single this year in which she is dressed like Katy Perry crashing and dying, holding a grammy. It is horrifying to suggest that Swift is a role model. She was a victim, but certainly not an advocate.

  8. Nanny to the Rescue says:

    I get their and your point but the 1st tweet blaming her for Kanye’s mental breakdown is seriously reaching. Can she be blamed for what she actually did, not for everything bad that goes on in this world?

  9. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Inclusion is not the same as driving force. She is not the face of this movement; she may have played a part, but the sweeping movement has more important and validating representation. She diminishes the resolve being on that cover imo.

  10. minx says:

    I would have liked Rose McGowan somewhere on the cover. Other than that, I had no problem with it. They have to sell magazines.

  11. Neelyo says:

    Whoever did the Photoshop on the cover obviously didn’t think she belonged there either. That nose!

    The debate about this here yesterday was interesting. I agreed that she didn’t belong there but also understood that she was there because, well, capitalism. The tweets above summed up why she shouldn’t be there better than i could.

  12. smee says:

    I don’t understand why Rose McGowen wasn’t on the cover. Surely she’s more of the face of metoo# than Taylor.

    I will say this tho – TS is an example of the type of harassment that people like to characterize is benign or nbd – so it sort of makes sense.

  13. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    No, really?
    No.
    Really.

  14. Lulu says:

    Yes, she did.

    The arguments being tossed around are utterly ridiculous. Taylor’s politics are ambiguous, but even if she came out as a ride-or-die Republican, it would not lessen what happened to her. Her testimony at the trial was excellent and hit back at nearly every point ticked off in the victim-blaming handbook – with a hundred cameras on her, she made it clear that her assaulter’s troubles were the result of his own actions, that despite the attempts by his attorney to make the situation appear ambiguous that she knew exactly what had happened, that the shame of the groping belonged to him rather than her, and she point-blank asserted that she had nothing to feel guilty of, and that she refused to let him make her feel as if she did.

    I don’t generally get involved in Taylor gossip – I don’t really have strong feelings on her either way, and I’m somewhat incredulous I’ve spouted out a paragraph defending her. But this debate is ludicrous – what happened to her made headlines at the time, she defended herself against every point her abuser tried to throw at her, and she followed it up with a large donation to an organisation dealing with sexual assault. That’s not even going into her financial help for Kesha, which I think went a great deal further than all of the #freeKesha tweets towards getting her help. There’s a very obvious reason to put her on the cover, she clearly belonged there, and attempts to say that she didn’t because of her politics or her drama with Kanye is utterly petty – as is the notion that, to merit being on the cover about breaking the silence of sexual abuse meant that she had to ‘break the silence’ concerning any other matter that Twitter found worthy.

    • A says:

      I completely agree. Regardless of what other bad things she’s done, her testimony was incredible and inspirational. It was a model for how all victims of harassment and assault should respond to victim-blaming questions. I would not have known how to effectively answer most of them before I read what she said.

      Judge Taylor for her faults, but this is not one of them. She absolutely deserved to be on the cover.

    • Kitten says:

      Thank you for perfectly expressing how I feel.

      I also think it’s rather insane to be investing this much time and energy arguing about a fairly irrelevant honor in an increasingly irrelevant news magazine.

      • Shambles says:

        Maybe it is an increasingly irrelevant news magazine, but the fact is that people are talking about this right now. It’s leading to some (what I think are) really important, interesting, and nuanced discussions about what it means to speak out, whiteness and feminism, etc. The fact is that the conversation is happening, so the way I see it we might as well embrace what’s coming from the conversation. I don’t think it’s insane, JMO.

      • Kitten says:

        This is very true, Shamby, and I welcome the important conversations that it’s precipitating.
        But I do think it’s bizarre that people are hung-up on a magazine cover simply because Taylor Swift is on it, ESPECIALLY Time FFS. But then again, I’ve hated Time magazine and it’s journalistic direction for many years so maybe it’s my own bias showing.
        *shrugs*

        That being said, I do think Tarana Burke should have been front-and-center but I wonder if she was asked and declined? Wouldn’t blame her at all if she did.

    • STRIPE says:

      THANK YOU. It’s been very telling of this community to watch comments try to be both feminist and to minimize an assault victims experience because they don’t like her.

  15. QueenB says:

    She fits into the cover story and Im not going to attack her for that. But what annoyed most people was the “Silence breaker” title. It just rubs you the wrong way when Taylor is still being so silent on everything that doesnt directly affect her. Or tries to silence people calling someone powerful like her out. Thats the problem.

    If you personalize stories you have advantages and disadvantages. I’d have been in favour of a faceless crowd but if you choose people than you know putting the lady who started the movement on it would be the bare minimum. Though to be fair being a WoC is what she did wrong, eh?

  16. Cee says:

    I believe it is important to add her story to the Time’s coverage of this movement, because she refused to be vitimised by her assailant. However, she had the money and position to do so. This does not negate the fact she was brave in fighting him back, but she was in a very unique position in doing so.

    But she does not belong in that cover. I’m sorry to all of her fans, but she does not. Rose McGowan belonged there. Or the woman who created #MeToo. Hell, Terry Crewes belongs there even more so than Swift. Ronan Farrow, who used his privilege to expose Weinstein.

    Swift is not a feminist in the sense that she does not use her voice, image and platform to fight for women’s causes. She actively chooses not to do so. Her silence is not passive, it is active. The fact she does not denounce Nazis and white supremacists is very telling of her.

  17. monette says:

    “Time’s “silence breaker” of the year: an out of touch, ACLU-condemned fair weather feminist who probably only agreed to do the interview on the condition that they didn’t ask her about Donald Trump.”

    Hahahahaha

  18. Mop top says:

    Ugh. Ashley Judd will be through the roof insufferable now.

  19. EOA says:

    The Marlow Stern tweet is incredibly irresponsible and that anyone would seriously entertain the idea that Taylor Swift is responsible for Kanye West’s mental health? Well, that person has lost any objectivity on the subject of Taylor Swift.

  20. Lucy says:

    “Again, if you’re arguing that she has every right to be apolitical, I agree. She has every right to be publicly (and privately) apolitical.” This makes no sense. It’s not even an opinion of mine. Sure, she may choose not to comment on certain topics but the truth is, there’s simply no such thing as being “apolitical”.

  21. Ira says:

    I’m sick of Taylor Swift. She’s really shameless. She will use any opportunity for her own gain. In this particular revelation which she gave little contribution to the cause, I’m very disappointed with TIME, there are many women (and men) who deserve that cover more than Swift.
    But she won’t go away. I know for the next decades I will still see her hijacking any cause that she and her team think will help with her image.

    • Nancy says:

      Ever since Kanye walked on that stage at a very inconsequential award show, come on Video Music Awards, we’re not talking the Grammys here……she became the perennial victim. Yes she was popular and becoming a star, but that was the icing on the cake. Every tween was crying and their mothers were cursing and Kanye was Satan forever more. Lol. She’s been milking the victim crown for years and it worked until people who know the real her started to unpeel the onion. Who better than to represent a victim than the queen. So so over this chick.

      • Sandra says:

        I remember watching that happen in real time and then was so confused by the backlash. I had been watching the VMA’s since their inception in the 1980s. What Kanye did was par for the course for that show. People would tune in to see what shenanigans would take place that year. I couldn’t understand the uproar: things like that are SUPPOSED to happen at the VMA’s!

  22. FishBeard says:

    Yep. She’s been more complicit in silencing people than in breaking those silences.

  23. DesertReal says:

    Nah.
    She didn’t deserve to be on the cover.
    Her lawsuit was from when? 2015?
    She won it this year, & good on her for not letting that asshats nonsense slide. But relating events that were on record in a lawsuit that started years ago, does not a cover make.
    Now if she’d like to speak up about some current events regarding the recent social climate…perhaps she’d be worthy of a mention in the same conversation.

    • Jamie says:

      Do you know how many woman her court case will help? Her court case is now a precedent, which lawyers can use to argue any harassment and sexual assault case from now on. This has real world use, much much more important than a tweet or an interview.

      • DesertReal says:

        She won her years long lawsuit.
        No one is taking that away from her. Lending voices to something that has been kept silent for so long, is what finally gave the #MeToo movement some much needed publicity.
        To help people that have felt powerless, isolated, discouraged, and completely overlooked- has real world value.
        But I guess that’s subjective?

  24. Katydid20 says:

    My exact thoughts when I saw the cover! I can’t think of any moment when she came out for the MeToo movement or talked about women

  25. Jayna says:

    I never got why she was on the cover. She could have been in the magazine and such, but the cover made no sense to me.

  26. Talie says:

    I’m dubious, but she did win her case and everyone knows any court case to do with sexual crimes are notoriously difficult to win.

  27. Bex says:

    Regardless of your stance on the cover, Marlow Stern’s take that Taylor is responsible for Kanye’s mental health issues is unhelpful at best (also- I’d rather not hear from men right now about which women merit inclusion)

  28. LearningtheSystem says:

    I understand why her being there and someone like Rose was not is a question to be asked, but I do think it’s important that we not rank victims and discredit their experience as being less significant than others and therefore an unworthy victim to be recognized for speaking out.
    That is a dangerous line of thought and close to the argument often used that the harassment was blown out of proportion and was not a big deal.
    She doesn’t have to be a perfect victim. She did fight back very publicly. She has a tremendous following among younger women and girls. She is a hero for setting an example to that very large demographic. She used that influence for good in this instance and that is the specific category which the cover represents.
    I don’t know her music either and am not a fan, but good on her in this.

  29. grabbyhands says:

    I’ll accuse her of using the “angry black man” trope to gain sympathy against what Kanye did, which is pretty f*cking gross, but I don’t feel like you can lay his breakdown at her feet. That had been a long time coming.

    I get that she sells magazines, but I still feel like it was a joke to put her on the cover. She deserves to have her story told and she deserves some credit for having to go into court and face the goon that assaulted her. But let’s not pretend that she’s some great advocate for women, because she’s not – unless it benefits her in some way. She didn’t deserve to be on the cover.

  30. Shambles says:

    This is an extremely well-written post about a very nuanced issue. Round of applause. I agree with all of it, too. Taylor Swift, in all honesty, had nothing to do with the MeToo movement. Hers was a lawsuit that had been in litigation for years. The MeToo movement was a specific cultural wave that began this year, in the wake of the NYTs exposé on Harvey Weinstein. Just from a chronological standpoint, she has no business on the cover of Time’s POTY 2017. I’m not saying she is any less a victim, but she simply was not one of the Silence Breakers of 2017. This was obviously a marketing decision, and it feels disingenuous.

    Add to that the disingenuity of Taylor Swift herself, and you have a whole other slew of issues with putting The Aryan Princess of White Girl Victimhood on this cover. To associate her as one of the faces of a movement that’s all about toxic masculinity, imbalance of power, and women stepping into their own authentic power… it feels really gross. She who cannot be bothered to speak up about ANYTHING (not reproductive rights, pay inequality, not a single thing) except what affects her firsthand and the list of names of the people she thinks have wronged her. She who cannot be bothered to say “Nazis are bad.” She who cannot be bothered to say “Donald Trump is bad,” when he is arguably the reason for this movement that she’s been made the face of. She who, with some of her very own song lyrics, has perpetuated some of the toxic ideas that contribute to this culture (yes, I know she was young when she wrote some of her older songs. But she has never, in her boundless feminism, said a word about the harmful sh!t she’s written in the past).

    She has no business as the face of this movement. And yes, some of my irritation does come from the fact that this is another oppronity for her to turn herself into a martyr. She doesn’t need any more of those. She has plenty.

  31. Margo S. says:

    I can’t stand Taylor and actually thought the photo of her on the cover was photoshopped as a joke. Like “let’s put Taylor everywhere!” Then I realized it was real and was like, “what?! Damn, someone higher up at Time must be in Taylor’s pocket. Pathetic.

  32. Sarah says:

    Taylor is not responsible for whom Time chose for the cover photo.

    Second- I don’t know who’s in that picture, but it sure as hell isn’t Taylor! 🤪
    I seriously studied that photo and could not figure out it was her, prior to reading the story. 😂

  33. ell says:

    i’m torn; other women deserved a cover more than she did. i know asia argento refused to do it, but if anyone should have been on the cover it should have been her, since she was the first one to speak about weinstein (and she also got tons of crap in italy, because unfortunately italy as a country is still inherently misogynist and 30 years behind everyone else). alternatively rose mcgowan should have been on the cover.

    BUT. i don’t like some of the attacks towards TS, because she did her part and it was relevant and important. she also didn’t cause kanye to have a breakdown, to imply she’s responsible for his mental health is really dangerous, as that’s not how mental health works.

    do i wish TS stopped being so duplicitous? yes. as much as i wish she’d start using her platform for doing more than bickering with other artists or ex-bfs. was her role relevant in speaking out against harassment and supporting other artists in those situations? yes. she didn’t deserve a cover, but she deserved to be there.

  34. Nancy says:

    Person of the Year is probably the most sought after issue of the year. Sincerely doubt that Swift’s mug on the cover made a difference in sales. She had her day in court and won, Surely her fans were happy to see her on the cover, others, like myself, didn’t care. For someone with mediocre musical ability and a grandiose opinion of herself, she isn’t doing too bad. As far as Kanye goes, she indicated in a public forum, she didn’t want to be a part of the conversation. Bless her heart. @Sarah: when I first looked at the pic, I thought it was someone who resembles Swift. The nose appeared slightly broader and I thought it was an earlier photo of her, so you’re not alone!!

  35. DiligentDiva says:

    I believe she belonged in the story, she deserved to do an interview (which apparently she did via-email), but no she did not deserve to be on the cover.
    She overshadowed the importance number one, instead of talking about #metoo we’re talking about Taylor Swift, she hasn’t been outspoken about anything yes she fought back when her assailant attempted to sue her but in truth she hasn’t been outspoken about sexual violence at all, she hasn’t come forward with a statement of support for her fellow victims in the industry, she hasn’t denounced Trump, and her spot easily could have been given to Lupita Nyong’o, Terry Crews, or even Rose McGowan. All of these people have been extremely outspoken and really have been the “silence breakers” in terms of the corruption and sexual violence in hollywood.
    I’m not saying Taylor Swift’s story isn’t valid, nor am I saying she didn’t deserve coverage, she just didn’t belong on that cover when so many other people have been way more outspoken then she is. We all know it. They put her on the cover to get people talking and make people buy it.

  36. Tanesha86 says:

    Her being on the cover completely mischaracterizes her involvement in the movement. No one is arguing whether or not she was assaulted, she was full stop. Myself and others are frustrated that she was included on the cover as if she’s been on the ground floor fighting the good fight (ie. Rose McGowan, Kesha, Tarana Burke, etc) and she has not. She’s all for self preservation and self promotion and I think it’s disingenuous for her or other people to make it seem like she’s played a larger role than she actually has in this movement. Taylor Swift is no activist

  37. Nope says:

    No, really … Rose McGowan did

    • Kitten says:

      You didn’t see the thread from yesterday? Rose is an imperfect victim so doesn’t deserve it.
      /s

      • Scout says:

        An imperfect victim? She is cherry picking who is an actual victim – she worked with and defended a convicted child rapist. Rose loves shaming people for staying silent and being complicit yet can’t be added to explain her own silence and complicity.

      • Wilma says:

        Not what I said. Please don’t distort my words. Rose McGowan is an imperfect ally because she refused to condemn a known child abuser she worked with and instead praised him. I didn’t even get into her problematic comments with regards to racism and transgender women.

        There are no imperfect victims as far as I’m concerned. My mother, my sister, my aunt, my nieces and I have all been sexually abused, assaulted or raped and all under very different circumstances, all having very different reactions. I’ve already lived the truth that we shouldn’t judge or place value on the way someone is a victim or who a victim is. But Rose McGowan has a searchable track record of not being a good ally to other victims of abuse and I don’t understand why I’m not allowed to call her out for that.

      • Kitten says:

        @ Scout-So that negates everything she’s done in terms of shining a spotlight on Weinstein? Yeah no, miss me with that shit.

        Imperfect people who make terrible mistakes still make worthy contributions to our society. But yeah, she’s a woman so of course she must be a saint and morally unassailable at all times. *eyeroll*

        @ Wilma-I responded to you on yesterday’s thread. Haven’t changed my position and don’t feel the need to rehash the same argument again. No one isn’t “allowing” you to voice your opinion, but you put it out there so you should be prepared for others who might disagree.

      • Wilma says:

        You’re distorting my position, which isn’t on the status of her victimhood. You’re not discussing my actual point which has nothing to do with her credibility as a victim. So you’re not allowing me my actual opinion, but are assigning me an opinion I don’t actually have. I always like your posts and thoughts, it sort of suprises me that this is happening.

  38. Mina says:

    She won a case court against a guy who groped her. That’s a huge victory. Let’s forget she’s Taylor Swift and accept not many women would have taken such a thing to court or won. She helped set a good precedent with her testimony. So yes, she deserved that spot.

  39. JA says:

    Thank you! No one is saying she isn’t a victim but she sure as F wasn’t the face or behind the movement. She silences those who dare speak against her and the only kind of feminism she tolerates is the kind that benefits her. There is no perfect victim, Taylor is a two faced snake who will NEVER speak out against white supremacy or Nazis BUT she was none the less a victim.

  40. Bridget says:

    While I can think of other women (or men) I would have preferred to see on there, it’s also easy to forget how much of a boss Taylor was in that lawsuit. We NEVER see an accuser hold her assaulted accountable like that. She said everything we’ve ever wanted to say to the men that put their hands on us. It was amazing.

  41. kimbers says:

    I’m just happy i don’t do twitter. it seems annoying, self promoting, frustrating and non-essential to a happy life.

  42. Bonsai Mountain says:

    No she didn’t and it was a travesty. Agree with Shambles’ excellent post above. The tagline is ‘Silence-breakers’, about breaking a culture of silence that protects those IN POWER. Most of the women on the cover do this at great personal cost and sacrifice, because they lack power themselves – institutionally, economically, politically, socially and culturally. This is not Taylor Swift, who has all of these forms of power in abundance, and who in fact uses the same power tactics of the status quo to assert and retain her position, and to silence others. She was a victim, she deserved her day in court, but she is not a silence-breaker. Her presence de-legitimizes the cover because again, white privilege is awarded the face of the movement for doing the bare minimum: she counter-sued for a dollar. ONE DOLLAR. Put her name on the cover if you need to sell magazines, or put her inside the mag, but not her face on the cover. It centers her in everything and undermines the message. Shame on TIME.

  43. Hannah says:

    Hmmm I’m a leftie, a feminist and not a Taylor Swift fan…

    However, I don’t expect the women who are assaulted to also be lefties or to also be feminists. I don’t expect these women to speak out further on the cause. I don’t expect them to to use their celebrity to speak out further. My support is for the women themselves.

    Do I think Taylor should be more proactive in this area? 100%. However, I’m not going to measure her as less worthy than anyone else to be on a cover simply because she doesn’t. That’s really not what any of this is about.

    She stood up to a man in court who took advantage of her. Happy for her to be on the cover.

  44. Samantha says:

    I respected the way she handled her case, but she should not have been on the cover. As already stated, she’s not the voice/face of this movement. The cover shouldn’t have been so celebrity-focued. It detracts from the fact that “silence-breakers” includes numerous people; including behind the scenes crew, anonymous people, people who’ve left the buisuness, etc.

  45. Oh-Dear says:

    I don’t mind that she’s on the cover. It invites conversation and dialogue, which reflects the ethos of a culture and society. The response to Taylor being on the cover shows that the community around feminism (and outside it) still feels entitled to determine the value of a person’s experience and how they choose to take up their public life with a need to be most a most perfect advocate. Women often want other women to be more ‘perfect’ than men do, especially in a society that values celebrity above intellectual influencers. Many of the suffragettes were problematic too – some believed in forced-sterilization and they advocated for white moment, not the whole community of women and were quite elitist. They were imperfect and still benefit the movement as a whole.

    I don’t mind that Taylor doesn’t engage herself politically. She might not articulate her thoughts well (as it doesn’t seem like she is often well spoken about things and comes off juvenile), which could take away from the strong voices who are out there doing the great work they do. Those who do speak out often get attacked for saying the wrong things – that is not her niche. There are other performers who love to be political and vocal, that intellectual and political engagement is authentic to their core (I think Demi Levato, Elton John, George Michael), and others who aren’t. The extent of her public outrage is being dumped by a boy, she’s never been anything different than that, and probably never will. I think she did a great job on the stand, and for that she can be commended. As mentioned above, her case allows for precedent. But ti also allows demonstrates how victims/survivors can counter argue when facing an attorney who tries to slut-shame a survivor, which in incredibly valuable too.

  46. Anne says:

    I think Taylor was on the cover because she represents one of the many ways that women fought back this year. There were notable names that did it by coming forward and telling their stories of abuse. For Taylor, she fought back in a “this will not destroy you but will make a point” counter suit, and she won. Her part of the story is important because it shows women will not be intimidated into accepting the status quo. I applaud her for making the counter suit for $1. It was about the principle – not about her own gain or destroying the man who sued her. So her one piece of gain from it was being included on a cover – big deal.

  47. Other Renee says:

    I think that arguing over who gets to be on a magazine cover or who is more appropriate to be called the face of a movement dilutes the power of the movement. Once women start telling each other how to act, what to say in order to be a part of the solution, we invite criticism from those not yet on board. We look like cats fighting. Is that what we really want? Is that how we want to appear to those just realizing that perhaps they too have been a victim and not even realized it? Or to those who may not yet realize how widespread the problem is? We want to be taken seriously by EVERYONE after all. And that won’t happen if we criticize a magazine for putting a woman who did make a difference this year on its cover, whether we like the rest of her actions or not. We do not get to choose how a victim chooses to speak or act.

  48. themummy says:

    I think they should have had Rose McGowan on the cover instead of Taylor Swift. I’m honestly kind of surprised Rose wasn’t on it. She’s kind of been THE loud voice on this. She’s been a wrecking ball of truth and anger. She deserved the cover.

    Also, I love that woman in the bottom corner whose arm only is shown. I’m glad they acknowledged those women who still do not feel it is safe or ok to speak out, who are still being silenced for whatever reason.

  49. Bliss 51 says:

    Included in the magazine, yes. On the cover, no. So is this the beginning of the Koch’s influence of their magazine? Magazines and music need sales.

  50. Case says:

    Of course she belongs there. Of course. A man tried to punish her for notifying his employer about the assault. He tried to silence her. And she was absolutely badass in court when he tried to blame her for his actions and take money from her. It makes me angry that it’s up for debate whether she “deserves” to be on this cover.

    Yes, Kesha is also a good candidate, but this is Person of the YEAR. Kesha’s legal battles against her rapist started long before this year, so I’m wondering if in a sense, the editors didn’t feel her story fits with what is currently happening. Or, perhaps Kesha just didn’t want to be involved.

    I am vehemently against Taylor’s silence on all things political — I find there is little to respect about silence in the year 2017. HOWEVER, I think it’s important to include women in this feature that aren’t necessarily well-liked. I’m certainly no fan of Megyn Kelly, but I sympathize as a woman with what she has been through.

  51. Justjj says:

    As everyone has already said, Rose McGowan should have been on the cover instead of Tswift.

  52. Amy Tennant says:

    She doesn’t NOT belong there.

  53. Marianne says:

    It would be one things if she was the sole person on the cover. And no matter how you slice it, she’s huge and is going to drive people into buying the magazine.

  54. Falum says:

    That first tweet saying she is responsible for Kanye’s mental health issues is disgusting and shame on you for reposting it.

  55. Franny says:

    My first reaction when I saw this was that “me too” has a founder who has a name, but Time barely mentioned her name in the article – I had to dig around for it. I get that Alyssa Milano made it viral, so she gets some credit.

    But Swift and not the founder? It kind of turns my stomach. I did applaud her for taking her assaulter to court, but she isn’t the voice of any movement.

  56. You Are Not Your Selfie says:

    It always seems odd to me when Time picks a group or movement as the ‘person’ of the year.

  57. Louise177 says:

    No, she didn’t deserve the cover. The only reason people know about the groping was because she was sued. Taylor didn’t sue the dj although a lot of people have that impression. I think it’s shocking and baffling Taylor was on the cover was due to how silent she was. She released a statement about women’s rights and donated to charity but nothing before and after the trial. Her silence was especially deafening considering all of the women, and men, coming forward the last few months. It just seems odd since so many were more vocal and had notoriety. But for business reason, I’m sure Time thought Taylor would sell better than Rose or Kesha.

  58. A says:

    I nearly forgot that she sent a cease and desist letter to some blogger. But now that I’ve remembered, I agree 100% that she doesn’t belong in the cover, let alone the story.

    Taylor Swift has made it perfectly clear with her every action that she cares solely about white women and no one else. I’m not white. To know that she is more concerned with a small time blogger criticizing her, than she is about tackling white supremacists who stan her, shows to me that her sense of justice doesn’t extend towards women every where, and especially not to the women who are victimized by the white supremacists she doesn’t even have the decency to disavow.

    Feminism is not for you just when it’s convenient. It is not just a series of individual decisions that you get to make about your life. It is a movement designed to dismantle the systematic and institutionalized structures that prevent women, as a class, from being equal to men. I commend her for standing up for herself in the face of the assault she suffered at the hands of that DJ. But she’s demonstrated pretty clearly to me that she doesn’t give an eff about me, a woman of colour, who has to make a decision every day to stand up against not only misogyny, but a specifically racialized sense of misogyny that’s perpetrated by white supremacy. And until she figures out her own shortcomings in that department, she is in no way a silence breaker to me.

  59. Beatrix says:

    I understand the business decision TIME made by choosing to have Taylor on its cover. I get that the story will have further reach with her on the cover than it would have without her featured as prominently, and for that reason I choose to be fine with it. That said, she doesn’t belong on that cover with those other brave women. Taylor was an impeccable badass in her overall handling of the lawsuit against the ass-grabbing radio DJ. However, she is not a representative face of this cultural shift, nor has she been a “silence-breaker” in any impactful or significant way. Taylor has benefited financially from wearing feminism as if it were fashion and aside from the most recent countersuit against a man who assaulted her, she has never truly stood for women’s rights for fear of financial loss to her music sales.

  60. Shannon says:

    I see no reason to argue about who’s on the cover. I mean, honestly there could have been scheduling conflicts or who knows? I’d have liked to see more women, just to showcase the extent of the problem, but the inclusion of TS in and of itself doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is that random arm – is it a foldout cover or what?

  61. Trashaddict says:

    No, I don’t really think Taylor deserves to be on the cover. But I take MASSIVE joy in any of these women displacing Greedy Freaking Donny on the cover. Can we please enjoy that victory for just a minute? I’m hoping he was apoplectic when he saw it. This was a massive STFU from Time to the nasty orange Cheetoh.

  62. yoon says:

    lmao that photo of her performing you chose was spot on, thank you for making me laugh.

    taylor only speaks up when it brings her personal gain. she will keep mum if the cash keeps flowing into her pocket. she’s a product, and i’m pretty sure deep down she knows she is one too. which is why she’s constantly trying to prove otherwise.

  63. corporatestepsister says:

    Asia Argento should be on that cover; her denouncing Weinstein got this whole thing going.

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