Time magazine has named ‘The Silence Breakers’ – featuring the men and women who spoke up with the #MeToo movement – as the 2017 Person of the Year. The online hashtag movement had snowballed into a worldwide phenomenon after the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal broke out, drawing people out of the closet and giving them the courage to speak up and speak out against their harassers. The announcement was made on Wednesday morning on the Today Show in the US.
The #MeToo movement, became an outcry against sexual harassment sans boundaries – be it of country, class, race and even gender. The phrase was first used by social activist Tarana Burke back in 2006 as part of an effort to build solidarity among survivors of harassment and assault. This was brought into the forefront by American actress Alyssa Milano when she tweeted out the moving cry – “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet” – October 15. Not only celebrities, but people across the world responded to the call.
Time’s parameters of ranking were based on the magazine editors’ reckoning of who or what had most influenced the news in the past year, for good or bad. US President Donald Trump was second, while Chinese Premier Xi Jinping came in the third spot.