Thanks to decades of overblown media attention and a certain Twitter spotlight shone by our commander-in-chief, Time magazine’s Person of the Year issue arrived to much fanfare and even more relief. The periodical wisely chose #MeToo, the movement of women who are standing up to sexual harassment and assault, most visibly in Hollywood and on the Hill.
The move shows Time taking the high road — forgoing numerous options meant to peeve the president, such as Colin Kaepernick and unintentional Trump foil Jeff Bezos, in favor of a group of women and men who have instigated a flood of allegations and taken down stalwarts across industries, from Harvey Weinstein to Al Franken. In short, it recognizes a commendable movement and its monumental achievements.
Scores of the blue-checkmark Twitter elite and bloggers at left-wing rags masquerading as women’s magazines (such as Nylon) decried Time’s inclusion of Swift in its cover story, which noted the star’s successful counter-suit against David Mueller, a former radio host who had groped her underneath her skirt during a photo op.
First came the “How can someone who didn’t endorse Hillary be a ‘silence breaker’?” camp. Ann-Derrick Gaillot at The Outline dubbed Swift “the queen of silence,” complaining that on Swift’s latest album, “there was no mention of the administration headed by an admitted sexual harasser, but plenty about the legions of people who have wronged her.” And here I was, foolish enough to believe the Left when they said that the personal was political. But more on that in a moment.
Evette Dionne, a senior culture editor at Bitch media, slammed Swift and Kelly as “white women invested in white supremacy” and “absolutely not” silence breakers. Intersectional moaning aside, Dionne provides no other rationale. Similarly, Luvvie Ajayi claimed that Swift had been included thanks only to her “whiteness, youngness, thinness, blondeness, [and] richness.”
But the Left would be wise to consider the actual implications of what the perennially private Swift has done for future sexual-assault victims everywhere. In 2013, Swift effectively got Mueller, her assaulter, fired. When he sued her for lost income and potential future earnings, Swift retaliated with a $1 counter-suit and won earlier this year. With a single dollar, Swift helped paved the way for women of less means or fame to take their assaulters to civil court, where they are more likely to prevail given the limited evidence often left behind by incidents of sexual assault.
The notoriously private singer divulged intimate details of a humiliating moment — inevitably covered by the press — for no financial gain of her own. She also gave fellow singer Kesha a quarter of a million dollars as she pursued legal action against her producer and abuser, Dr. Luke.
While the Left might prefer politically convenient interviews and ideological echoes, an action resulting in $1 in damages was far more consequential.
Sure, Swift has not hashtagged and virtue-signaled her way to leftist fandom, but she put her money where her mouth is. Her bravery to speak out in court against the man who assaulted her may have instigated a 35 percent increase in calls to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) in the weekend following Swift’s successful verdict, according to RAINN president Scott Berkowitz. While the Left might prefer politically convenient interviews and ideological echoes, an action resulting in $1 in damages was far more consequential.
Time’s choice can be criticized on a number of smaller grounds. Bill O’Reilly accuser Gretchen Carlson was left out, and #MeToo champion Rose McGowan was not pictured on the cover. But to claim that Taylor Swift is not a sexual-assault activist is a willfully dishonest attempt to ignore the definition of “action” entirely in favor of political expedience.
— Tiana Lowe is a senior studying mathematics and economics at the University of Southern California.