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Times Person of the year for 2017 was announced on Wednesday – and in a breathtaking movement of solidarity, “The Silence Breakers” took the cover, In honor of the glass shattering #metoo movement and subsequent absolutely stunning marking out of abusers.
The yearly cover profiles a person, a group, an idea, or an object that “for better or for worse… has done the most to influence the events of the year”. It’s this little titbit that is why – in some magical irony or really delightful planning – Baby who got into it’s mothers foundation wearing daddys suit and American President, Donald Trump is runner up. Trump was previously on the cover last year after continuously being not quite a disappointment enough to the human race to cover the “for worse” aspect of the criteria. Upon his achieving this “Great Honor” last year he was quoted as saying:

“It means a lot, especially me to growing up reading Time magazine. And it’s a very important magazine, and I’ve been lucky enough to be on the cover many times this year — and last year. But I consider this a very, very great honor.”

Which is totally what you’d expect from someone who the year before had this to say about NOT being being chosen (losing out to Angela Merkel):

“I was on their cover four, five weeks ago. They should have picked me for the ‘Person of the Year,’ but they didn’t. No, they should have,” Trump said. “ … I said I’m never going to get it because I’m not establishment. But every panel that I saw on television when Time was — because, you know, it’s sort of cool, even though the magazine’s going down the tubes. No, it’s a cool thing. Most magazines are going down, in all fairness to them. It’s great, isn’t it? To watch these guys go down the tubes? Isn’t it great? I love it.”

Regardless of his 2015 salt spray and His 2016 accolade – he’s yet to respond to once again, losing out. But I’m absolutely sure he will in 5 tweets or less.

Times Person of the year cover is known to be grossly misunderstood by the public – Many forgetting the “better or worse” criteria, and more considering the cover images to be nothing more than a portrait of the winner, with the real content being inside it’s hallowed pages. However, if you pay a little bit of attention to these covers, You’ll find they’re more full of context and reflection than you’d expect. Donald trumps 2016 cover was called “A subversive act of political art” – Because I don’t care to waste word count talking about him more than I have to, Forward did a great piece breaking down the incredible masterpiece that is possibly one of times best Person of the Year covers to date.
This years cover is no different in it’s thoughtful and moving portrait and choice of winner. However as is common with The Cover announcement, People have made comments on the choice of cropping and framing – Appearing to have cropped a woman out, leaving nothing but her elbow.

 

 

Really loving the new Time Magazine cover, but my sympathies to whoever thought they were going to be on the cover of Time but ended up being cropped down to an elbow.pic.twitter.com/9Kis8e7dFt Petrichor (Made of Bones) (@cora_made_of) December 6, 2017

While its easy to look at the cover and think that they simply didn’t frame the shot right – that’s just not in line with the general quality of these portraits. And surely enough – This stray, lone elbow was deliberate.
Deliberate and powerful.
“The stray elbow on Time’s Person of the Year cover is meant to include victims of sexual harassment who have to stay anonymous: It’s still really difficult for a lot of women to come forward,” said Time’s national correspondent, Charlotte Alter.
“She too is a victim of sexual harassment but was there anonymously, she said, as an act of solidarity to represent all those who could not speak out,” Time said.
So many of us live in fear of our abusers years after the fact . We see them in the streets, in our social circles, at our jobs, our social feeds – that level of day to day closeness (potential or real) leaves so many of us silently putting up our hands, only able to say #Metoo – Without actually getting to call out those who abused us.
Our accounts become muted because we did not dare to share the details or the names of our assaults. For every “Silence Breaker” who bravely shouted their truth from the roof tops, there are many that can’t even whisper it.
A victims chances of being heard depend on a number of things – one of them being the willingness to name and detail your assailant. Personally – It is of no secret in my life that I have been raped and sexually assaulted – however I will not publicly out again them for fear of their reprisal – something I have avoided for some years now.
For many of us, there is no safety in numbers when you could run into your abuser on the way home from work, Or doing your shopping. There is no distance between us and the people we wish so deeply would be plucked from our eyes and minds.
And some of us – Terrifyingly enough – are so close to our attackers we can’t even say #metoo. This is because so often we think of rapists and abusers as strangers in dark alleys, when they’re our friends, family and co-workers. Their in our homes, at our parties, in our spaces. They are the most visible of invisible evil. They do not need an alley way to hide in.
So many of us are the stray Elbow in the #metoo movement – and Time Magazine has done the movement such wonderful justice, by including everyone of us survivors.
From those who stand tall and speak loud and with clarity, to those who sit on the side lines, letting the voices of others wash over us as we deep breathe into our own stories and the hope that eventually, We’ll come so far that we no longer have to choose between our sanity and dignity by pressing charges on our abusers and risking being one of the 994 out 1000 who see their abusers walk free. That one day we’ll be able to say the names of our abusers, or tell our stories – without the fear of being branded with a Scarlett letter by those who simply – “want to know both sides of the story” or thinks we didn’t “do enough”.
The mere act of leaving “pussy grabber”  as a runner up to this movement – while it seems like a sick joke, Does one thing – it reminds us that even in the rush of stories, change and revolution, America’s Most powerful man, can be accused of rape and assault – admit to it and still maintain his right to be President. And if that doesn’t outline how far we have to go, and how much work we all have to do – I don’t know what else does.
But in the mean time – Congratulations. You might not have spoken up. But Time knows you’re there. We know you’re there. This is for you and everyone you know who doesn’t get to have a voice in this. For those of us we lost to their trauma, and for those of us surviving it now. For those of us reliving traumas every day since this movement happened and for the loved ones of silent victims.
This cover is for all of us.

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Sam El

Author Sam El

Sam El is a Perth Based Writer, Model and Half potato, half Human Hybrid. She's also the face behind (and infront) of Colabritos.com. When she's not paying the bills, Sam spends her time staring at spots on the walls untill her eyes water, Stopping people in the street so she can pat their dog, and avoiding eye contact. If you see her, say hello. She hates that.

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