The past year was a year of scandals revealed and shocking news, and Time‘s annual Person of the Year issue for 2017 is saying something more than what the viewer initially sees in its cover photo. This year, the publication which has been coming out regularly since 1927 and features and 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” is dedicated to many more people than just one person or a group.
On the cover of the 2017 issue, four women are seen. If you look closely, however, you might spot a peculiar detail – the elbow of another person. This detail is there on purpose: in fact, it belongs to an anonymous woman who experienced sexual harassment but did not want to reveal her identity.
This year’s Person of the Year isn’t a singular person at all. It is a group of individuals whose bravery opened about being sexually harassed. The issue explores the stories of the so-called “Silence Breakers,” as the magazine refers to them – people from all over the United States who work in various industries. What’s common for them is that they all decided to step forward and raise their voice against sexual misconduct.
The cover features lobbyist Adama Iwu, actress Ashley Judd, software engineer Susan Fowler, strawberry picker Isabel Pascual (pseudonym), and singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.
Time national correspondent Charlotte Alter appeared on BuzzFeed News‘ morning show AM to DM last week. She explained the meaning behind the elbow detail.
“That’s very intentional,” Alter said. “That’s an anonymous woman who is a hospital worker who was experiencing harassment and didn’t feel that she could come forward.”
The woman still has to decide if she wants to go all public with her story. That’s why she requested anonymity.
“A huge part of this story is that, as much as the stigma around this has been removed this year because of the ‘Me Too’ movement, it’s still really difficult for a lot of women to come forward,” Alter said. “It’s important to include people who have to stay anonymous for professional reasons, who don’t have the resources to weather what would happen if they lost their job or they couldn’t support their families. So we wanted to include people where to really reference the risk that these women are taking by speaking out about this.”
Did you know that one of the most famous and best-paid actresses in the world today, Jennifer Lawrence has also been the subject of harassment?