It has created a wave of awareness and brave confrontations over sexual harassment and assault, taking down powerful men in the process. And now the #MeToo movement has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2017.
On its cover, Time called the people behind the movement “The Silence Breakers.” Its story features women and men who have spoken out, including activist Tarana Burke, who started the hashtag 10 years ago.
#MeToo rose to prominence as a social media campaign in the wake of high-profile accusations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. After actress Alyssa Milano popularized the hashtag, thousands of women began sharing their stories about the pervasive damage wrought by sexual harassment and by “open secrets” about abuse.
“The reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight. But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries,” Time’s Stephanie Zacharek, Eliana Dockterman and Haley Sweetland Edwards write. “Women have had it with bosses and coworkers who not only cross boundaries but don’t even seem to know that boundaries exist.”
Marking a possible cultural shift back in October, NPR’s Sarah McCammon quoted associate professor Lisa Huebner saying of #MeToo, “It helps a lot of people individually, I think, and it also will help us to mark publicly that this is a widespread occurrence, and it’s not OK.”