December 7, 2017

Why is Taylor Swift on Time's "Silence Breakers" Person of the Year Cover? And why is Rose McGowan not?

Quite a few people are asking this question, e.g., Vox:
Swift does have grounds to appear on the cover: She was at the center of a sexual assault trial this summer that in retrospect seems like a precursor to our current post-Weinstein moment.... In 2013, Taylor Swift was groped by radio DJ David Mueller, who grabbed her butt during a meet-and-greet photo session. Swift told Mueller’s boss, who fired him following an investigation. Mueller then filed a defamation suit against Swift, saying that he never touched her and that she ruined his reputation and cost him his job. So Swift filed a countersuit, claiming assault. She sought — and won — an award of just $1, saying through her lawyer that she wanted to “serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts."...

Swift’s appearance also raises the specter of those not included on the Time cover who were arguably more central to the #MeToo moment. Rose McGowan, who led the charge against Harvey Weinstein and his associates, is relegated to the interior....
It might have something to do with who was willing to sit for the portrait Time wanted for the cover. Maybe McGowan didn't want to be in that group or didn't like the words Time wanted to use or the strange aesthetics of the cover — with the women all draped in black and looking grim.


Notice that the names of the women do not appear on the cover, and I'm sure that caused many people (including me) to say I know that one's Taylor Swift but who are these other women?

I can see why Time was eager to include the very famous Taylor Swift on the cover. Swift was in the running for Person of the Year in her own right as an individual, and she did very well on Time's poll to find out who readers wanted to see.

I can think of all kinds of things that may have caused McGowan to decline to participate. Maybe she's just angry that the silence-breaking has taken so long. Why didn't Time Magazine apply its journalistic resources to breaking the silence itself long ago? Now that others have done the work, Time wants to reap rewards from doing its traditional end-of-the-year cover. I can see resisting that.

But let's see what Rose McGowan herself may be saying. Ah!

She thought Ronan Farrow deserved it. That's something many of you were saying in the comments to yesterday's post about the Person of the Year:

William said...
I guess it would kind of mess up the narrative if they named Ronan Farrow.
Freeman Hunt said...
It should be Ronan Farrow. Would any of this have broken without him?
Lucien said...
Agreed - it should have been Ronan Farrow. These women have been silent for many years and would have gone on being silent if not for him.
Ann Althouse said...
"It should be Ronan Farrow. Would any of this have broken without him?"

No, embodying the story in the person of a privileged white male would lead to criticisms that I don't think Farrow would even want. In fact, I believe that if they contacted him about being the person, he would have said no, focus on the women (they're the ones with the courage, they're the ones who suffered).
Tank said...
Ann Althouse said...

"It should be Ronan Farrow. Would any of this have broken without him?"

No, embodying the story in the person of a privileged white male...


You mean the guy who did the hard work, him? No, can't be him.
Freeman Hunt said...
"No, embodying the story in the person of a privileged white male would lead to criticisms that I don't think Farrow would even want. In fact, I believe that if they contacted him about being the person, he would have said no, focus on the women (they're the ones with the courage, they're the ones who suffered)."

I agree with all of this, but I want to point out how false media generally is. Ronan Farrow is objectively deserving of huge accolades for this. (Much to the embarrassment of certain media outlets forced to chase the story after him.)

75 comments:

Oso Negro said...

Which one is Taylor Swift?

Ken B said...

Why no Rose McGowan? Might as well ask why Norway has no statues of Vidkun Quisling.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Maybe McGowan didn't... like... the strange aesthetics of the cover — with the women all draped in black and looking grim.

Yeah, what is that they're all wearing, bath robes? Are we having a business meeting in their hotel room?

William said...

I don't know that much about her but I get the sense that Rose McGowan is kind of flaky. Precisely. A well balanced woman who was able to weigh the consequences would never have raised such a stink. That's why its important to have privileged white males around. They act out their grievances in sane, reasonable ways. They're much more credible than the average rape victim. Taylor Swift in her way is a honorary white male, except that she's more privileged.

Mike Sylwester said...

Whose elbow is that in the bottom-right corner?

Curious George said...

Why not Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, et al.

#TooLateTime

Mike Sylwester said...

That's the worst photograph of Taylor Swift I ever have seen.

james james said...

"Silence Breakers" is too close to a Fart Joke for something like The Reckoning in the Era of That's Not Funny.

- james james

Assrat said...

I'd argue this is an argument in favor of giving it to Farrow.

You can't put all the women and men on the cover. There's hundreds.

William said...

The sane,responsible way of handling a rape by Harvey Weinstein is to claim it never happened or that you pushed him off. Jennifer Lawrence claims that Harvey's interest in her was strictly paternal. Gwyneth Paltrow says that she resisted his advances but continued to work with him. Both women are saner and far more successful than Rose McGowan, and no honorable man would ever doubt their word.

SeanF said...

I'm glad I went and looked at the original article before commenting on the paragraphs Ann excerpted here.

Ann, I'd like to suggest that, when you skip over entire paragraphs in a block quote, you put the relevant ellipses on a line all by themselves:

Excerpted Paragraph One

...

Excerpted Paragraph Two

Makes it more clear that the original author didn't intend for the two paragraphs to follow one after the other.

Just my two cents. :)

FIDO said...

Took a look at Rose recently. Um...it might have been a purely aesthetic choice.

So Ms. Althouse...no man can now be given credit for anything, is that what we can consider for the future? It is a zero tolerance policy for all men now?

This does not bode well. And that you give it even tacit traction...shame on you.

Frankly, half these ladies passed any statute of limitations criminally, arguably profited from 'giving out the goodies' way back then and now seek to profit from it yet again.

To wit, they are punishing (arguably all) men for their lack of courage or character of years ago.

So I have an extra reason to ignore Times.

Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

"Makes it more clear that the original author didn't intend for the two paragraphs to follow one after the other."

Thanks, but I'm not going to do that. That's not the convention in legal writing and not the convention on this blog in 13 years of writing. I don't like seeing things excessively spaced out and I often close up paragraph breaks. It's an aesthetic preference. And sometimes I like to put things closer together than the author intended. As long as I show that there's something left out, it's not dishonest. Sometimes the original has put things farther apart to make it harder to see connections, and that's manipulative in a different way. I cop to being manipulative: I am trying to show people things. Look closer at this. See this next to this. I mean to do that.

Sebastian said...

"women all draped in black and looking grim." Just to make it very, very clear, as you've stated, that this is the age of That's Not Funny.

@FIDO:"no man can now be given credit for anything . . . It is a zero tolerance policy for all men now?" Correct. Because "criticisms."

Apparently, putting men down is the only way to achieve equality between men and women.

rhhardin said...

Where was the discussion of whether this was a public problem.

BADuBois said...

Why is Ashley Judd there? She had a chance at the March on Washington to speak out about Weinstein, but instead she went on a weird poetry slam... hating on Trump, calling him a man who bathes in Cheeto dust.

True bravery would have been taking *that* moment in the sun to speak about Weinstein.

jerpod said...

“Ann, I'd like to suggest that, when you skip over entire paragraphs in a block quote, you put the relevant ellipses on a line all by themselves.”

No extra lines!

Mac McConnell said...

Rose might not be included because she took Weinstein's $100,000.

CWJ said...

The photographer thought s(he) needed a blonde.

Caroline Walker said...

I still have a yuuuge problem with equivalence between some guy with wandering hands and another guy who locks you in a room and strips nekkid.
have any of you people seen what passes for dancing in high school these days? Girls dressed like porn stars, twerking and "presenting" posteriors; boys thrusting and grabbing.
By all means let's have a cultural "moment" to reconsider; but it will have to include reviving the concept of modesty & chastity among women, as well, or it's bogus.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, did you mean to create a tag for Rose McGowan and instead create a tag for George McGovern? Something I just noticed.

The setting makes it look as though they're still in the shadows. I thought the whole point was that they're out of the shadows.

Greg said...

It's been pointed out elsewhere that Gretchen Carlson should perhaps be there as one of the first, having taken down Roger Ailes, which led to Bill O'Reilly which likely led to all this.

CWJ said...

"Whose elbow is that in the bottom-right corner?"

The elbow is a stand-in for all the unpictured women and those who have yet to come forward.

Big Mike said...

Whose elbow is that in the bottom-right corner?

A woman who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Taylor Swift is a hugely successful and famous pop star with loads of money. She "stood up" to a moron DJ. The guy is scum and deserved what happened to him, but it didn't take huge amounts of courage for Swift to squash him like the bug he is.

Lesson: Don't piss of people with more money and lawyers than a lot of small countries by taking indecent liberties with them.

This conflicting edits thing is getting beyond annoying.

and again

Fernandistein said...

Celebrate the Year of The Feeble, Enabling Victim of Not Much.

rhhardin said...

The Swift was an airplane that tended to spin at low speed, unfortunately made by Globe and not Taylor.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Why does it exclude male "silence breakers", victims and reporters?

The cover is objectively sexist. Not very diverse in the progressive sense. Perhaps this is Time's effort to resuscitate the feminist mystique after decades of exploiting women, men, children, and babies, too.

bagoh20 said...

How much would you require to allow me to grab your butt? Asking for a friend.

No, I'm serious. How much. He's got money, and he's rich and famous. One second, that's all he wants.

Would that question offend you or make you feel kinda good?

My lady thinks it's all about power. I disagreed, but now have evolved. I think it different for each side. For the man, it is about sex, but for the woman, it's about feeling powerless. Just like my lady and I, they are communicating on different terms.

George Grady said...

Taylor Swift is a hugely successful and famous pop star with loads of money. She "stood up" to a moron DJ. The guy is scum and deserved what happened to him, but it didn't take huge amounts of courage for Swift to squash him like the bug he is.


This is true. If they don't punch you back, you aren't really punching up.

Mac McConnell said...

Lesson: Don't piss of people with more money and lawyers than a lot of small countries.

Gen. Flynn learned that.

Birches said...

If Time named Ronan Person of the Year, they also would have to deal with the uncomfortable fact that they're still giving his dad standing ovations.

Sebastian said...

@Caroline: "let's have a cultural "moment" to reconsider; but it will have to include reviving the concept of modesty & chastity among women, as well, or it's bogus." That we cannot have. Prog moves are bound to be bogus--i.e., instrumental. They are not about to declare defeat in the culture war. They'll live with the contradiction of having unmoored sexuality from morality while lamenting men's sexual transgressions, the better to exploit it against conservatives in the future. The Reckoning is about restoring the Narrative, not the culture.

lgv said...

Swift isn't as big an issue as Judd. Judd playing the victim card is pure nonsense. I think Time is going to eventually look pretty stupid on that one.

Khesanh 0802 said...

Where's Monica?

Owen said...

...spacing of lines... ...Fight the pressure to put one thing rightnexttoanother... appropriating its meaning...creating false or abitrary associations...

Freedom of association!


Stand

Up

For

White

Space

Kevin said...

If Farrow was the Person of the Year, it puts the spotlight on all the media outlets who failed or refused to follow up and print the story.

No way they want you standing in the checkout line at Whole Foods thinking about that...

Kevin said...

Owen is a white space supremacist.

Font Heil!

Henry said...

The all-black outfits are kind of weird and dystopian. I think the dystopian vibe was on purpose. But between the outfits and the institutional gray, it looks like the women are waiting for a police lineup. Not to witness one, but to appear in one.

At least Time had the good sense not to dress them all in red with giant white cowls.

TwilightofLiberty.com said...

Taylor Swift is young and hot (in the 'her career is on fire' sense).

Rose McGowan is old and not.

Owen said...

Ron Winkleheimer: good point about Taylor Swift. Not to knock her action, but it is easy (and smart) to guard (or build) your reputation as a strong un-slut when you have that kind of motivated and effective staff and money to burn.

That DJ picked the wrong target. That said, how does her action "scale" to a wider and less-wealthy population? What about the shopgirl who reads People for its life guidance: who can she sue? Does Swift's move produce useful externalities, or (never mind her spin) is it just a gesture?

Khesanh 0802 said...

@n. n. You are right. There is a big stink going on right now in MA where the Senate President's (Male) husband (male) has been accused of sexual assault on several males. Of course, there's Kevin Spacey's accuser(s) and others. Wouldn't you have been shocked if Time had actually taken a balanced visual approach? The again everyone knows that (female) "sex sells".

Achilles said...

The only reason Ronan Farrow isn't on that cover is because TIME wanted to put women there. Because.

And remember these were mostly women who were too cowardly to make the accusation at the time it would have helped others. They waited years for the most part.

Daniel Jackson said...

Taylor Swift cannot be among this select group of TIME's because a. she is not a victim; b. she did not keep silent about her outrage at being groped.

Interestingly, for years Taylor Swift has been regarded as an uptight, white bitch in the music business because a. she has talent; b. she won't Party/Put-out.

Interesting how that has played out.

Barry said...

McGowan is not on the cover, but she has a prominent and striking photo in the article.

Haven't seen the print version yet.

Wilbur said...

I'm with Oso Negro. I wouldn't know Taylor Swift if she walked in my office. I do know her music is largely unlistenable.

Drago said...

"Why is Taylor Swift on Time's "Silence Breakers" Person of the Year Cover? And why is Rose McGowan not?"

Swift is a global pop star with a huge following.

Placing her on the cover is likely to sell quite a few more magazines.

Easy.

Martin said...

Should have been Ronan Farrow.

As it is, we are honoring people women made a cynical career choice and placed other women at risk, and then changed their minds when it was in their interest to do so.

Which doesn't make them bad people, but it doesn't distinguish them either.

Oh, btb, what about the men who were assaulted or harassed by gay celebs? What about Corey Feldman, who courageously tried to alert everyone about Kevin Spacey before it was popular to do so? Objectively it is hard to see why his experience was any less meaningful that underage women who were harassed. It seems as if criticism of gays, even if pedophiles who committed assault, is too far for Time, which shines a bright light on Time's hypocrisy

Farrow's story and his doggedness in getting it published after NBC turned it down, were the key to the whole thing. While he does not show the heroism of a fireman running into a burning building, neither is he morally compromised as a careerist, which so many of the women are.

Well, there is another key: the Democratic Party and its media enablers are having a problem getting the Clintons off the stage, and feel less compelled than before November 2016 to sweep all this under the rug for fear it will bring the light back on Bill Clinton's career as a sexual abuser.

Unknown said...

Does anyone know the circulation figures for "Time"? It used to be magazines had to print them in an issue once a year due to USPS rules; don't know if that is still the case.

Anyway, I bet the print issue is more of a loss-leader for all this online hoopla.

wwww said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

@Achilles: "TIME wanted to put women there. Because. And remember these were mostly women who were too cowardly to make the accusation at the time it would have helped others. They waited years for the most part."

True but irrelevant. If you glance at the article, you see that this is strictly a play on female sympathy and solidarity, not a Reckoning with cowardice and complicity. It is how the witch hunt will unfold. Progs lost control of the narrative momentarily, but the restoration is in full swing. Women, perhaps AA excepted, will let them.

After half a century of claiming equality and autonomy, women will finally achieve it through stories of weakness and dependence.

Rick Turley said...

Birches said...

"If Time named Ronan Person of the Year, they also would have to deal with the uncomfortable fact that they're still giving his dad standing ovations."

We're absolutely convinced at our house that his dad is Frank Sinatra, not Woody Allen. I mean, just look at him.

Henry said...

Barry said...
McGowan is not on the cover, but she has a prominent and striking photo in the article.

Yes. It's important to read the article.

The article is roughly chronological, which is why it leads with Ashley Judd's story about Weinstein.

The most poignant part of the article are the photos of woman who are not stars, but "dishwasher", "strawberry picker", "hotel employee."

buwaya said...

The buzz on the right is that the next stage will be entirely homosexual pedophilia.
The target, or nexus, frequently mentioned, is Geffen.
That would put women out of the picture.
On the other hand it would, oddly maybe but it makes sense, not be invested with such hysteria.

William said...

There was the case of the Italian model who, the very next day, went to the NYPD to file a complaint. While there, Harvey called her to hit on her again. She arranged to meet him while wearing a wire. She met him and recorded some of his smooth moves. The result: she got negative publicity in the Post and the DA said the charges against Harvey were unprosecutable......Those who criticize these actresses for keeping silent should ponder the example of this woman. The actresses Did not have a winning hand, and both they and Harvey knew it. There was no career enhancing way to make their grievances known, or, in fact, any way at all. Not everyone wants to be a noble martyr or even to have their victimhood known. I'm sure that there are very many women who will take their stories about Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy or MLK to the grave. These are not stories you share with the family.

dreams said...

How about a little perspective, all these women are in the top 10% in being good looking and wealthy and a lot of them are also smart. I wonder what all the average and all the not very attractive women think about these women playing the victim when they've been so blessed. We're living in crazy times. I think it's just another example of our decadence.

Assrat said...

>Those who criticize these actresses for keeping silent should ponder the example of this woman.

Yeah, it's easy to judge; when it's your career on the line it's different.

There's got to be a middle ground, especially since there's no way to be sure what really happened.

Rabel said...

Rose was in India at least Dec. 1 and 2. It;s possible that she simply wasn't available for the photoshoot.

Rabel said...

As far as the Taylor Swift lawsuit goes,

Well

David Baker said...

Taylor Swift is the modern master of self-promotion. Hardly a minute goes by when we don't see a picture of her or mention of her name somewhere.

Yancey Ward said...

I think Ms. Althouse is likely correct- had Farrow been offered the designation, he would have turned it down, but he was the catalyst for this, and no one else.

Doug said...

Who cares?

holdfast said...

According to Swift, the DJ didn't just put his hand on her ass, he slid it up under her skirt. That's a little more intimate, and harder to claim a "mistake".

She then complained to the DJ's boss, who fired the DJ.

THE DJ then sued for defamation.

She COUNTER-claimed and won. $1.

Obviously she's rich and has hot and cold running lawyers on tap. That said, she does rely on DJs to play her music. If DJs as a community turned against her, it would be very costly.

Kansas City said...

Why is Swift wearing a neckline that draws attention to her boob?

Robert said...

Gretchen Carlson broke the silence a year ago, before it was a trend. Doesn't she deserve more credit? She filed a lawsuit and a bunch of other women then felt free to break their silence as a result, and it took down one of the most powerful men in news, Roger Ailes.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Not everyone wants to be a noble martyr or even to have their victimhood known. I'm sure that there are very many women who will take their stories about Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy or MLK to the grave. These are not stories you share with the family.


Somewhat surprising none of these bigs seem to get murdered.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

McGowan was a fierce fighter that gave no quarter to her enemy. That is taboo for women who are supposed to
Be seekers of peace and harmony.

Nobody liked Joan D’Ark either. If she stood up and beat the powerful men,she made the other women look weak and men
Look useless. That
Was Joan’s status after the win. The cultural Taipans hate that. Think ofKentucky forbidding scheduling Louisville in basketball, or TCU forbidden
Scheduling Texas in football , for decades.

Smilin' Jack said...

they're the ones with the courage...

A tag like #MeToo doesn't exactly suggest courage.

Zach said...

Better for Farrow to be slightly out of the picture, I think.

I mean, look: it's his story, and everyone knows it's his story. The last thing he needs to do is compete with his own story by taking the focus off of the women.

There will be plenty of time for honors after the story has finished playing out.

Big Mike said...

McGowan was a fierce fighter that gave no quarter to her enemy

They used to say that a lot about McGowans back in Scotland.

Amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

@Althouse, you are a very smart prolific writer, I do not know about your readership but your comment section certainly consists nothing except old dums at the public library, I swear I can smell rum from here, it must be depressing you deserve better