Why Is Taylor Swift On ‘TIME’s Person Of The Year Cover? The Choice Has Some People Upset

Ad failed to load

After a tumultuous year filled with an unprecedented outpouring of sexual assault and harassment allegations — from Hollywood and beyond — TIME revealed "the silence breakers", including Taylor Swift, as 2017's Person of the Year. But why include Swift? The decision has some people confused and others upset.

Hundreds of men and women have come forward as a result of the #MeToo movement, including cover stars like actor Ashley Judd, the first star to go on record to the New York Times with Harvey Weinstein allegations (he has denied the allegations against her and denied any allegation of non-consensual sex), and Susan Fowler, a former engineer at Uber. As for Swift, many people on Twitter seem either baffled about why she was included on TIME's cover or annoyed at the decision, because they believe she didn't make as big a contribution to the movement as some of the other women included. But her pre-Weinstein allegations trial for assault actually contributed more than many people may realize.

During her assault case, Swift took the stand as a defendant after Colorado radio DJ David Mueller sued her for allegedly causing him to lose his job by making false accusations; Swift countersued, claiming he groped her at a meet-and-greet. Of her decision to come forward about Mueller, Swift told TIME that she wasn't just looking out for herself:

Ad failed to load
Ad failed to load

Swift's no-nonsense testimony in court was largely praised — and not only because, as Swift told TIME she'd heard it "was the most amount of times the word 'ass' has ever been said in Colorado Federal Court." The statements she made were clear, concise, and confident. She was blunt in a way that effectively swayed the jury. But more important than all of those things — and perhaps this is the part that people have forgotten — Swift called attention to victim-blaming and put major emphasis on removing the stigma surrounding those who have been victims of abuse or harassment.

During the case, Swift told Mueller's attorney:

Ad failed to load

Over the course of the weekend before the jury ultimately ruled in favor of Swift, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reported a 35 percent increase in the use of its national hotline, according to ABC News. While they weren’t able to attribute that increase to Swift directly, her visibility during the trial was seen as “a great demonstration to other victims that there is strength in coming forward and pursuing justice,” said RAINN’s president, Scott Berkowitz. Berkowitz went on to say that for young fans following Swift’s trial, “seeing someone that they respect, that they identify with [state they've been assaulted], has a big impact. I think that will encourage others to come forward."

Ad failed to load

Furthermore, the specifics of Swift’s allegations against Mueller served to help change people’s perceptions of the many forms that sexual harassment and assault can take. "People are going to debate, 'Is this sexual assault or is that just someone trying to be boorish?'" Berkowitz told ABC News. "This is the definition of sexual assault — touching someone sexually without their consent. When we can get to that conversation, it opens up a whole new realm."

Ad failed to load

Taylor Swift is — and will likely always be — a polarizing pop culture fixture. But regardless of how you feel about her or her music, there’s no denying her contribution to the #MeToo movement was significant. Are there other people TIME could have put on the cover instead of Swift? Of course. But would any of those people be as instantly recognizable and therefor influential? Probably not. Swift has a huge platform and millions of fans, who have followed her trial and will now read what she has to say in TIME. Therein lies the value.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Everything Leaving & Coming To Netflix In March, So You Can Plan Your Next Marathon Now

Even though the groundhog saw his shadow — forecasting six more weeks of winter — a nice spring thaw is already on everyone's minds. Fortunately, Netflix has things squared away for March. Whether you're ready to cozy up in front of a fire or get you…
By Sophy Ziss

11 Thoughts That Mean You’re Not As Happy With Your Partner As You Might Think

Even if your current dating situation seems to be going well — you're hanging out, having fun, having sex, etc. — it's still possible that you might not be happy with your partner, and thus not truly happy in your relationship. This can be a gut feel…
By Carolyn Steber

25 Book Recommendations From Your Favorite TV Characters

Although the two may seem like natural enemies, the truth is, television and reading are a match made in bibliophile heaven. Not only are some of the best shows based on or inspired by literature, but whenever you turn on the tube you can be sure to …
By Sadie Trombetta

It Took Heather Graham YEARS To Make A Movie About Women Ditching Toxic Men. The Reason? Men.

They say you should write what you know. But in Hollywood, that age-old advice apparently needs an addendum: Write what you know — as long as men are into it. And for actor and newly minted director/screenwriter Heather Graham — a woman who swam thro…
By Kelsea Stahler

Bustle Editors On CPAC + 'Making A Murderer'

Adulthood is, essentially, just waiting until the weekend hits — which is why I know we're all glad it's finally Friday. Whether your plans are to catch up on all the Netflix content that'll be leaving the platform at the end of February, a weekend g…
By Danielle Colin-Thome

7 Signs Your Energy Is Closed Off To Love, According To A Psychic

Finding love requires more than just the actions of going on dates or setting up an online dating profile. It also requires opening yourself up to love and giving off the vibe that you're open. You may not even realize it if you're energetically bloc…
By Suzannah Weiss

Target Just Launched A Gorgeous New Home Brand — And Most Pieces Are Under $30

Design lovers rejoice! Everyone's favorite store for pretty much everything is about to make all your daring decorating dreams come true. Today, Target's corporate blog issued a press release that provides a peek into Target's new homeware line, Opal…
By Callie Tansill-Suddath

17 Brilliant Ways To Support Parkland Survivors Wherever You Are

Following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, survivors are demanding Congress take action. A large group of students who survived the shooting are opposing politicians' "thoughts and prayers," arguing that inst…
By Sarah Beauchamp

Here's Where Your Next Trip Should Be, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

If you've been craving a vacation, now is a good time to take the plunge. According to data collected by travel site Expedia, late winters and early spring are pretty much the best times of the year to go on vacation. Based on average airfare ticket …
By Callie Tansill-Suddath

How This Quadriplegic Beauty Lover Beat Cancer & Became A Professional Makeup Artist

In 2010, one day before she was supposed to start cosmetology school, Steph Aiello was involved in a car crash that left her paralyzed from the waist down with limited ability to move her hands and one of her closest friends dead. She would spend the…
By Sara Tan

7 Common Marriage Rules That Aren't Good For Relationships

When it comes to marriage, everyone loves to give their two cents, and with all the warnings and advice floating around out there, no wonder people find marriage intimidating. Luckily, you don't always have to play by the rules, and there's some bad …
By Carina Wolff

The Infuriating Way Hollywood Movie Sets Are Designed To Make Life Harder For Women

Whitney Cummings is fed up — with the way Hollywood treats women, and in particular, the way the it treats female directors who have children. While the entertainment industry may be working hard to get more women behind the camera, Cummings wants to…
By Casey Cipriani

Why Uggs Are Never Going Away, Whether You Like Them Or Not

Uggs. The word alone can conjure up memories of teenage years, regrettable outfits, and undeniable comfort. But if, like me, you thought that you've already said goodbye to those fleece-lined tan boots, you can think again. It seems fashion has adopt…
By Lauren Sharkey

Netflix's New Romantic Movie Will Have You Crying Like It's 'The Fault In Our Stars'

Cancer movies are a heartbreaking staple of Hollywood and have been for decades. It's almost a law of nature: new year, new cancer movie. This year, it's Netflix's Irreplaceable You, a heartbreaking original about a longtime couple who get thrown for…
By Olivia Truffaut-Wong

I Got A Breast Reduction & It Was About So Much More Than The Size Of My Boobs

As a young teenager, I pretty much reached peak physical maturity overnight. One day I was wearing my first training bra a la Lizzie McGuire, and the next I was sweatily fumbling around a Victoria’s Secret with 32DD boobs, trying to summon up the cou…
By Sierra Taylor Horton

Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu Have Matching Tattoos & The Story Is So Cute

Olympic season gives people the feels. From those shipping Canadian ice dancing pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir to Shaun White's gold medal win on Tuesday, the feels are real. Now, there's another reason to get all up in your emotions. Adam Rippon a…
By Shea Simmons

A New Study Says Being In A Relationship Could Change Your Taste In Wine — Here's How

I’d be willing to bet that for many of you, a nice bottle of wine is awaiting you in your near future — and if you’re planning on sharing that bottle with a partner, there might be more to your choice than meets the eye: According to recent research,…
By Lucia Peters

Carrie Brownstein On Why Even The Obama Era Should Have Enraged You

An icy January morning soon after Hollywood's show of solidarity for the #MeToo movement at the Golden Globes and almost exactly one year into the Trump Administration feels like a momentous time to be sitting across from Carrie Brownstein. The Sleat…
By Samantha Rollins

Here’s What The Upcoming Year Of The Dog Means For Your Chinese Zodiac Sign

On Feb. 16 the world will celebrate the Chinese New Year, welcoming the Year of the Dog in like the good doggo it is — we hope. A new year means new zodiac predictions for the 365 days ahead. So, what does the Year of the Dog mean for your Chinese zo…
By Brittany Bennett

7 Signs You're Ready To Get Into A Relationship, According To Experts

It can be difficult to tell when you're ready to start dating again. Maybe you're coming off of a bad breakup, maybe you've just been focused on other things. And, ironically, one of the signs that you're ready to be in a relationship is that you're …
By Lea Rose Emery

The 15 Best Fiction Books Of February Feature Tons Of Extraordinary Women

When the cold winds of February blow in, there's nothing I want more than to hide under my covers with a good book. Luckily, there's more than a few fantastic new fiction books coming out this month, so the only tough decision you'll have to make is …
By Melissa Ragsdale