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
"... there were a number of people in the room that saw this plus a photo of it happening. I figured that if he would be brazen enough to assault me under these risky circumstances and high stakes, imagine what he might do to a vulnerable, young artist if given the chance."
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:

“I’m not going to let you or your client make me feel in any way that this is my fault. Here we are years later, and I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are the product of his decisions — not mine.”
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

Here's Your Horoscope For Memorial Day Weekend

We’re constantly fascinated by what our zodiac sign says about our lives, whether it's which signs are most compatible or how each sign handles conflict in relationships. That's why Bustle has enlisted Mecca Woods, a New York City-based astrologer of…
By Mecca Woods

These Are The Absolute Best Memorial Day Sales This Year

Get your credit cards ready, because this year's fashion and beauty Memorial Day sales might just be the best ones yet. There's not only major savings for the holiday, but some of the savings start days before. You know, so you can spend the entire w…
By Kali Borovic

Everything Leaving & Coming To Netflix In June To Help Get Your Summer Started

Summer is right around the corner, and so is another batch of streaming options to get excited about. On Wednesday, everything leaving and coming to Netflix in June 2018 was announced by the streaming platform. And don't worry, there's something for …
By Jamie Primeau

These Are The Beauty Products That Came Out In May That You DEFINITELY Need On Your Radar

For beauty lovers, months aren't just months: They're 28 to 31 day periods, wherein any and all product and brand launches can happen — and when they do, it feels like your birthday, no matter what time of the year you were actually born. The May 201…
By Amanda Richards

The 5 Rom-Coms You Need To Read This Summer, According To Someone Who Writes Them

'Tis the season for rom-coms. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and everyone is rocking the flirtiest items in their wardrobe. I don't know about you, but summer always takes me back to my teenage years — and that automatically makes me want t…
By Cristina Arreola

11 Tiny Sunglasses That Will Make You Look Even Cooler Than Kylie Jenner

You know what they say — the tinier the sunglasses, the more stylish the outfit. OK, that's not really a saying, but it seems to be the case these days. Basically every celebrity, model, and It person has been spotted sporting tiny sunglasses as part…
By Sara Tan

I've Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000

It all became real the summer before my senior year of college. It was 2010, and my home phone still had a cord, which I wrapped around my fingers as I waited not-so-patiently for the apathetic representative on the other end to tell me the bad news …
By Kaitlyn Cawley

12 Personality Quizzes That Will Help You Determine Your Exact Strengths

Learning more about yourself can be tough. It's so easy to observe others to learn what makes them tick, what areas they really excel in, and the things they could be better at. Doing that to yourself, however, is a whole different story. That's exac…
By Jessica Booth

5 Brand New Short Story Collections You Can Finish In One Sitting This Weekend

Since 2013, May has been known by book-lovers by another name: Short Story Month. If you're ready to kick off this year's celebration the right way, make sure to pick up a short story collection to read over the weekend. Modern life moves more than …
By Sadie Trombetta

I Got Styled By 'Queer Eye's Tan France & Realized I Still Have A Lot Of Fashion "Rules" To Unlearn

When I walked into a New York City Express store on May 2 to get styled by Queer Eye's Tan France, I was ready for anything. And I mean truly anything. I am such a massive fan of the show and Tan that if he had instructed me to wrap myself in tin foi…
By Olivia Muenter

It Isn’t Bad To Have A “Princess Fantasy” — Mine Made Me The Woman I Am Today

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you were anything like me as a kid, at some point, the answer to that question was "a princess." Thanks to good old-fashioned gender stereotypes, most little girls born in the '90s (and even now) grew up in…
By Nicole Pomarico

Here’s How To Get A FREE 30-Minute Facial At Sephora That Sucks Your Pores Clean

Sephora has long been a mecca for both serious and amateur beauty lovers alike, where they not only have makeup artists that help answer questions about products, but free samples to let you play with new collections. But now they have upped the ante…
By Marlen Komar

Kris Jenner Is FINALLY Launching A Makeup Line With Kylie

Maybe you don't have a favorite sister of the Kar-Jenner clan, and that's perfectly fine. The one thing you can't deny, though, is that when it comes power, no one in that family has more than the world famous momager. Now, Kris Jenner x Kylie Cosmet…
By Shea Simmons

This Kendall Jenner “Diva” Moment Is Really Being Taken Out Of Context

The fashion always takes center stage at the Met Gala, but there's usually a little drama, too. And this time, a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family is involved. People are buzzing about how Kendall Jenner shoved someone at the Met Gala, but after…
By Nicole Pomarico

Feel Like You've Seen Everything On Netflix? Add These Movies To Your Watch List

The weekend may feel too far away, but if you're lacking formal plans, a Netflix marathon session is always a good idea. If you're an avid viewer, however, you probably feel like you've seen everything the streaming platform has to offer already. In …
By Ashley Rey

Hillary Clinton Says She's Ready To Fight Like A Republican — EXCLUSIVE

Hillary Clinton Is Not Going Away Quietly. Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into The Night? Unlike Losers Before Her, Clinton Is Not Going Gently Into the Night. These headlines, which appeared in various news outlets over the course of the last…
By Catherine Thompson and Jenny Hollander

Here's The Very Best Time To Book Your Summer Vacation If You're Trying To Save Money

Summer is a great time to travel, for obvious reasons. The weather is better. Many offices are more lax about time off. If you have kids, they’re out of school. But there’s one very important element that makes summer not a great time to travel: Cost…
By Emma McGowan