Time honors a ‘revolution of refusal’

President Donald Trump finished second to a growing group of courageous women. That seems fully appropriate as 2017 draws to a close.

Trump finished behind the women in Time Magazine’s Person of the Year award, as did Xi Jinping, Robert Mueller, Kim Jong Un, Colin Kaepernick, and — gasp, another woman! — Patty Jenkins

2017 has been the year of big mouths, bluster and blathering Tweets. Time’s choice is perfect because it focuses on forced silence that is ending because of two short, nearly whispered words on the social media of choice: Me too.

It’s the same word that many men have quietly heard in recent months if they’ve bothered to ask the women they know.

Stand by to hear the hurt feelings of the men who didn’t.

The movement started gained momentum in 2017 with the stories from actors, Time notes:

When movie stars don’t know where to go, what hope is there for the rest of us? What hope is there for the janitor who’s being harassed by a co-worker but remains silent out of fear she’ll lose the job she needs to support her children? For the administrative assistant who repeatedly fends off a superior who won’t take no for an answer? For the hotel housekeeper who never knows, as she goes about replacing towels and cleaning toilets, if a guest is going to corner her in a room she can’t escape?

Like the “problem that has no name,” the disquieting malaise of frustration and repression among postwar wives and homemakers identified by Betty Friedan more than 50 years ago, this moment is borne of a very real and potent sense of unrest. Yet it doesn’t have a leader, or a single, unifying tenet. The hashtag #MeToo (swiftly adapted into #BalanceTonPorc, #YoTambien, #Ana_kaman and many others), which to date has provided an umbrella of solidarity for millions of people to come forward with their stories, is part of the picture, but not all of it.

The reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight, Time says, but it’s been developing for generations.

Women have had it with bosses and co-workers who not only cross boundaries but don’t even seem to know that boundaries exist. They’ve had it with the fear of retaliation, of being blackballed, of being fired from a job they can’t afford to lose. They’ve had it with the code of going along to get along. They’ve had it with men who use their power to take what they want from women. These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought.

The caterwauling of too many men in the face of the “revolution of refusal” is the death rattle of a culture.

It’s about Time.

Related: I was sexually harassed. Question my story (Washington Post)