Among the women who are featured on the cover are Taylor Swift, Ashley Judd, Uber engineer Susan Fowler and a woman whose face is concealed — a means of representing all of the women who have yet to come forth to tell their stories about sexual harassment.
"This is the fastest-moving social change we've seen in decades, and it began with individual acts of courage by hundreds of women, and some men, who came forward to tell their own stories of sexual harassment and assault," Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal stated.
As news of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal permeated the headlines earlier this fall, actress Alyssa Milano was inspired to use the #MeToo hashtag. She tweeted, almost on impulse: "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet," she wrote on October 15. Waking up the next morning, she was shocked to find 30,000 women had used the #MeToo hashtag, which was the original phrase social activist Tarana Burke created a decade prior.
"This is the just the start, and I've been saying from the beginning that it's not just a moment, it's a movement," Burke said.
This national movement, which has been strengthened by prominent women speaking out, such as Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and Selma Blair, have prompted women from all walks of life to speak out about the sexually abusive injustices they've had to endure on a daily basis.
"This reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight. But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries," wrote the authors of the Time article. "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."
The article adds: "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 runner up for Person of the Year was President Donald Trump, followed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Other figures who were on the shortlist included Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the Dreamers, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and football player and activist Colin Kaepernick.