One of 2017’s most enduring legacies will be the Hollywood sex scandal. When movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was outed in October as a predator, it had a domino effect across the entertainment industry, inspiring countless others to come forward with stories of abuse.
Following these accusations, actor Alyssa Milano sparked a revolution across social media by encouraging her Twitter followers to admit to having been sexually harassed using the hashtag #MeToo, causing an unprecedented number of people came forward. On Twitter alone, Milano’s original tweet was shared almost a million times in 48 hours. This created a movement which drew worldwide attention to the prevalence of sexual harassment in the modern world and not just in the entertainment industry – although there is no denying it is big name accusations which have dominated the headlines. Accusations of sexual harassment, however, are nothing new. In fact, neither is the phrase “me too”. It was actually coined over a decade ago to describe women of color who have survived sexual abuse. But it appears that 2017 could be the year which inspires real change. Pictured below are the Harvey Weinstein accusers. The movement’s prevalence has caused almost everyone to reflect on their own sexual behavior causing men, in particular, to reassess their definitions of consent and what is and is not appropriate when it comes to their treatment of women. However, it is important to note that it is not just men who have been accused as a result of this scandal. One of the most recent accusations was made against singer Melanie Martinez who was accused by a former female friend of raping her. Now, in honor of the worldwide conversation the #MeToo hashtag has created, it has been named by Time magazine as its Person of the Year. Dubbed “The Silence Breakers” by Time magazine, its 2017 Person of the Year cover features five women who have been victims of sexual assault – including singer Taylor Swift and actor Ashley Judd. However, there is something else in the photograph that’s causing a stir. Alongside the five women is a rogue arm which has got observant readers talking. It is in the bottom right-hand side of the picture. According to Time‘s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal the seemingly rogue harm was included on the cover to represent all of the victims of sexual abuse who have yet to come forward, or, for whatever reason, feel unable to share their stories with the world. “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, too – who came forward to tell their own stories,” Felsenthal said in an interview with NBC News. “These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone,” Time wrote. “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.” However, the rogue arm is not simply a product of photoshop. It belongs to a woman who has shared as much of her story as she has felt able to. “It belongs to an anonymous young hospital worker from Texas,” Time magazine revealed in an editorial. She is a victim who “fears that disclosing her identity would negatively impact her family”. “She is faceless on the cover and remains nameless inside Time‘s red borders, but her appearance is an act of solidarity, representing all those who are not yet able to come forward and reveal their identities.” Lady Gaga was one of the many women to use the #MeToo hashtag. Speaking of the incident, the anonymous woman said that, at first, she struggled not to blame herself for it occurring in the first place. “I thought, ‘what just happened? Why didn’t I react?’,” she said. “I kept thinking, ‘did I do something, did I say something, did I look a certain way to make him think that was OK?’” However, it wasn’t just a social media revolution that the hashtag #MeToo inspired, it also inspired thousands of women to march on Sunday, November 12, down Hollywood Boulevard in a show of solidarity with victims of sexual abuse.