Here’s the Hidden Meaning Behind That Elbow on Time’s Person of the Year Cover
Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” isn’t a singular person at all, but a group of individuals whose bravery shifted the conversation about sexual assault and harassment throughout 2017. The issue explores the stories of the “Silence Breakers,” as the magazine refers to them; people from all over the country, working in various industries, who stood up and took a stand against sexual misconduct.
Featured on the cover of the issue are lobbyist Adama Iwu, actress Ashley Judd, software engineer Susan Fowler, strawberry picker Isabel Pascual (pseudonym), and singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.
But among these influential women on the cover of Time is one strange detail: the elbow of an unknown person.
Your mind might be quick to rationalize this as a stylistic choice or even an editing error, but make no mistake — this mysterious elbow was included for a very powerful purpose.
Time national correspondent Charlotte Alter appeared on BuzzFeed News’ morning show AM to DM on Wednesday, and she explained the meaning behind “the elbow.”
“That’s very intentional,” Alter said. “That’s an anonymous woman who is a hospital worker who was experiencing harassment and didn’t feel that she could come forward.”
“A huge part of this story is that, as much as the stigma around this has been removed this year because of the Me Too movement, it’s still really difficult for a lot of women to come forward,” Alter said. “It’s important to include people who have to stay anonymous for professional reasons, who don’t have the resources to weather what would happen if they lost their job or they couldn’t support their families. So we wanted to include people where, to really reference the risk that these women are taking by speaking out about this.”
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).