This morning, the news was awash with a single photo.
The cover of TIME Magazine, and the faces of five women staring down the barrel of a camera, staring down the barrel of male power, making TIME’s Person of The Year: The Silence Breakers, a moment and a movement.
It was a fitting tribute to the women who have stood united in 2017 and spoken publicly about sexual harassment and the abuse of male sexual power, who put themselves and their reputation on the line for a greater, more important good.
There was actress Ashley Judd, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, lobbyist Adama Iwu, strawberry picker Isabel Pascual and then there was Taylor Swift – a woman who needs no introduction.
For as much as the cover was celebrated, and Twitter shared its image far and wide, there was an undercurrent of pompous confusion: Taylor Swift? Really?
Take this tweet from Lara Witt as a crucial example. At the time of writing, it had been re-tweeted over 9,000 times:
What “happened” to Swift was, of course, covered far and wide in the middle months of this year.
The singer was declared the winner in a duelling trial between herself and David Mueller – a man she accused of groping her before a concert in a photo opportunity.
“When I testified, I had already been in court all week and had to watch this man’s attorney bully, badger and harass my team including my mother over inane details and ridiculous minutiae, accusing them, and me, of lying,” Swift told TIME of her experience taking the stand. “My mum was so upset after her cross-examination, she was physically too ill to come to court the day I was on the stand.”
As far as PR machines go, Taylor Swift is a meticulously orchestrated one. She speaks carefully, if at all. During the US election, she appeared all but a-political. And in a period where the world was desperate for voices, for whatever reason, Swift didn’t add hers to choir.