Taylor Swift was put on the cover of TIME. Apparently, that's a problem.

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.


Listen: Mia, Holly and Jessie talk about why Taylor Swift deserves her place on the #MeToo TIME cover. Post continues below…

And yet. Some six months later, she went to court to prove a point. She sued Mueller for a measly dollar, not for money but for principle.

It was, it should be noted, well before what is now being referred to as The Reckoning. She went to court before Weinstein was taken down, and before the climate was warm enough to embrace women speaking out.

You can hate Swift’s politics, or the image she has carefully crafted, but you can’t slander the stance she took back in August. You can’t discount her inclusion on the cover.

Because in doing so, you begin playing the Oppression Olympics. You immediately begin ranking the experience of women who have struggled with sexual harassment, as if trauma is a prize, and Swift’s doesn’t count. As if your level of sympathy is dependent on the likeability of the victim.

You don’t like Swift. So her experience, you say, isn’t as important.

Taylor Swift mightn’t speak much. She might not be your perfect hero, and in doing so, may not be your perfect victim.

But that’s not to say she’s not a victim at all, nor one that shouldn’t be included among a wealth of women who played their part in doing good this year.

Her whole year mightn’t have been ‘good’, but then, the TIME cover isn’t about her whole year.

It’s about the pivotal moment she decided to be a Silence Breaker.

Listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud here: