Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Time Magazine's "Person of the Year"

Photo courtesy of Flickr user cellanr @ Creative Commons 3.0
While the ultimate popularity contest is described in gender neutral language, it seldom honors a woman.

The 2010 recepient was Facebook-creator Mark Zuckerberg.  With the success of his website and movie-- The Social Network, Zuckerberg was an obvious choice.

But last year, the winner was Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke.  The year before that, it was President Barack Obama.  And the year before that-- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

In 2006 it was "You," and that's the loophole.  Occassionally, Time Magazine awards large groups of people, like "The Whistle Blowers" who exposed the Enron scandal in 2002 or "Middle Americans" in 1969--and that's supposedly inclusive.  And enough. 

But, only four women have ever recieved "Person of the Year" individually-- which is even more impressive, considering the title wasn't changed from "Man" to "Person" until 1999.  The award has been given since 1927.  

Wallis Simpson, or "The Duchess of Windsor" won in 1936-- known for her several controversial marriages.  Also identified as a wife, Soong May-ling or "Madame Chiang Kai-shek" won in 1937.  A politician and a painter, she was married to the President of the Republic of China. 

In 1952, Queen Elizabeth II was honored when she became head of the English monarchy.  More than 30 years later, Corazon Aquino became the first woman President of the Phillipenes, recieving Time Magazine's award in 1986.  

Each time, the title was changed to "Woman of the Year."

In 1975 "American Women" were awarded, thanks to second-wave feminism and it's many accomplishments.  But does that take them out of the running until the next millenium? 

All but three American Presidents have received "Person of the Year."  FDR won three times.  Machines have won.  Planets have won. 

Why are women so underrepresented?


  1. That's really interesting, I didn't really know anything about this before. It doesn't surprise me though, isn't this the way it always is? I think the question sort of answers itself - for the same reason they are always so unrepresented!

  2. Right?!

    It was more of a rhetorical question.

    Because the title often resides with politicians, especially Presidents, it makes sense that women are often left out. So this is just another indicator that women are still far from political equality.

    However, there are plenty of amazing women who have done really amazing things and the fact that Time Magazine has only noticed a handful is ludicrous.

  3. Especially since freaking 1927! For almost 100 years only like 4 women did anything good? I call bullshit.