Why Taylor Swift is Time’s Person of the Year

Taylor Swift’s selection as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2023 has elicited both praise and criticism. I’m surprised by the criticism since, like her music or not, she has helped revolutionize the music touring industry, generated job opportunities all around the world, and grown to become one of the most celebrated entertainers of all time. These are just a few reasons she is the clear choice for Person of the Year.

Some would argue that Taylor Swift was chosen because of “woke media” or Travis Kelce. But if you believe that, you’re obviously not paying attention. Watch the video below to learn all of the ways Swift won the title of Person of the Year:

Since 1927, TIME has chosen a Person of the Year, the editors’ assessment of the individual who most shaped the headlines over the previous 12 months, for better or for worse.

As a tradition, Person of the Year springs from the Great Man Theory of history, a belief that individuals have the power to transform society. The selections over the years have tended to follow certain patterns. The person chosen has typically been a ruler over traditional domains of power. He—and yes, usually it has been a “he”—is very often a politician or a titan of industry. Fourteen U.S. Presidents, five leaders of Russia or the Soviet Union, and three Popes have all been recognized.

And yet the person whose singular influence was revealed throughout 2023 has held none of these roles—or anything remotely similar. Every year contains light and dark; 2023 was a year with significant shares of darkness. In a divided world, where too many institutions are failing, Taylor Swift found a way to transcend borders and be a source of light. No one else on the planet today can move so many people so well. Achieving this feat is something we often chalk up to the alignments of planets and fates, but giving too much credit to the stars ignores her skill and her power.

Taylor Swift is TIME’s 2023 Person of the Year.

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