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The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

Go after Time, not Taylor Swift

Photo courtesy of Instagram @taylorswift
Taylor Swift’s Time Magazine cover

Every year since 1927, with no parameters other than international influence, Time names a “Person of the Year.” As former Managing Editor Walter Issacson described it, “the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse” is recognized.

Whether we like it or not, Taylor Swift is undeniably a force to be reckoned within popular culture. Although, has her impact really been so profound as to name her the most influential person of 2023? Over Hollywood strikers halting global entertainment for an economic cause that resonates with a majority of the world’s working class? Over Vladimir Putin, a destructive world leader who is actively perpetuating terror in Ukraine? Over journalists risking their lives in the Middle East?

According to, a spontaneous article naming American aviator Charles Lindbergh “Man of the Year,” transformed into an annually anticipated decision made from a select group of candidates. This year, adding to a list of awardees from 1938’s infamous pick Adolf Hitler to 1968’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Time chose Swift. The shortlist of candidates this year included Donald Trump’s prosecutors, strikers in Hollywood, Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping among others.

More than anything, the bloody, divided and tumultuous events of 2023 signified that everyone, including organizations like Time, have social responsibilities as world citizens. According to, Time has approximately 26 million readers, 20 million of which are based in the United States. With wars and injustice raging across continents, Time has a duty as a news source to educate the public, especially Americans, who are not directly experiencing these events.

Additionally, the media is entirely oversaturated with stories about Swift. In America and with her fans abroad, she has an immense impact on popular culture, but rarely publicly comments on global events and issues. There are plenty of valid reasons why Swift would choose not to comment on these things, reasons that I respect as she is such a well-known figure. However, this undoubtedly lessens her global impact and makes Time’s choice as “Person of the Year” a safe choice and weak one at that.

A stronger choice could have yielded an increased amount of societal awareness about important issues. Some may have taken offense to Putin attaining the title, but it may have proven to be beneficial in reminding readers of the very real and very hostile events occurring in Ukraine. In this case, Time’s responsibility to educate the people should have outweighed their right to ignore these events.

That being said, now that Swift has been recognized, criticism that is overtly directed toward her and her historic career is unjustified, and, frankly, has misogynistic undertones. Our criticism of Time can exist without tearing a successful woman down.

This was Time’s decision. Call it ignorant, call it oblivious, but don’t come for Swift.

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