I still remember the collective frustration when Donald Trump was named Time's Person of the Year in 2016. It had just been a rough election season, with a majority of the popular vote, at least, disappointed with the outcome. To top it all off, a month later Trump's face was all over newsstands. In their new project, 100 Women Of The Year, it seems the magazine is saying "our bad."
In honor of International Women’s Day and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the U.S., Time took a look back over its past 100 covers and gave the women it ignored a second chance. This resulted in 86 brand new covers, which make sense, since 72 of those covers were specifically titled "Man of the Year" until the honor was opened up to "Person of the Year" in 1999. That means women like Virginia Woolf, Frida Kahlo, Aretha Franklin, and J.K. Rowling, who were never even options during their most powerful moments, now get their due, whereas Serena Williams, Malala Yousafzai, Beyonce, and Hillary Clinton get a second chance to shine.
"For me, seeing women on the cover of a magazine created by men for 'busy men,' as Time's founders wrote in their original prospectus, is always powerful," Executive Editor and Women of the Year Editorial Director Kelly Conniff wrote in her editor's letter for the project. "I joined Time in 2012, when over the course of a year just a handful of women were featured on the cover. In 2019, Time featured more solo women on its cover than men for the first time in our 97-year history. The world has changed and Time has too, but there have always been women worthy of Time’s cover."
In true Person Of The Year fashion, these reimagined covers include write-ups from fellow members of the industry, like author and activist Brittney Cooper on Beyoncé:
“When Beyoncé Knowles-Carter debuted as a member of Destiny’s Child in the '90s, no one could foresee that she would one day be the self-proclaimed ‘King Bey,’ as big as Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson or Prince," Cooper wrote. "The Lemonade album’s overtures to Black Lives Matter insisted she may be pop, but she is also political. It was a hat tip to her haters and a nod to her serious critics. She’s a woman of few words, but she’s listening. It’s this call-and-response between Beyoncé, the Bey-hivers and the Bey-haters that makes her a singular performer. Haters may hate, but she just gets better.”