For 26 years, Glamour magazine has reserved the “Women of the Year” award for, well, women.
Previous proposals for a male nominee were rejected “on the grounds that men aren’t exactly hurting for awards in this world,” the magazine writes. But this year, the glossy broke with tradition and named Bono as its first Man of the Year.
Bono was recognized for establishing a campaign called “Poverty is Sexist,” which is “specifically aimed at helping the world’s poorest women,” Glamour writes.
“I’m sure I don’t deserve it,” Bono told Glamour after he was told of the award. “But I’m grateful for this award as a chance to say the battle for gender equality can’t be won unless men lead it along with women. We’re largely responsible for the problem, so we have to be involved in the solutions.”
The gesture of giving a Woman of the Year award to a man was also inspired by the woman-friendly actions of other men, including President Obama identifying as a feminist and “super-cool actors” endorsing the United Nations’ #HeForShe campaign, Glamour says.
The Washington Post pointed out life-imitating-art similarities to a plotline on the show Parks and Recreation, where Ron Swanson received a Woman of the Year award from a committee that said, in part, “Every year, we give it to a woman, and, frankly, nobody cares.”
And it must be said that giving the award to a man has made headlines in a way that, perhaps, the prize otherwise would not. We at The Two-Way have never written about the Glamour Women of the Year before.
So lest we let one man overshadow the accomplishments of many women, let’s all take a moment to appreciate the other Women of the Year honorees, who include:
Simone Biles, gymnast extraordinaire who took home four gold medals at the Rio Olympics this summer.
“I’ve been brought up to never take anything for granted and to always be the best Simone—the best version of myself,” Biles told Glamour. Her memoir is coming out this month.
Emily Doe, the pseudonymous survivor of the Stanford University sexual assault who wrote a widely read open letter to her assaulter, Brock Turner.
Turner was convicted and sentenced to just a few months’ jail time, with his success as an athlete cited as a factor in his favor and the judge expressing concern that a harsher sentence would have a “severe impact” on his life.
“Emily Doe” wrote a powerful letter to Turner that she read at his sentencing. Later, her words went viral on Buzzfeed.
For Glamour, the anonymous survivor wrote about what it was like to watch the world discover her story — the shock of getting a note from Vice President Joe Biden, the joy of seeing other women and girls lend their voices to her words. And the painful comments, too.
“In the very beginning of it all in 2015, one comment managed to lodge harmfully inside me: Sad. I hope my daughter never ends up like her,” Doe wrote.
“I absorbed that statement. Ends up. As if we end somewhere, as if what was done to me marked the completion of my story.” She continued:
“So now to the one who said, I hope my daughter never ends up like her, I am learning to say, I hope you end up like me, meaning, I hope you end up like me strong. I hope you end up like me proud of who I’m becoming. I hope you don’t ‘end up,’ I hope you keep going. And I hope you grow up knowing that the world will no longer stand for this. Victims are not victims, not some fragile, sorrowful aftermath. Victims are survivors, and survivors are going to be doing a hell of a lot more than surviving.”
Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, founders of the Black Lives Matter movement who coined the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. “We gave tongue to something that we all knew was happening,” Tometi told Glamour. “We were courageous enough to call it what it was. But more than that, to offer an alternative. An aspirational message.”
The three women spoke with NPR’s Ari Shapiro this summer about the changes they’ve seen in the last few years, and they’re hopes for the future.
“I think if we demonstrate a collective commitment and a collective practice to changing not just how police and policing happens in this country, but certainly to changing the conditions that black communities are living and existing in, then we have a real shot for living in a world that is more just, more equitable — in a world where black lives actually do matter,” Garza told NPR.
“We talk about this movement really blossoming in the last three years,” Cullors said. “But … we’re part of a movement that’s been happening for hundreds of years, and this just happens to be a tipping point.”
Nadia Murad, survivor of ISIS captivity and human rights activist. Murad was captured by ISIS in 2014, during the infamous Islamic State attack on the Yazidi religious minority in the area around Iraq’s Mount Sinjar. We’ll let Glamour tell the rest of the story, which is graphic and deeply disturbing:
“On August 15, ISIS fighters in white Toyota pickups flying the group’s signature black flags invaded the village and separated women from men. The women were taken to a school, where they watched from a window as the militants executed every man and teenage boy, including Nadia’s six brothers. Inside, she could do nothing but listen to the gunfire.
“Then the militants divided the women again, culling older from younger. Murad and her sisters were taken as sex slaves, while her mother was deemed too old and executed. Herded onto buses, the young women were raped on the drive to militant territory. In the following weeks some girls were chained to one another, auctioned off, and passed among 20 to 30 men. Many committed suicide. Murad tried to escape but was caught, beaten, gang-raped, and burned with cigarettes.
“It was after three months in captivity, in Mosul, that she spied an unlocked door and fled.”
Murad ultimately escaped ISIS territory and arrived at a refugee camp, where she rejoined her older sister and began telling her story to the world. You can read more about Murad’s activism on behalf of Yazidi women, including her impassioned testimony before the United Nations, over at Glamour.
Other recipients of the Glamour Women of the Year award include actress and activist Zendaya, designer Miuccia Prada, International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde, model and activist Ashley Graham and singer Gwen Stefani.