Taylor Swift was named TIME’s 2023 Person of the Year—making her the first woman to appear twice on a Person of the Year cover since the franchise began in 1927. Swift was also named Person of the Year in 2017, when she was recognized as one of the Silence Breakers who inspired women to speak out about sexual misconduct.
Swift’s Person of the Year designation marks several other firsts for the TIME franchise, which began nearly a century ago as a way to capture the year through the individual, group, or concept that has had the most influence on the world in the previous 12 months—for good or ill.
She’s the first person to be selected because of her achievement in the arts, and is only the fourth individual selection who was born in the last 50 years. As the first woman to be recognized more than once, Swift joins a small group of repeat designees, alongside several U.S. presidents and world leaders.
The franchise, which was named “Man of the Year” until 1999, has historically tilted male—the people who tended to be chosen were often global leaders and CEOs, positions long held by men. Before 1999, only three women had received the title of “Woman of the Year” individually: Wallis Simpson in 1936, Queen Elizabeth II (1952), and Corazon Aquino in 1986. (Soong Mei-ling was one-half of the named “Man and Wife of the Year” along with her husband Chiang Kai-shek in 1937.)
In 2015, then German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the first individual woman to be named Person of the Year in almost 30 years, followed by environmental activist Greta Thunberg in 2019. In 2020, TIME created 89 new covers to spotlight influential women who were overshadowed throughout the years. The women highlighted in that project “were the different drummers, to whose beat a century marched without always even knowing it,” wrote former editor-in-chief Nancy Gibbs. Learning their stories was “an act of discovery, and rediscovery, of the possibilities that come when we look and listen differently to the world these women made.”
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