Donald Trump, lover of prizes and attention, has found reason to be upset that Time magazine named him its “Person of the Year.”
Trump’s critics were incensed that the magazine would bestow a seeming honor on a man who’s pledged to terrorize the press, religious and racial minorities, and women. (Slate’s Ben Mathis-Lilley has proposed that Time change the title to “Hitler of the Year” to avoid future confusion about the honorific’s meaning.) But the president-elect is sad that he’s been dubbed a “person” instead of a “man.”
“They used to call it ‘Man of the Year,’ but they can’t do that anymore,” he said at a “victory tour” rally in Des Moines, Iowa, last week. “So they call it ‘person.’ They want to be politically correct. That’s OK.”
This is a fun lesson in what the phrase “politically correct” has come to mean in Trump’s sandbox of whiny white men. Admitting that women, too, do important things is not paying lip service to feminism: It’s just describing reality. A man who claims he has more respect for women than anyone else in the world should, at the very least, be able to concede that some women out there deserve to be on Time’s yearly shortlist of people who did stuff that affected the world.
Of course, Time didn’t even reach this base level of understanding until 1999, when it changed the designated recipient of its annual top-human award from “Man” to “Person.” Only one woman (Ms. Top Person 2015, Angela Merkel) has been chosen on her own since then, though woman Melinda Gates was selected with man-husband Bill and U2’s Bono in 2005, and the three respective female whistleblowers at Enron, WorldCom, and the FBI shared the honor in 2002.
So, to be fair to Trump, very few women are actually deserving of Time’s utmost recognition, a distinction that usually goes to megalomaniacal dudes such as Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis. Most people of the year are men, and most women toil silently in the shadows, unbeknownst to the kingmakers, building weapons out of our hair straighteners in preparation for the matriarchal fempocalypse.
But to call a title that goes to both men and women a “person” award seems just plain correct, politically and apolitically. Perhaps Trump fears he’s been misgendered by the press, that “person” doesn’t adequately describe how deeply manlike he can be. He’ll be glad to know that, according to the Time article that accompanied the honor, the election that he won over what might have been our first female president—pussy-grabbing remarks be damned—“didn’t hinge on gender after all.”