TIME Magazine has released the shortlist of candidates for 2018's Person of the Year and it includes a very interesting collection of people. Amidst the political figures and entertainment industry runaways, the new Duchess of Sussex, formerly Meghan Markle, has made an appearance.
That's right: for some reason, Meghan Markle is on the TIME Person of the Year shortlist.
TL;DR TIME Magazine has released the 2018 shortlist for Person of the Year and for some reason, Meghan Markle is on the list.
Others on the list are predictable political and cultural figures, like Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, as well as Ryan Coogler, director of the film Black Panther. The only other sole woman (as opposed to a group of people) on the list is Christine Blasey Ford.
Also included on the list: "separated famililes." Specifically, those immigrant and asylum-seeking families that were separated due to abusive Trump administration policy. Parents were sent to jail for their illegal entrance into the States and their children were left in government facilities.
As TIME makes clear, the recognition is given to "the person or group of people who most influenced the news and the world — for better or for worse — during the past year." Because of this they've also made it a point to include groups of people.
One group on the shortlist includes teen activists who began the March For Our Lives campaign that is seeking better gun control legislation in the United States.
So it's easy to wonder why Meghan Markle is being considered. She didn't broker a deal between three embittered nations. She didn't start a protest that spread across the United States. She wasn't assassinated because of her citiscism of the Saudi regime. What has she done?
People on Twitter were rather surprised by her inclusion, as well.
Makes no sense with Meghan....what did she do besides get married?— Judy Kornbluth (@granny9kids) December 10, 2018
Meghan Markle? Seriously? Why not Nobel Prize winners for medicine/science/peace or all of the prize winners of the cover? They contribute more to society and the human race than an ex actress who happens to marry a prince?— C Han (@dozo_yoroshiku) December 10, 2018
Meghan Markle? Seriously?— Betty (@BettyFunfetti) December 10, 2018
10 People who made a bigger impact this year than Meghan Markle that @TIME didn't consider #POTY— TeamPurpleMN (@TeamPurple_MN) December 10, 2018
Officially, Meghan Markle is being considered because of her ongoing activism as well as for being a symbol of change within the Royal family, Britain, and the world at large.
It is clear from this shortlist that the Person of the Year is not really an exploration of who deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, but simply a list of people who made news, and kept making news, throughout the year.
The inclusion of certain groups or individuals is based solely on the impact of their public presence. This list, like everything these days, in heavily impacted by the Internet and public opinion. A perfect example is the People's Choice poll the magazine hosts on their website. Despite the list including many of the real shortlist candidates and other international figures, the K-Pop band BTS won the poll.
So Meghan Markle's inclusion on the list starts to make more sense. While it seems that Meghan Markle didn't really do anything other than get married, what she did do is make news becasue of whom she married. TIME even described her wedding as a statement that "celebrated Markle’s heritage and placed it unapologetically at the heart of Britain’s most elite institution."
TIME has her on the shortlist because she ignited the flame of imagination in young girls everywhere – you can be born in one world and make it into the higher eschelons of society. Moreover, she is (potentially) the first black British royal.
Her relationship, wedding, and presence within Kensington palace has kept people talking and tweeting all throughout 2018, and for that reason she is being considered as TIME's Person of the Year.
Whether you think she deserves it more or less than the others presented on the shortlist, the reality is she has certainly influenced the news and public discourse throughout this year. At least in her case we know it was for the better, and not the worse.