Also: Bono, the lead singer of U2.
The rock star was cited for his creation of Poverty is Sexist, a campaign focused on documenting the link between gender and poverty and offering support to the world’s poorest women. It’s the first time in the awards’ 27 years that Glamour has enshrined a man alongside its annual roster of accomplished women.
The magazine explained that, beyond Bono’s specific work, it was simply time to recognize the importance of men in the fight for women’s equality — that they are not just helpful but necessary for the success of feminism:
“For years our Women of the Year Advisory Board — made up of past winners, plus our editors — has put the kibosh on naming a Man of the Year on the grounds that men aren’t exactly hurting for awards in this world, and that here at Glamour, the tribe we’re into celebrating is female. But these days most women want men — no, need men — in our tribe. When the president declared himself a feminist, when super-cool actors line up to endorse the United Nations’ #HeForShe campaign, when a major male rock star who could do anything at all with his life decides to focus on the rights of women and girls worldwide — well, all that’s worth celebrating. We’re proud to name that rock star, Bono, our first Man of the Year.”
Uh, yeah. For fans of the late, great NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation,” this all sounds an awful lot like that episode where Ron Swanson won the Dorothy Everton Smythe Woman of the Year award — for a project conceived and led by Leslie Knope. (“We made a very conscious decision this year to choose a man,” the award committee leader explained. “Every year, we give it to a woman, and, frankly, nobody cares.”)
(Recently, our colleague Kelyn Soong pointed out the ways in which “Parks and Recreation” has eerily foreshadowed much of the current presidential election.)
But across social media, some women weren’t exactly amused by the Bono award.
A few reiterated the very point made (and then dismissed) by Glamour itself: that men aren’t suffering from a lack of attention or celebration in our society.
Granted, it’s fairly standard for any media outlet looking to gin up attention for their “[whatever] of the year” or “top 10 [whatever]” lists to make a controversial choice — how better to make sure people pay attention?
Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent and a 2005 Woman of the Year, defended the award committee’s choice in Glamour: “I think Bono is the perfect choice for this first-time honor because, now 56, he’s been trying to do good for as long as he’s been making music,” she wrote.
Amanpour said that she asked him how he reacted to the news that he’d won.
“ ‘I’m sure I don’t deserve it,’ ” she said he told her. “ ‘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.’ ”
(Maybe this is a good time to mention that, in that aforementioned episode of “Parks and Recreation,” Ron Swanson took the stage to accept his award — and insisted that it be given instead to the woman who deserved it.)
The full list of this year’s Women of the Year winners — which also includes pop star Gwen Stefani; model and body activist Ashley Graham; Christine Lagarde, the director of the International Monetary Fund; Islamic State kidnapping survivor and anti-genocide activist Nadia Murad; designer Miuccia Prada; and actress Zendaya — will be honored this month at a celebration in Los Angeles, according to Glamour.