When you navigate to the landing page for Glamour magazine’s 2016 “Women of the Year” awards, something immediately stands out: There’s a photo of man among all of the powerful and inspiring women Glamour is recognizing this year. That man is U2 lead singer Bono, whom the magazine named as its first-ever “Man of the Year” on Tuesday. When he got the news, the rock star reacted with a touch of bewilderment, but largely gratitude.
“I’m sure I don’t deserve it,” Bono told Glamour. “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.”
CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour, a 2005 Glamour “Woman of the Year” honoree, wrote the magazine’s profile for the historic selection and she expressed none of the reservations the rock legend did about the choice. “I’m on Glamour’s side: 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,” Amanpour wrote. She called attention to his Poverty Is Sexist campaign, which is “aimed at helping the world’s poorest women — those who survive on less than $2 a day.”
Cindi Leive, Glamour’s editor-in-chief, said the magazine has been toying with the idea of naming a “Man of the Year” for a while, and the decision finally crystallized this year thanks to a change in thinking. “We’ve talked for years about whether to honor a man at Women of the Year and we’ve always kind of put the kibosh on it,” Leive told CBS News in an interview. “You know, men get a lot of awards and aren’t exactly hurting in the celebration and honors department. But it started to seem that that might be an outdated way of looking at things, and there are so many men who really are doing wonderful things for women these days. Some men get it and Bono is one of those guys,” Leive said.
Amanpour also hailed Bono for being one of the men who gets it and is a leader in advocating for women’s causes. She also got him to explain why many men are reluctant to make gender equality a top issue in their lives.
“Men can be a bit thick,” he said. “And I include myself. Honestly, things that ought to be obvious sometimes are not.” Wise words indeed.