Can I just say
that my issue with Taylor Swift is not a thing about “Oh, she can’t sing” or “Her music gets played on the radio too much” or whatever.
It’s that I find so many of the messages in her music so incredibly demeaning, and the fact that she claims to “speak for all the girls out there” makes me really, really fucking angry.
You want to speak for all the girls? Try writing a song about how it’s actually wrong to go after a boy who has a girlfriend, because that girlfriend is going to get hurt and your happiness isn’t the only thing that matters in the world. I’ve been that girl three times, and no matter how much you villainize that person, they still matter. Try writing about how there is more to life than kissing in the rain and finding roses all over your bedroom. If you want to be known as the singer-songwriter who reflects the actual experience of teenage relationships, try writing a song about a girl who loses her virginity to a boyfriend and it’s not that big of a deal, really, and nobody cries. Don’t, for god’s sake, invoke the virgin/whore dichotomy in your music videos and contribute to that standard in our culture. Don’t say you speak for all the freaks and outsiders in high school when you are a rich, thin, beautiful blonde woman who grew up on an enormous estate in Pennsylvania.
And don’t infantilize yourself to sell records or appease parents.
What really makes me annoyed is that so many people hold her up as some kind of paragon of class and grace. There is a difference between being a classy, graceful celebrity and actively acting like an eleven-year-old, with an eleven-year-old’s standard of what relationships and love are like. She’s a twenty-year-old woman, she doesn’t need to be photographed hugging a teddy-bear. And it also goes to say, in a way — if you’re not this kind of person, if you curse or smoke or drink or have sex, you’re not a “good role model.” Which is to say, basically, you’re not a good person. And I’m sorry, but I don’t think those are great criteria on which to judge one’s worthiness as a person. There is nothing wrong with being a homebody or a polite person or not being particularly interested in smoking or drinking, don’t get me wrong. But when it’s sold as a brand of superiority over other women, that’s when I start getting queasy.
But like I said, more than anything, I dislike this warped worldview she perpetuates where “true love” is a real thing and once you find your Prince Charming, your life will be perfect and you will sing and dance and kiss in the rain and get married on white horses and then go back and live in the house in which one of you (probably the man) grew up. That’s not real life. In real life, people lie. People cheat. (Though cheating is fine if the other girl is cheer captain and you’re, heaven forbid, on the bleachers.) People smack their spouses around and drink too much and the more that you pretend none of that will ever happen to you, the greater the likelihood grows that it will.
And I dislike that this kind of weakness and helplessness is being marketed to young girls under the guise of romantic songs and pretty dresses. There’s so much more to life than being a princess.