If Taylor’s one fault is slut shaming, and encouraging girls to be the princess in their fairytale, I’m not sure why that’s a problem.
I’d rather my daughter look like Taylor Swift than Katy Perry.
Posted by LiveInLove on Dec 3, 2012 at 9:50 PM
thank you for this! this has been my thinking on taylor swift for awhile now. glad to know other people share the same views.
Posted by M on Dec 4, 2012 at 12:05 AM
I’m generally apathetic towards Taylor as I find there are far more objectionable female role-models and she is not without good acts, but I have to agree with many of these arguments. She appears to be so wholesome that few seem to question the messages she is teaching young girls about being a female. This may possibly be just as misleading as the unquestionably “negative” influences of other, more overtly sexual pop-stars. Even if you are inclined to tell your child that it’s inappropriate to act like Rihanna, who is going to talk to their daughter about why you maybe shouldn’t act exactly like Taylor Swift? Also, I believe that “Speak Now” is actually her third album
Posted by RL on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:49 AM
I don’t remember a squeak attributed to her name. I don’t even know what her voice sounds like. That’s because I’m one of those “weirdos” who at some point decided that getting your eardrums reamed by the same 20 songs the record companies want you to buy is not entertainment worthy of the name. Regardless, I read the article because I saw her name and picture on a bus publicity panel once. As it turns out, my first impression of her when looking at that face on a bus panel was right, as it never fails me when doing a judgement of anything that has that whiff of pop about it. If you had to write a whole article about denouncing her as yet another Britney Spears clone, it could only be because her looks are somewhat threatening to you. The ‘ole “Let’s use that college education to deconstruct girls with threatening looks” routine….
She’s 22. At the very dawn of political enlightenment, stolen from the women’s lib class you take for granted and onto the recording studio and tabloid cover pages, being exposed to shit you and I can only dream about. Let her sing her stupid love songs, and if you’re too offended by that photoshopped face not showing sympathy for the plight of young girls in Burma, just do like me and stop listening to the radio.
Posted by Alexandre Richard on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:34 PM
Better Question: Is Taylor Swift Taylor Swift. The answer is no, the machine has replaced her with a brand - blame the brand makers, not the girl (except that she signed the deal in the first place, I guess).
Posted by Michael Holloway on Dec 5, 2012 at 9:45 PM
Taylor has only released four albums to date. She has worked with co-writers since the beginning of her career but each album features (often superior) solo writes. There is one clear voice/persona in her work.
She has not made notable reference to fairytales since her second album, Fearless, which was released when she was 18. And even then, she took down the fairytale myth in “White Horse”. And, as you say, there’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer.
“Swift’s public persona relies on her being delicate, pure and “good” - the virginal side of Freud’s Madonna/whore complex—something she works to establish in her lyrics”. This is completely untrue. The media have labelled her as a woman with a ‘reputation’. Harry Styles was photographed arriving at her New York hotel with an overnight bag three times last week. Her music has dealt with her sexuality since her very first single, “Tim McGraw”; her boyfriend’s truck “had a tendency of getting stuck on back roads at night”. In “Sparks Fly”, she instructs a man to “give me something that’ll haunt me when you’re not around”. In “All Too Well”, she reminisces about nights when a man made her his own. In “Treacherous”, she promises to do “anything you say, if you say it with your hands”. There are also countless indirect sexual references: “Flew me to places I’d never been, until you put me down”, “Up in your room and our slates our clean”.
“You Belong with Me” is not a slut-shaming song. Taylor, characterizing herself as an outsider, is envious of the popular, glamorous, fashionable cheerleader. I’m baffled that anyone could find it “vicious”. It’s an inner monologue about unrequited teenage love. Is it wrong or antifeminist of Taylor to voice feelings of envy? Being a feminist does not require a woman to be perfect.
I do agree that “Better Than Revenge” (a response to Joe Jonas’s “Much Better”, a song about how Camille Belle was much better than her) is problematic but I don’t know how she has become the feminist anti-Christ because of it. Beyonce and Lauryn Hill have both released songs with similar sentiments but don’t get the same type of coverage in the feminist sphere. Taylor has also written “Fifteen”, where she tells teenage girls that “in your life, you’ll do greater things than dating the boy on the football team” and “I swore I was going to marry him someday, but I realized some bigger dreams of mine”.
I think the current ridicule of Taylor in the media will inform her next album e.g. “the many men of Taylor Swift”, “everybody’s girlfriend”, “Swift = fast” etc. The comments she made to The Daily Beast were ill-informed but she since told Elle Canada that feminism is something that she wants to learn about. We should be welcoming her and educating her, not tearing her apart.
Posted by anna on Dec 9, 2012 at 5:16 AM
Hmmm, is she talking about an actual scarf or is it code for you-know-which piece of cloth? You know, more like a tissue… Ok, too much.
I’m sick of Taylor Swift not for the image she projects, but for her astounding lack of voice. And blandness. And political yellowness (In my terms at least, that means the Democratic Party, compared to any SDP) I mean, sure, she’s done some charity and spread some anti-bullying messages, but come the fuck on, get some ideological gut for Joan Baez’ sake, it’s the new deal with kids your generation Taylor, on a global basis.
Posted by Alberto Cox Délano on Dec 10, 2012 at 2:41 AM
Well I like her music, I like that shes Not a skank showing off her body.
Posted by Linda Friedman on Dec 10, 2012 at 11:10 AM
If Taylor Swift’s body of work is an ongoing self-absorbed temper tantrum (which seems like a fair read) then I see her as a woman claiming a right that male songwriters have long taken for granted: the right to be myopic, arrogant, and immature rather than magnanimous and universal in the face of romantic disappointment. Ben Gibbard, Matthew Sweet, Ben Folds, and (as Lindy West has deeply explored) Rivers Cuomo are just a few of the pantheon of dudes who’ve routinely reserved the right to express irrational butt-hurt over romantic rejection. Countless man-penned hits from as far back as recorded pop music extends, have basically taken the position, “I’m priceless, and anyone who doesn’t satisfy my needs is meaningless.” By proving that young women can be just as arrogant, entitled and self-pitying as young men, Swift actually takes a kind of sideways stride for the feminist cause. And who knows? Her message may mature as she does.
Posted by A Yell Adams on Dec 10, 2012 at 3:34 PM
Typical Communist homosexual In These Times reader who hates ordinary people who work for a living and America.
Posted by Elitism_FIghter on Dec 11, 2012 at 7:10 PM
I guess Sady would agree with the following celebrity article; that if she’s not putting out enough to please the men, she needs to be dumped. I wonder what Doyle said about West’s lynching and date raping of women?
Harry Styles Dumped Taylor Swift Because She’s A “Prude” Who Wouldn’t Put Out
January 14, 2013
Harry Styles wasn’t getting enough lovin’ from Taylor Swift, so he dumped her.
“Harry found Taylor a little sexually uninterested,” a source close to Harry told Radaronline.com
“Taylor is concerned that the public will think she’s a wh*re
because she dates around, that she doesn’t put out,” a pal close to
Taylor explained. The “friend” continues on to say that Harry’s not the
only one not getting it; “What she doesn’t get is that the guys keep
dumping her because she’s being a prude.”
Harry’s “pal” says that it was obvious that Taylor had a “thing” for
Harry, but she just wouldn’t “put out” as often as he wanted. Since
he’s an 18-year-old hormone infused star with options around the world,
his relationship with Taylor, who supposedly preferred droning on about
antiques over getting nakey for her man, grew boring fast; “Harry is a
young boy, with ladies throwing themselves at him and has had a string
of relationships with older women. It’s no secret he’s sexually active
and is enjoying his fame at the moment. But Taylor just wasn’t up for it
as much as he is. They were sexually incompatible.”
Meanwhile, Taylor’s friend, who attributes Taylor’s “prudish”
attitude to her desire to remain “wholesome” -
me thinks that ship sailed after John Mayer-
says while Taylor’s intentions are to maintain a “clean” image, the
singer just doesn’t understand how she’s ruining her own life; “She puts
herself in these stupid situations but then honestly can’t understand
why she’s getting such a shabby reputation.”
“Harry wants to go out to fancy bars and clubs and enjoy being young –
but Taylor’s more of a homebody!” the source explained. “It drove him crazy, so he gave her the elbow!”
So while Taylor was “obsessed” with Harry and “over the moon” when he
agreed to make their relationship public, Harry, for his part, “was
over it before it ever really even began.”
Posted by betsy w on Jan 15, 2013 at 3:07 PM