Taylor Swift has been America’s favorite pop princess for half a decade. From “Speak Now,” to “Red” and “1989,” the media — and everyone else — couldn’t get enough of her. But recently, the tables have turned, and Taylor landed on the receiving end of some unfamiliar “Bad Blood.”
While she could just “Shake It Off,” some of us are wondering, why does everyone suddenly hate Taylor Swift?
Whether it’s her music videos, her choice in friends or her celebrity causes, the “Love Story” with Swift appears to be getting cut short. Fellow female artists are throwing her under the bus, and the mainstream media are doing all they can to label her “anti-women.”
If only Taylor wasn’t as pretty, popular, grew up less privileged and more oppressed she could maybe have avoided some of these attacks. After all, a skinny, white, cis-gendered woman can only rule the music industry for so long.
‘Long Live’ Taylor
Taylor is too classy to get involved with petty or controversial causes, thus haters get few opportunities to throw shade her way. Swift uses her starpower to change the world in ways that matter, while other celebs like Miley Cyrus use their starpower to fight for women’s ability to show their nipples in public. In the past year alone, Taylor singlehandedly yanked her music from Spotify to protest their pay rates and got Apple to reverse its policy for paying artists to stream their music.
During her downtime, Swift goes above and beyond to give back to her fans by sending them Christmas gifts, thank you cards, and sharing personal stories during her sold-out stadium concerts.
Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, on the other hand, connect with fans by taking selfies with Hillary Clinton and getting naked for magazine covers.Taylor purposefully avoids these divisive tactics and that’s no coincidence.
“I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people,” she told Time in October 2012. “And I don’t think that I know enough yet in life to be telling people who to vote for.”
It’s a calculated decision that makes criticizing her difficult, so when the opportunity arises, the media pounces.
Just Because Taylor Won’t #Freethenipple Doesn’t Mean She’s Anti-Women
The same media that praise pansexual Miley Cyrus for flashing her nipple on live TV, are desperate to find something bad to write about Swift. No where was this more clear than in the ‘Bad Blood’ controversy.
In August, the ‘Wrecking Ball’ star accused Swift of being a bad influence for creating her ‘Bad Blood’ music video,’ telling Marie Claire, “I don’t get the violence revenge thing. That’s supposed to be a good example? And I’m a bad role model because I’m running around with my titties out?”
“I’m not sure how titties are worse than guns,” she said.
At first, you might think that Miley made a good point. But there’s a difference between promoting violence in lyrics or real life and using violence to artistically portray the words in a song. Never (ever) in Swift’s ‘Bad Blood’ lyrics—or in real life—did she promote the use of “guns” and “violence.”
It’s all artistic symbolism:
Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes
You say sorry just for show
If you live like that, you live with ghosts (ghosts) […]
If you love like that blood runs cold
Miley, on the other hand, advocates going topless in real life—and does so while hosting awards shows in front of millions of teens. Then, the “Party In the USA” star complains when people call her a bad role model. If Cyrus kept her topless stunts strictly inside her music videos, then she could make a fair comparison to Swift’s use of violence. But then the media and fellow artists wouldn’t be able to attack her.
The ‘Bad Blood’ Saga Heats Up
In her ‘Bad Blood’ video, Taylor features women swordfighting, shooting grenades, swinging nunchucks, and walking through fire. You might think the media would love watching a cast of women, who come from different races and backgrounds, being portrayed as the badass female figures they are. (It’s a perfect example of the gender-neutral theme the media was quick to praise Target for, after all). But when Taylor does it, there’s something wrong.
When Nicki Minaj didn’t get nominated for best video at this year’s MTV VMAs, the “Anaconda” rapper took to Twitter and made a comment that many perceived to be directed at Taylor.
If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015
Minaj claims the comment wasn’t aimed at the country-turned-pop singer, but looking at the other Video of the Year nominations, no one featured as many “very slim bodies” as Taylor did.
After Minaj’s tweets, a media firestorm erupted, slamming Swift for not emphasizing enough body diversity and quite simply, “missing the point.” But if you watch the video, this claim doesn’t hold water, seeing as both Lena Dunham and Mariska Hargitay—two women featured in the video—aren’t your typical kind of sexy.
Dunham is full of curves and at 51, Hargitay is older than most sirens on screen. As for the racial diversity aspect, there are several Hispanic women as well as several biracial ones in the cast lineup. But that’s another inconvenient detail that’s all too easy to ignore.
And then, Katy Perry chimed in.
Finding it ironic to parade the pit women against other women argument about as one unmeasurably capitalizes on the take down of a woman…— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) July 22, 2015
The media ran wild with this Tweet, and dubbed Swift an anti-feminist for pitting women against each other. (What, women need to be confined to bubble wrap and can’t get in fights?)
Swift rightfully ignored Perry’s comment but she isn’t above eating humble pie every now and again. The pop singer didn’t just issue an apology to Minaj for her Twitter comment—she got on stage with her at the VMA’s.
It was very Taylor-esque decision—taking the high road to avoid any ‘Bad Blood.’ But her move only invigorated the media and envious A-listers even more.
Over the course of her 1989 tour, Swift brought with her many of her famous friends, and the VMA’s were no exception. After winning the Video of the Year Award, she invited a handful of her best friends and ‘Bad Blood’ costars to share the stage. But that, too, became a point of grievance.
It began with Miley, who suggested she’s above being in T-Swizzle’s girl squad.
“None of my friends are famous and not because of any other reason than I just like real people who are living real lives, because I’m inspired by them,” she said.
Enter: The next opportunity to attack.
Anyone who has lived through high school, or watched Mean Girls, knows that in order to take out the queen bee, one must take out her ‘army of skanks’—or in Swift’s case—her ‘squad.’And signaling the seriousness of the Taylor takedown, her squad has been getting all kinds of hate.
Gawker’s Dayna Evans makes the case that Swift’s squad is a calculated attempt to make it painfully obvious that she is indeed the queen bee—because of course, it can’t be innocent.
“Watching her collect best friends during a moment in history when womanhood is finally beginning to feel valued does not only feel uncomfortable—it feels evil,” Evans wrote.
Is it really evil for women to cross promote one another? Haters are trying to disassemble Swift’s squad in order to weaken her staying power, which seems like a strange position for feminists who support “womanhood” to take.
Taylor talks with her fans during concerts about the very public heartaches she’s experienced that led her to embrace a new stage of her life where she values good friends above all else, even men. The fact that she wants to show that off via Instagram pictures and on-stage events should be embraced by those who support the concept of “womanhood,” not undermined as “evil.”
Can The Haters Dethrone Queen Swift?
No matter how “Mean” the attacks get, Taylor isn’t leaving the music world anytime soon. Like most of her fans, she’s a relatively normal person. She sends thank you cards, has boy troubles, and had a normal childhood. She doesn’t go around flashing her nipples—or her belly button for that matter. Like most of us, she has yet to loose her panties in a nightclub, or go to rehab.
The media today has gone so far in embracing celebrities who build their careers on being “different” that being “normal” like Taylor is no longer acceptable.But if the media, Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj really cared about diversity, they would embrace Taylor Swift for who she is. Because today in Hollywood, being “normal” is a rarity—and that, in itself, is diverse.