Taylor Swift: Not A Feminist's Dream
Inspired by AutoStraddle's article.
Now, let me begin by saying I don’t hate Taylor. She plays her own instruments, writes her own song (a fact that at times is painfully obvious) and if she learned how to sing live, she would be a perfectly mediocre musician. She’s perfectly lovely, never rude to anyone (ever) and I also support any woman who follows her heart and manages the difficult task of succeeding in the music business.
However; the fact that she won album of the year at the Grammy’s this year, an honour that had previously been bestowed upon the likes of Ray Charles, U2, Norah Jones, Bob Dylan, JOHN FREAKING LENNON, Michael Jackson, Alanis Morissette, the list goes on, and the fact that the legend, Stevie Nicks, was reduced to singing back up, got me thinking that maybe (just maybe) success in the music industry isn’t really dependent on any actual talent anymore. And maybe (just maybe) Taylor actually embodies many things that are terribly wrong with North-American culture.
So, without further ado, here are the reasons why I dislike Taylor Swift and she's not exactly a feminist role model.
1. Her blatant misunderstanding of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and her inability to use a thesaurus.
We have all heard the song, “Love Story." If you haven’t, good for you. It is a perfectly adequate song - the music is catchy (if your into that sort of thing). It’s the lyrics that are absolutely cringe worthy. The chorus contains such mind shattering linguistic acrobatics such as:
“romeo take me somewhere we can be alone i’ll be waiting all theres left to do is run you’ll be the prince and i’ll be the princess its a love story baby just say yes”
Really Taylor? A Prince and a Princess? That combination of people is groundbreaking and unheard of.
Plus, the concept of Romeo and Juliet being compared to a couple who love each other and are together for eternity made my theatre-loving soul cringe. Were you there that day in English 10 Taylor? I'll do a little recap for you, THEY DIED, after knowing each other for a very short time. Oh yeah, and Romeo killed Juliet's cousin.
Okay so maybe I’m being a little harsh, TONS of artists have bad lyrics right? I’m sure Taylor has some good ones, let’s take a look at “Fifteen”
“And then you're on your very first date and he's got a car And you're feeling like flying”
Whoa, just kidding.
It only takes a quick glance at the rest of her lyrics to realize that they are, for the most part, shallow and unoriginal and sound like a bad 80’s teen movie.
So, okay, her lyrics aren’t great, but if you manage to not be bothered by them, all it takes is a quick look at her videos. They may even be double cringe worthy. Which takes us to number two.
2. The Slut VS. The Virgin- Swift is a feminist’s nightmare
From the Taylor Swift videos I have seen, only two types of women exist. The bitchy slut, that loses in the end (or the nice slut, that still loses) and the virginal girl next door. Guess which one Taylor is! In almost every Video she is wearing a white dress and in the Love Story video she actually walks through a garden in a white dress and picks an under-ripe cherry off a bush. REALLY PAPI? REALLY?
Then in “You Belong with Me” Taylor shows up at the dance in her white dress, and steals the boy away from the popular bitchy girl in her smutty orange one. Now, there is nothing wrong with abstinence and all that Jazz, but since we have established that Taylor is not musically or lyrically special. Why did she win over the sexual and creative Gaga? Or the strong, independent, and bootylicious Beyonce? Because America wants a conservative, tame, role model and Swift embodies that.
The idea that Women are only valuable if they are Married or Virgins is reinforced in “Fifteen”
“And Abigail gave everything she had to a boy Who changed his mind and we both cried”
Everything she had? I sincerely hope that this Abigail’s worth is measured in more than just the state of her hymen, but furthermore, I hope that one day society will learn to respect and accept the choices that EVERY woman makes for her body, not just heterosexuality and abstinence.
That being said, I haven’t found a single one of Taylor’s songs that doesn’t centre around boys. I’m sure she has a complex and interesting personality, but I don’t know what it's like because Taylor presents herself as an entirely boy-dependent, overly innocent, baby-faced bunny. The media milked the innocent bunny thing after Kanye interrupted her (and subsequently ruined his reputation) Come on, you were all thinking it, Kanye just said it out loud, as obnoxiously as he could. Which brings me to number 3.
3. Dear Taylor: your life wasn’t that sad, and glasses don’t make you an outsider
One of my biggest beef’s with Taylor is her constant reference in acceptance speeches and interviews to her “fairytale” story of her rise to fame. A white, skinny, conventionally attractive, heterosexual young girl makes it in the music industry? What are the odds of that? She was made fun of in middle school for liking country music? Well, most girls in Africa don’t get to go to school at all, if one of them rose to fame and won album of the year, I would be impressed. Swift was born to loving, supportive, wealthy parents, who pulled her out of high school and home schooled her so she could achieve her dream. Her story is less of a fight against the odds, and more the high school experience we all wished we would have had. Taylor, you are very very lucky, and no matter how many teenage girls identify with your lyrics because you wore glasses and a T-Shirt in that one music video, they still won’t have a fraction of the opportunities you did, because you fit in so well.
In conclusion, Taylor Swift is a conservative parent's wet dream. She is safe, and digestible. She didn’t wear a red latex dress to meet the queen. She went to a Christian school, her lyrics promote abstinence, and ‘normal’ heterosexual relationships with football players, instead of riding on disco sticks. She embodies the American dream, she leaves taboos and boundaries exactly where they are.
That is exactly why she shouldn’t have won, but exactly why she did.
The girl does have some good hair though, doesn't she?
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