The Feminist Conundrum that is Taylor Swift

By Cate Sevilla

Everywhere you go, every paper you read, every store you walk into, every café you drink in, you are assaulted by Taylor Swift. Even in the bathroom at Chile's.

It seems like the entire world is in love with Taylor.

Mothers like her. Boyfriends like her. Brothers and Dads like her. Walgreens like her so much they have a Taylor Swift "shop" selling cut-outs and other T Swizzle merchandise. 

Feminists, however, do not like her. 

Trying to describe why you don't like Taylor Swift is difficult - especially when you're talking to someone who is obsessed with her. Ultimately, my reason for not liking Taylor Swift is that she's basically a  feminist conundrum. She could be great for women. We could overlook the fairy tale princess stuff because gosh that song is catchy - but the bullshit is just too deep. Too deep. Too glittery. Too sleeping with Harry Styles and expecting it to work out.

Is She Empowering Women?

Taylor has said that if she's empowering women to get out there and write music, that's great, but it's not her aim as she just writes about her feelingsShe's also described feminism as being "guys verses girls", which is concerning. 

Sure, she's selling records, winning Grammys and is probably the most powerful woman in music right now, but surely all she does is pander to the patriarchy?!

She's a 23-year-old woman and all she can sing about are boys. And more boys. And breaking up. And boys. Just look at the infographic below:

Taylor Swift Lyric Infographic

Taylor may be an incredibly powerful female artist, but from what I can tell, she's all about the boys. Not what girls can do for themselves. 

So Innocent! So Wholesome! 

What I find most nauseating about Taylor Swift, beyond the fact that she's a grown-ass woman who sings about boys as if she were still 12-years-old writing in her Little Mermaid diary, is her super wholesome image. 

Taylor Swift as a packaged product makes me want to throw up. As so accurately described by Riese at AudioStraddle, 

"The rush to exalt Swift is (I believe) a desperate attempt to infuse our allegedly apocalypse-bound country with a palatable conservative ideology in the form of a complacent, repressed feminine ideal. It's working 'cause Swift writes good songs and America is terrified that its children have been scarred by Britney Spears's psychotic vagina and Miley Cyrus's obnoxious adolescence."

She's meant to mark some sort of return to values. But rather than just wearing what she wants and not caring what other women do, Swift actively promotes the Madonna Whore-Complex in her songs and videos. Sexy is bad! Being a girl in the marching band is glasses who cries on her guitar is good! 

Madonna Whore

Only good girls with hymens get boyfriends, remember!

Boys! Boys! Boys!

Another confusing aspect of Taylor Swift is how obsessed the media are with who she's dating. They are OBSESSED. Anytime she is spotted with a guy, he is her boyfriend. Whenever she is spotted without that same guy, they assume she is heartbroken (aka writing her next award winning album). 

Is it sexist of the media to be that obsessed with who she's having sex holding hands with? Yes. Just as it's sexist that the media has been foaming at the mouth for Jennifer Aniston to "finally find love".

However, when you make a career out of having your heart broken and writing songs about it (over and over and over again), it's only natural for the media to be obsessed with your love life because clearly YOU, Taylor, are obsessed with your love life. 

The Daily Mail, in yet another act of outstanding journalism, have written a handy guide to Taylor's dating history:

T Swizzle Dating History


Call me crazy, but I think Taylor needs to be single for a while. Or maybe stop dating famous men. Is it sexist or arrogant of me to think I know better than Taylor as to how she should be handling her love life? Probably. But, again, when being in love or out of love is her thing, it makes it hard to ignore her ridiculous boyfriend choices.

Perhaps she's afraid she won't be able to write music without dating some douchebag high school student or teenage boy band member who will no doubt break her heart, but Taylor. HONEY. You dated John Mayer after he dated Jessica Simpson. How many more red flags did you need?

Personally, I just think T Swizzle needs to take some time out, and accept that she is no longer a 15-year-old girl. I want her to drop the America's Sweetheart act, not be ashamed of having a vagina, and maybe learn how to express something other than vulnerability and heart break in her music. Be interesting, not just a girl, stalking a boy, and demanding that he love her.

Image via Eva Rinaldi's Flickr

Thu, 10 Jan 2013 13:00 (GMT+00)
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