Confession time: I quite enjoy Taylor Swift’s music – tragically, without a trace of irony. What can I say? I got hooked on “Enchanted” whilst on exchange in Vancouver a couple years back and I would listen to it on repeat whilst infused with whiskey on moody seaside walks; I have been enamoured ever since.
Love her music, hate her music, feel distinctly apathetic about her music – as you please. However, the perpetual slut-shaming of Taylor should surely disappoint feminists everywhere. Michael J. Fox is the latest of many to weigh in with such an opinion of Taylor Swift. Upon being asked whether or not he would approve of Taylor dating his son, he replied: “No. No … Just back off. I don’t keep up with it all, but Taylor Swift writes songs about everybody she goes out with, right?” Right! “What a way to build a career.”
Clearly, this is all really quite sad. People dislike Taylor having an active dating/sex life because it supposedly conflicts with her romantic song-writing, when in reality this shouldn’t be perceived as paradoxical: sleeping with multiple people doesn’t make you any less of a romantic.
Fox’s comments highlight another prevalent assumption regarding Taylor: the belief that she only ever writes about heartbreak, her real-life boyfriends/exes (the latest being 1D’s Harry Styles) inspiring the specificity of the material. I’m not saying I disagree with this view of her music – of course that’s all she writes about! – but I find it frankly hilarious that this is perceived as unique to Taylor. Writing a song about your ex can now be described as, “doing a Taylor Swift”. Aren’t a good majority of all the songs ever written about heartbreak and largely based on real-life encounters? To repeat Fox’s final remark: “What a way to build a career”. Yeah, take that, Adele! Amy Winehouse! Joni Mitchell! Oh, but wait. They’re all fine. Everyone is sane when it comes to everyone else.
I’m guessing people single out Taylor to ostracise because she’s a commanding girl living in a digital age and people like to get a little judgemental over such rampant female hedonism. Let’s be honest, I’m sure many of us in her position would try to sleep with all the members of One Direction. So, instead of all this lunacy, I suggest not hating on Taylor just because she is making money off her bad times and otherwise appears to be having an awesome time. Instead, should you so wish, hate her the old-fashioned way: hate her music.