Posts Tagged ‘Taylor Swift’
I used to sing along when Taylor Swift came on the radio. Then “Fifteen” happened.
Now she has a new song out called “Today was a Fairytale.” It makes me gag every time it comes on the radio. Within the first three lines there is some major gender stereotyping:
Today was a fairytale
You were the prince
I used to be a damsel in distress
Really? Do we really have to implant the idea in teenagers that all women are in need of “rescuing” by men? Is this necessary? It’s not romantic, it’s just telling us that women can’t take care of themselves and need a man to rescue them from themselves. And that’s only the first three lines!
Today was a fairytale
I wore a dress
You wore a dark gray tshirt
Because all women have to wear dresses in order to be seen as feminine and deserving of love. The lyrics don’t even really make sense half the time. Like why is there a line about wearing a dress? It doesn’t really make sense. There is also a line that goes: “You took me by the hand and you picked me up at six.” What?
I really can’t stand Taylor Swift anymore. I will probably still sing along when “You Belong With Me” comes on the radio, but that’s just because I think that song is catchy. But everything else about her and by her has just become obnoxious to me.
She only sings about relationships with boys (except for when she mentions that her friend Angela [female] gave “everything she had” [aka her virginity] “to a boy who changed his mind” in “Fiftenn”). And those relationships are often based on patriarchal gender norms. And it saddens me that she is so loved by teen girls because she is not setting a good example for them. Though she is starting to garner some unkind media.
And p.s. her acting debut in Valentine’s Day was also really annoying. It could have been a good character, but Swift just completely overacted it to the point that it was painful to watch the scenes that she was in. Just thought I’d throw that out there.
On Wednesday night, the Country Music Awards (CMAs) were aired. Taylor Swift won all four awards that she was nominated for, including the high honor of “Entertainer of the Year.” She was the only woman nominated for “Entertainer of the Year” and had to beat out country music veterans such as George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, and Brad Paisley. I say, good for her. I am a fan of T. Swift (as my friends so lovingly call her), despite my feminist values.
But not everyone is proud of the 19-year-old star for winning this coveted award. Wynonna Judd, the 45-year-old country star, thinks Taylor Swift is too young to be winning such a big award. She tries to make it sound like she’s looking out for Swift, that if too much of a good thing comes too soon, she won’t be a lasting influence on country music. But I think all is said in this quote from Judd:
My thing is, being a home-school mom, I want kids to earn it, and I think some time … ’cause mom and I rode in a car for the first year of our career to visit radio stations. There was a making of the star, there was a rising up, and the fans went with us.
Apparently success comes too fast nowadays and you don’t even have to work for it. Now, I don’t know Taylor Swift personally, but I’m pretty sure she’s had to work for her success. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with her winning the award at age 19. She’s been around for a while now and has a huge following. Frankly, I would have been a little surprised if she didn’t win. And the fact that she, as the only woman in the running, beat out four male country legends for it, that just makes it even better.
I’m often fascinated by pop music. What’s popular? What makes it popular? I often find myself singing along with these songs, even though I often don’t agree with the message that they send. One of the artists that I follow new singles of is Taylor Swift. I know, weird, right? Her songs are just catchy and I find myself singing along with every word and sharing her songs with friends…mainly as a joke or to make fun of the song, but still. So how do I reconcile my feminist beliefs with the music of Taylor Swift?
Most of Taylor Swift’s songs (that I know at least) are about getting the guy, not being complete without a guy, etc. One of my friends (who also has a weird love for Taylor Swift) once asked me: have you ever noticed how many of Taylor Swift’s songs end in marriage? I don’t know about that one, but most of them end in getting the guy or keeping up a relationship with a guy.
Let’s get to some examples:
“Love Story” – all about a guy that her father won’t let her see, so they have to sneak around (think Romeo & Juliet, pretty much exactly). Then the father approves and the guy proposes. Ends in a proposal.
“Our Song” – all about being in love with a guy. That’s pretty much it.
“You Belong With Me” – all about being in love with a guy who has a girlfriend, then in the end he dumps his girlfriend for her.
“Picture to Burn” – maybe the one song that of hers that I know that doesn’t end in getting the guy. But…it’s about breaking up with a guy, so it still centers around the male gender.
How, as a feminist, can I like the songs (or released singles) of a singer who only sings about her relationship with guys? If you only sing about relationships with guys, it shows a dependence on guys. If you have a dependence on guys, you can’t be an strong, independent woman.
There are some things about Taylor Swift that do indicate that she is a strong woman. For instance, she was one of the producers of her last tour so that she had a say in how things were done. That’s great, especially for a 19 year old. But you would never know this about her through her songs.
I don’t know if I can, right now, reconcile my attraction to Taylor Swift’s music with my values in feminism. It’s something that I think about every time one of her songs comes on the radio. There are some things that can’t always be reconciled and maybe shouldn’t be reconciled. There are always going to be things that people enjoy doing that might not align exactly with their values, it’s a part of the society that we live in. I think that as long as you recognize the problematic attributes of things and question how they fit into society, then it might be ok to partake in things that might be anti-feminist.
Analyzing the anti-feminist attributes of certain parts of society, like music for example, is an important part of my feminism. I guess that’s how I reconcile Taylor Swift with my feminism.