Fighting with the Sky

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!

And…next stanza:

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.

Womanist Musings: Emily Blunt Makes Disability Fashionable

Crutches are not a fashion statement; they are a mobility aid. There is nothing chic about crutches because they help to mark a persons body as faulty to the outside world, due to our understanding of disability. Crutches mean limited access, and exposure to disableism, therefore the idea that they can enter a fashion shoot in the same way as a pretty dress or a nice pair of shoes is highly offensive.

Autostraddle: Why Taylor Swift Offends Little Monsters, Feminists, and Weirdos

However, before I brought it up again (especially this late, as the backlash-to-the-backlash part is over and we’re now in the Valley of WhoCares, which is clearly where I “thrive”), I knew I had to do my Taylor Swift due diligence. After reading that MTV article I did it: I listened to her music, read her blog, and watched her videos.

And I finally figured it out.

Taylor Swift is a feminist’s nightmare.

Women & Hollywood: Pondering the Bigelow Nomination in Larger Context

The reason why I want to talk about it is because I think that no matter how much Ms. Bigelow doesn’t want to talk about the gender implications in her nomination, they are everywhere. I heard them when I was listened to the Oscar Talk podcast when Kris Tapley called her “hot” and Anne Thompson said that she’s not 100% convinced she will win because the Academy is “overwhelmingly male and she just doesn’t trust them.”

Clarissa’s Blog: Why I Dislike Third-Wave Feminism

Unfortunately, the excellent intentions of third-wave feminists are completely undermined by the statement (from the same blogger I quoted before) that “third-wave feminism respects the choices of everyone.” After a very short discussion, it always comes out that these feminists do not really support any kind of choice on the part of everybody. People who abuse others, racists, chauvinists, ableists, and xenophobes make all kinds of vile choices, and obviously third-wave feminists do not support those choices.

Bitch Blogs: The Transcontinental Disability Choir: Pride & Prejudice & Ableism

Which makes it all the more unfortunate that clear notes of ableism were introduced into both of the monster mashups released in 2009. Ableism is not really necessary to the plot (original or new), and it certainly doesn’t add anything to the books. It pushes both books from being playful romps into being something different entirely as they subtly reinforce ableist social and cultural values.

FWD/Forward: Depictions of Disability That Make Us Happy

And I think it might be interesting to have a larger discussion about what makes a depiction of disability “good” by our standards, though I assume that people may have some differing views on this subject. Personally, I think of a well-rounded depiction of a character who happens to be disabled, with a characterization which is not necessarily centered around disability. Where the disability is integrated well into the identity of the character, and acknowledged, but the character is not the embodiment of the disability. I think of characters who avoid common disability tropes, such as the Angry Bitter Cripple or the Telegenic Sick Kid. I think of characters who are rich and complex and who are allowed to have emotions (which can even vary from day to day!). I think, also, of plots which manage to avoid disability-as-tragedy, miracle cures, Empowering Experience for Able People, and other dehumanizing tropes.

Womanist Musings: 7 Year Old Gets Hair Cut By Teacher As a Punishment

Even with all of these concerns, what is not being discussed is Cammon’s race. Black women exist with very little social power and as a result it is extremely easy to devalue a little Black girl. It is already a known fact that in the states in which spanking is legal, Black girls are subject to the most corporal discipline. This is not because Black girls are any more unruly than any other child but that they exist as a group with no social power. Race and gender combine to make them valueless socially from birth.

Feministing: New Moon and domestic violence

However, I was not prepared for the way the movie portrays physical relationship violence, particularly in Native communities. For all the talk of Edward’s abusiveness throughout feminist blogworld, I’ve seen much less written about domestic violence as it relates to the film’s competing love interest, Jacob Black — a 16-year-old Quileute boy who can turn into a werewolf.

fbomb: A Feminist Analysis of “Fifteen”

I love country music. I love it with a burning passion. And inside of my love for country music also comes a love for Taylor Swift. I like her because she is my age, her songs are extremely easy to play on the guitar so I feel like I have some musical talent, and I can relate to most of her songs. Her song Fifteen is now climbing the charts. This is a fine song, and some of the things in it were true in some degree to my life. When I was a sophomore at a new school, I just wanted to be wanted (“when all you wanted was to be wanted”) instead of feeling isolated and friend-less. However there are a few lines of this song I disagree with.

As much as I enjoy my Taylor Swift songs, this one really bothers me.  I’m contemplating a post of my own.

Again, I am a day late with the link love this week.  But it’s all good.  And it snowed so much last night it finally feels like December!  But it makes me weary of venturing out today because it is still snowing.

The Sexist: Patience is a (Feminist) Virtue

Why are women encouraged to wait around for major life events to just happen to us? Patience, my dear. These relationship milestones have been engineered and reinforced along traditional gender lines in order to test a woman’s ability to shut up and sit pretty, while encouraging men of action to make all the decisions around here. But unfortunately for the patience lobby, us women have figured a few things out over the history of time. One: Our vaginas won’t implode upon completion of premarital sex. Two: Our significant others can still love us without investing two paychecks worth of bling into one of our virtuous little fingers. And three: Waiting does not work. Ever.

Bitch Blogs: Douchebag Decree: Spencer Morgan and the invention of “the Cheetah”

We all know that it’s hilarious to compare women with any trace amount of sexual appetite to cats, right? And we know that a cougar is an older woman who has sex with younger men, and that apparently a puma is a woman in her late twenties who has sex with younger men. Well, apparently there is a new feline/woman hybrid, and she is on “the prowl” to trick drunk men into having sex with her and then entering into a serious relationship. This hybrid is called a cheetah, and apparently she feeds on gross clichés and a poorly-concealed hatred of women.

Broadsheet: Taylor Swift: Pop princess, feminist villan?

I haven’t thought much about Swift, but I’m generally inclined to agree with ladybloggers like Amanda Hess and Sady Doyle, two smart writers in their 20s who have concluded that the 19-year-old’s songs reinforce some not-so-woman-friendly stereotypes in extremely annoying ways. But today, with a typically excellent post about pop culture’s promotion of patience as a girl-powerful virtue, Hess got me wondering — not that she meant to — about whether there might be a legitimate feminist argument in favor of Taylor Swift.

The Undomestic Goddess: Thoughts on Feminist Theory from Margin to Center

I read this book as part of my online book group, Radical Readers and Feminisms for Dummies. While this book, written by bell hooks, was published in 1984, there are still many points that are relevant to what’s happening today.

I didn’t write a review for this month’s book for our book club, so make sure you read this one!

taylor_swift_2008_academy_country_music_awards_7.0.0.0x0.639x912On 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.