I’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t remember the #KimExposedTaylorParty hashtag from summer 2016. Ever since then, I’d been planning to write what I had referred to as a “Taylor Swift takedown.” Not just because of that one isolated incident, but because of a long history of disagreements I’ve had with who I perceived Taylor Swift to be.
But after finally sitting down to write it, after staring at my screen, rereading interview after interview, writing and deleting, writing and deleting… I don’t want to anymore. Something doesn’t feel right about me attacking a celebrity for the mistakes I think she’s made. If I was famous (lol) I would mess up every. damn. day. I would say the wrong thing every time I opened my mouth.
I wanted to talk about how much it annoyed me that she plays victim every time she writes a song, and that it’s not fair for her to build her career by publicly tearing down her exes. But I can’t say that it’s wrong for her to write about the men she’s dated, because those are her lived experiences. It’s not her fault that those relationships are so publicized, consequently meaning we may know the subjects of her songs.
I wanted to talk about how mad I was at the way she reacted to Nicki Minaj speaking out about being denied a VMA nomination. I think that if you’re not going to speak to institutional racism when you see it (Adele did this well), then you should at least not stand in the way of those who do. But this was a defensive, knee-jerk reaction via tweets, and I know plenty of people who have spoken too fast and out of turn on twitter– the difference being that my friends and I aren’t famous, so no one is going to notice.
I wanted to talk about how hypocritical I thought it was that she’d quote Madeline Albright (“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”) then go and write songs like Bad Blood and Better Than Revenge.
But me talking solely about those things doesn’t do a whole lot of good. She is one person, not that much older than me, navigating her life/career in a much more public way than I will ever have to. I love a celebrity who isn’t afraid to use their exceptionally rare platform to make people listen. And I don’t agree with everything Taylor Swift has used her platform to say. But I don’t have to, because it’s not her job to say things I agree with.
This all got me thinking instead about the enormously high standard we hold our celebrities to. And why? These people are singers, actors, comedians, models, etc. Their jobs are just that. They didn’t sign up to be the role model for our children, so why do we reprimand them when we think they’re not setting a good example?
All I know about Taylor Swift is what she’s said in the public sphere. She’s a smart, talented singer and songwriter who makes music that a hell of a lot of people love and appreciate. If that’s all she’s aspired to be, then that’s all that we should ask her to be.
Featured image here.