Taylor Swift, one of the world’s biggest pop stars, has had more than her fair share of criticism. As is the case with any super successful female, some of the hate she has received in the past has been because of her sex. Ever since she was a teenager, the vast majority of people criticizing Swift have taken issue with her having “too many boyfriends” or being overly dramatic about relationships and breakups. Swift has constantly been antagonized for the partners she has had, even though many male celebrities have done far more harmful things and have not gotten nearly as much condemnation as her. This double standard is something that many women face, even if they are not as popular as Taylor Swift.
Swift has been vocal about this, and other double standards that women face, in Hollywood and in the real world. In several of her songs, Swift addresses these harmful ideas and shares empowering messages for her female fans. Here are some of the best Taylor Swift lyrics about female empowerment to use for your Women’s History Month Instagram captions this March and beyond.
- “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man.” (“The Man,” Lover)
“The Man” is a song about sexism and how women are often held to a higher standard than women. The song is particularly impactful to Swift, as she has been the subject of media criticism for most of her career just because of who she has dated. Swift uses “The Man” to point out the double standards that exist for women.
- “If a man talks sh*t, then I owe him nothing. I don’t regret it one bit ‘cause he had it coming.” (“I Did Something Bad,” Reputation)
“I Did Something Bad” has several possible references to the drama between Swift, Kanye West, and Kim Kardashian that took place in 2017. Some critics refer to the song as petty, but Swift was seemingly reclaiming her power after being villainized by the media for the drama. Swift was unapologetically saying that she didn’t owe anyone anything.
- “Never be so polite, you forget your power. Never wield such power, you forget to be polite.” (“Marjorie,” Evermore)
“Marjorie” is a tribute song to Swift’s grandmother, Marjorie Finlay. Swift shares advice from her grandmother in the song, including the lyric above. Women are often taught to be nice and polite, and Swift’s reminder of not forgetting your power is an important thing to keep in mind.
- “He wanted a bride, I was making my own name.” (“Midnight Rain,” Midnights)
“Midnight Rain” is a song about leaving behind a comfortable relationship to achieve personal goals and avoid settling. There are rumors about which of Swift’s ex-partners this song is about, but regardless, her focus during this time was her own personal growth and not a relationship.
- “They tell you while you’re young, girls go out and have your fun, then they hunt and slay the ones who actually do it.” (“Nothing New,” Red (Taylor’s Version))
In this heart-wrenching collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers, Swift calls out the double standard that young women face. Women are expected to “have their fun,” but are tormented no matter what they choose to do in their lives.
- “’Cause baby I could build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me.” (“New Romantics,” 1989)
This lyric, like several others on this list, refers to the constant criticism and hate Swift received early in her career. Swift is reclaiming her struggles in this song, showing that she would “build a castle” out of all of the hate that was thrown her way.
- “Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first.” (“Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve,” Midnights)
In “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve,” one of the 3 a.m. Tracks from Midnights, Swift expresses regret from a past relationship. She describes the relationship as “dancing with the devil at 19,” leading listeners to believe that she was in an unhealthy relationship when she was young. Swift shares in the song that she feels like her “girlhood” was taken from her due to this relationship. The lyric could be a source of comfort and empowerment for people who have dealt with a similar toxic situation.
- “And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punchline goes, I’ll get older but your lovers stay my age.” (“All Too Well (10 Minute Version),” Red (Taylor’s Version))
In this lyric, Swift again calls out the toxic behaviors of men that she has dated. For years, criticism of Swift in the media focused on the men in her life. She was blamed for her breakups, even though several of her ex-partners were much older than she was or had issues of their own. In her extended 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” Swift pointed out that while she is growing and maturing, her ex-partner is still dating far younger women, showing that she was not the one who should be blamed by the media for a toxic relationship.
Even though Taylor Swift fans probably don’t face oppression on such a large scale, her empowering lyrics can resonate with anyone no matter what they’re going through. Swift uses her music to connect with her fans and show them they aren’t alone. Listening to these songs is a great way to feel inspired and empowered.