Taylor Swift and White Feminism

I really hoped we wouldn't need to have this discussion again when Taylor Swift dropped her new song “Look What You Made Me Do”.

I’m not here to criticize her music (I hate to admit it, but she does have some good bops). Rather, I want to address Taylor’s attitudes towards feminism as many girls (probably cisgender, heterosexual, and white) look up to her. During my fall term LSFY freshman year, I wrote a paper about feminism in pop culture. My research led me to two terms: intersectional feminism and white feminism. Intersectional feminism observes how types of oppression overlap with each other. On the other hand, white feminism only benefits—you guessed it—white women, and does not explore the injustices other women face. Which led me to this article on Everyday Feminism about the ways which Taylor Swift utilizes white feminism.

At that point in my life, I already identified as a feminist. Seeing that Taylor also identified as one, I gave her my respect. Because weren’t we all in the fight against the patriarchy together? That’s when this article proved me wrong. Not only did it educate me on the ways which Taylor wrongfully uses feminism to glorify herself, but it made me more aware of how I, as a white woman, can start seeing through intersectional lenses. And as a feminist, I need to play my part in calling out oppression when I see it. So Taylor, look what you made me do.

The problem I have with Taylor Swift is that she claims she’s for feminism, but doesn’t really take action unless it helps herself. She has not made any public appearances at feminist rallies or events. Her history with Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian-West proves that she’s ignorant of her problematic behavior and doesn’t support all women. Based on her latest song, that hasn’t seemed to change. If anything, "Look What You Made Me Do" targets those who she thinks has wronged her. In this case, Taylor uses feminism as a shield, because she doesn’t want to admit she’s in the wrong. Taylor, no one made you sing that song. That was all you.

What I hope you take away from this is to be more mindful about your activism, especially if you come from a privileged background. As a white, cisgender woman, I know that I will never face the same struggles as other women. And as a feminist, I know that I can do better than Taylor Swift’s white feminism.