The Powerful Voice and Music of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift: musician, songwriter, role model, and so much more. You might not like her or her music, but there’s no denying that she’s fought through, fought for, and accomplished a lot since her career began. As I‘m sure you know (thanks to media coverage), she’s had rumors, gossip, and drama taint her reputation. Even so, having begun as a country star and evolved into a pop star, she’s released a total of seven albums, the latest of which was titled “Lover” and released this past summer. Taylor Swift’s music speaks to and resonates with people as well as she does, but she’s more than just a singer-songwriter; she’s an activist with a strong, fearless voice that’s equally reflected in her music.  Lover Album Cover Taylor Swift / Instagram

It’s no mystery that the social aspect of sexism is still very much alive, and Taylor Swift has no shame in addressing it. Just recently released, her Netflix documentary “Miss Americana,” named after the song on her “Lover” album, follows some of the struggles she’s faced and issues she’s spoken out against. For one, in 2013, Taylor Swift was groped by Colorado DJ David Mueller and sued him shortly after. In her Netflix documentary, she states, “I was angry that I had to be there [and] I was angry that this happens to women.” Swift brings attention to the fact that women are often dismissed or objectified in cases like these.

 

Taylor Swift’s sexual assault inspired her to raise her voice in politics as well. At the end of the music video for her song “You Need to Calm Down,” also from “Lover," she asks viewers to sign her petition for Senate support of the Equality Act, which would “provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life” such as employment, housing, and federally funded programs. The music video also features many famous members of the LGBTQ community, including Hannah Hart, Rupaul, and Ellen Degeneres. The song itself serves as her way to send a message to haters, including those of the LGBTQ community (“Cause shade never made anybody less gay”) and Taylor Swift herself (“snakes and stones never broke my bones”). 

Haters Taylor Swift Giphy

Taylor Swift’s song “The Man,” has to be her greatest one yet, as it addresses the social exercise of sexism and follows the imaginative narrative of how she might live and be treated if she were a man. There are countless Easter eggs and hidden messages within the recently released music video, but there’s one that carries significance in a few different ways. In the music video, the main character “Tyler Swift” is seen walking through a hallway with 19 hands reaching out to high-five him after a one-night stand. The 19 hands may be a nod to the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote back in 1919. 

 

In addition, the scene signifies the stark contrast between men and women regarding sex; while men are praised, as seen by the high-fiving hallway, women are shamed, as signified by a “walk of shame.” Also, the hallway compares to a scene from the French Beauty and the Beast movie La Belle et la Bête, which, of course, carries the underlying message that what is pleasurable for men is often scary and difficult for women.  Girl Holding Her Knees Breanna Coon / Her Campus

There are so many more political and social messages, most of which revolve around praising the man for doing the bare minimum and objectifying women while women are expected to do more, along with the male-praising. One last thing I want to point out is another scene from the music video in which “Tyler Swift” gets heated during a tennis game, to the point at which he throws a tennis ball to the referee and breaks his racket. This refers to Serena Williams’ reaction to an unfair umpire back in 2018 during which she also smashes her racket. While “Tyler” is left to act as he wishes, Williams was mocked by the media for her apparent lack of professionalism. Taylor Swift stated in a 2019 interview that “a man is allowed to react. A woman can only overreact.”

Taylor Swift on stage singing in a gold sequin dress Photo by Eva Rinaldi from Flickr

Although she has been ridiculed, criticized, and negatively portrayed in the media for some time now, Taylor Swift is vocal in her fight against social and political issues of all kinds. It’s no wonder she’s become and remained so popular; her music is power, and her power is music. As a woman who both struggled and accomplished so much in the competitive and male-driven industry of music, Taylor Swift is fearless. Taylor Swift is The Man.