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I loved Taylor Swift when her very first album came out, and I followed closely as I grew up screaming her songs. Until suddenly, she wasn't cool anymore and the world began to hate her for doing exactly what men had been doing in music forever. I wish the younger me were strong enough to see that I didn't hate Taylor Swift, and I loved that she wrote songs about the boys who broke her heart, but I was told by society that I shouldn't, and it was shown that girls who did were open to ridicule.

The never-ending push to be 'not like other girls' has enforced misogyny and almost worse, internalized misogyny that has young women convinced that we must change who we are, what we like, and make sure we are 'unique.' We can't like girly things - unless they fit the male gaze, and anything that is dominated by women is largely made fun of and criticized until it becomes cooler to hate it than it was to once like it. 

This is not only present in the years Taylor Swift was dragged through the mud by millions because she stood up for herself and because she wrote songs young girls liked but in every facet of our lives. The color pink was hated, and boy bands dismissed, girls were against each other fighting to be the most interesting. I had myself convinced I hated Twilight and never wore 'girly' colors. I thought I was too cool for dresses and wanted to be one of the guys more than anything, but as I've grown older and grew into myself, I've realized I only ever felt that way because I was taught I should. 

[bf_image id="q7k2fi-7zyrpc-6qchry"] So to Taylor Swift and Kristen Stewart, any girl I've ever made fun of for being yourself and to my younger self, I'm so sorry. I wish I could get back the years I wasted not loving myself, and not loving the things that I enjoyed. I wish I had figured out that society was the issue not the interests of young women. There is no shame in loving girly things or loving popular media. If it's marketed towards women, it doesn't lose its value. Society may never allow women to enjoy life the way men are able to but we can embrace ourselves and uplift each other, and protect young girls who are being taught it's not okay to be themselves. 

Pisces ❀ cwu '23 avid feminist
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