Tea alert! I was having a dull conversation with this boy from my anthropology class and decided to tweak our chat by asking if he was going to our school’s Taylor Swift-themed event. Upon hearing that question, all the politeness left his body. He pounced on me with his crass on how Taylor Swift’s lyricism is “stupid” and that “all her songs sound the same.” No matter how badly I wanted to knee him in the groin after hearing that, I repressed the urge to. Regardless, I took inspiration from that boy’s blasphemous words, spun them into gold, and released this article. As Swift’s fan and one of her top 0.5% listeners on Spotify, I decided to dissect the issue of why some boys slander Taylor Swift and her artistic expression.
If you boil down the gossip you hear about Swift, the main theme in these talks is the “cult-like” behavior of Swifties and how her songs lack the “X factor.” I have seen boys be the top contenders in such trash talk. If you’ve had the unfortunate chance to eavesdrop on such discussions, the content has the potential to be turned into a book. They might as well title it The Thrashing of Taylor Swift: The Boys’ Version. Such behavior reflects that they are the pawns in the fabric of patriarchy and do not understand how to respect art. Is it so hard for them to accept that a woman can be a top artist and create herstory in a world where only history is acceptable? Damn, even my autocorrect keeps on correcting the word herstory.
Some of you might have boyfriends and husbands who are bigger fans of Swift than you are, but there are still so many people, specifically some boys, who will get offended if you talk about her. They cross the fine line between having an opinion, and the need to bring down a woman because her success feels unreal. It is understood that many might not relate to Swift’s songs. It is because they usually surround girlhood and how a woman, American singer or not, nearly succumbs to the pressure of patriarchy but emerges victorious. However, being unable to relate to an artist’s work does not place one in a position to drag it through the mud.
There is a respectful way to form an opinion about someone, and their work. Swift’s music might not be for you, and that’s okay. But saying that her fan-following is a shrouded cult and that her art or lyricism is stupid — I cannot get this out of my head!
Now that everyone is so unabashedly opinionated, let me share my perception. I think someone’s art gives you a direct line of sight into their experiences, and what they felt in a moment that could’ve been the best of their lives, or the most heinous one. Disrespecting their art is equivalent to invalidating their feelings, experiences, and expression.
Swift’s work encompasses everything, from the sweetest loves she witnessed, to harsh breakups, and a bad reputation. She opens her heart up for her listeners. In Swift’s song, “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve”, she’s at the peak of her vulnerability as she sings about her relationship with a man who was way older than her when she was just 19. If you call the lyrics of this song “stupid,” please know that there are countless 19-year-olds who cry to the same lyrics and feel at home. It is because they resonate with the remorse that Swift writes about and they too feel the pressure of misogyny weigh down on them. While I do not expect everyone to relate to it, you can be considerate towards the artist’s expression and her listeners.
Dear boys, maybe you need to stop hating on Taylor Swift. I suggest you carefully listen to Swift’s words and understand where she’s coming from. Her songs could lead you to see how the dust of patriarchy and hostility veil society. You might be able to interpret the world from a different perspective — a perspective of a woman who was wronged a myriad times, and a girl who was judged for just being. It might open your eyes to the society that was cruel to Swift and countless other girls who now stand by her.
P.S. For the boy from my anthropology class, hate to break it to you but this article will have hit the tabloid way sooner than karma gets to you.