The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
TW: Sexual assault
The Lorax. Valentine’s Day. Cats. The Giver. Amsterdam. What do these movies have in common? Taylor Swift, of course.
Now, I’ve been a swiftie since I could breath, but Miss Swift’s recent questionable life choices have started to make me question my faith. Obviously, ten-year-old me lost her mind at Audrey and all her shimmering red-haired glory in The Lorax, but ever since that unforgettable era (2012 really was a time to be alive), Taylor hasn’t exactly been putting her best foot forward.
Amsterdam is the latest in a series of interesting cinematic projects in which Taylor Swift has snagged a role. In the film, Taylor plays a daughter grieving her murdered father, and meets her own death under the wheels of a car after about five minutes of screen time. Amsterdam has been getting a bevy of less than stellar reviews, which is more than disappointing considering the star-studded cast (if Anya Taylor-Joy and Margot Robbie can’t save it, no one can).
But the worst part about Amsterdam? The director, David O. Russell. Russell has written and directed some great films in the past: Silver Linings Playbook, Joy, American Hustle. But being an alright movie director doesn’t give him the right to treat female actresses like shit and, oh, right, sexually assault his niece. In 2011, Russell’s niece, Nicole, filed a police report against him for assault, but the case was quickly closed and he was never formally charged. Russell told the police that Nicole had acted “provocative” towards him — I’m 100% sure that didn’t give him the right to grope her.
David O. Russell sucks, so why did Taylor Swift agree to star in his film? One reason.
Bear with me for a moment while I remind us of another blonde celeb we all know and love: Emma Chamberlain. Just after the height of Emma’s fame, around 2020, her content began to shift. She was no longer collaborating with the Dolan twins or going on lavish sponsored vacations. Her video style changed. Her look changed. At that time, Emma was one of the most recognizable names in the world, and at 19 she lived in a Los Angeles mansion that she bought herself.
Emma Chamberlain’s style was changing because she was getting bored. She had reached every goal that existed. She no longer had to cater to what anyone wanted from her because her name alone carried power. And I think that’s what’s happened to Taylor Swift, too.
Taylor is arguably the most famous performer in the world. There is barely a music award out there that she hasn’t won, and at this point she can do almost whatever she wants. She could release the worst album ever produced and we would all still buy out the vinyls, CDs, tapes (despite none of us owning a tape player), monogrammed suitcases, cardigans, key chains, Speak Now baseball caps and branded water bottles. Taylor Swift is bored, and so she’s turned to a section of the world she hasn’t conquered yet: Hollywood. Being bored is a great reason to be a CGI cat in a nightmare-inducing musical that gives us all a laugh. But being bored isn’t an excuse to work with a sex offender.
This is admittedly a pessimistic take on an issue that maybe doesn’t warrant this much analysis. Maybe Taylor wasn’t aware of the allegations. Maybe the allegations aren’t even true. However, in this case, the truth doesn’t really matter, because there are still larger societal implications to Taylor’s choices. When a celebrity who is as high profile as Taylor is publicly working with a man who is known for being terrible to women, it sends the message that men can get away with anything.
Long story short, if you’re itching to watch a Taylor Swift movie this weekend, dig up your old Valentine’s Day DVD. Don’t waste your money getting a ticket to Amsterdam.