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If She Was A Man, She’d Be the Man: A Taylor Swift Commentary

Throughout Taylor Swift’s career, she has been accused of and criticized for not writing her own songs and only singing about her exes. However, both of these claims were debunked since she has multiple songs singing about a variety of other topics like growing up, finding yourself, and self-expression, and firmly states that she writes her own songs, as confirmed by her producers and collaborators as well. The biggest point of resentment that many people talk about is how her songs are about the relationships she’s been in. As I mentioned, while this isn’t entirely true, I fail to understand — so what if it is? Are most songs not about love and relationships? Do people scrutinize every song about love and relationships with the same sharp words that they do Taylor’s music? 

The problem here lies within the fact that Taylor Swift is a woman, and that as a woman, she has been in multiple public relationships — something we as a society refuse to accept given how “promiscuous” it seems to the general eye. While I don’t believe she’s dated more than your average woman or man, I think the very fact that she is a woman and the exaggerated media representation of her relationships that come along with it is what has brought negativity to her music. It’s funny because if this were a man we were talking about, much like her song The Man states, there would be so much discourse about how sensitive and emotional he is, and how beautiful the songs that come from these relationships are. He wouldn’t be slandered for being a “crazy ex”, who “can’t move on”, and only writes songs about the relationships they’ve been in. 

Growing up, I was a massive Swiftie. While my love for her music dulled a little bit during some of her eras, I can still appreciate and applaud her for the massive success she’s had and the chokehold she has on the music industry. folklore and evermore are really a form of musical mastery, and there’s really no denying that. Having dealt with her fair share of issues, from losing ownership of her own music to Scooter Braun in 2018 to the scrutiny her songs and skills are put under with every song she releases, to the VMA Debacle of 2009 and the never-ending feud with Kanye West — there’s always some bridge for her to cross and burn. The continual line of questioning is almost appalling to see given her huge success, fame, and talent. Her dating life causes people not to see her for who she is, making her personal life cloud her musical genius. 

In today’s day and age, it’s upsetting to see a woman of such power and grace still be slut-shamed and called out for things that aren’t true. It’s time we normalize not commenting on artists’ private lives and instead appreciate the blood, sweat, and tears they put into the music and creations they share with the world. Imagine if you were a painter, a doctor, a lawyer, or even a tax accountant and people didn’t think you were good at your job because of the number of people you had or hadn’t been with. How ridiculous and frustrating would that feel? That’s the entirety of Taylor Swift’s life: constantly being judged, accused, and asked why she deserves the place she has in the music industry. Critiquing her music is one thing, disliking her songs is another, but simply attacking her as a person is uncalled for. The gender bias in the music industry is so pervasive and deep-rooted that it makes it harder to see artists for who they are. This Women’s History Month, it’s time we stop putting women down and instead find a way to make space for the brave and loud voices of women who have something to say. 

Natasha is a fourth-year student at the University of California, Davis double majoring in Psychology and Communications with a minor in Economics. She has a variety of interests ranging from marketing and media to human rights and policy and continues to seek opportunities to explore them. Being an international student she brings with her a unique perspective which she hopes to share through her writing.