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What’s the Problem with Teenage Girls Writing Songs?

Society finally began to appreciate and apologize to Taylor Swift, only to make the same mistakes with her number one fan. In recent months, Olivia Rodrigo has taken the music industry by storm. From the initial release of her debut single, “drivers license” which quickly rose to the top of music charts worldwide, to similar successes with her next singles, “deja vu” and “good 4 u” leading to the launch of her very first album, SOUR, Olivia has been high on the music charts almost every week of 2021. But this success doesn’t go without its inevitable accompaniment of hate. 

Taylor Swift Style Video
UMG / Big Machine Records / Youtube

Why are we so inclined to hate on teenage girls for writing about their romance and their heartbreak? Why do we always feel the need to get overinvested in their love lives and make assumptions about who or what they are writing about? This only encourages hate to be sent to other young influencers who may or may not be involved, leading to armies of fans going to war with each other to protect the name of their beloved. Olivia has received countless comments accusing her of defaming her High School Musical the Musical: The Series costar, Joshua Bassett. These accusations have led to rifts in fanbases and unnecessary hate being sent to both stars. 

No one knows what actually happened between Bassett and Rodrigo, but people seem to skip that detail when making their seemingly innocent comments all across social media. All this gossip stemmed from initial rumors that Bassett and Rodrigo had once dated during the initial filming of HSMTMTS but have since broken up. With Olivia releasing a single that seemed to have many connections to Joshua, people began to talk. Despite the fact that Olivia isn’t writing about hate and isn’t blaming anyone in “drivers license,” fans took it as a message to hate Bassett for breaking her heart. 

However, once the aftermath of her first single died down, and Olivia began to release new songs like “deja vu,” “good 4 u,” and later her whole album, the narrative began to shift. People, quite often adults on the internet, began to accuse Olivia of being hung up on one person and having nothing unique to write about. These accusations stem from people’s own assumptions about what Olivia is writing about when Olivia herself has been quiet on the matter. People call her immature and mean, claiming she is setting out to ruin Bassett’s career when in reality, it is entirely possible that none of her songs have ever been about him. It’s crazy to me how people will see the success of an eighteen-year-old girl and immediately try to squabble it. 

Geffen Records/Interscope Records

Olivia just turned eighteen in February, thus it can be expected that she doesn’t have as much life experience as other singer/songwriters in their late 20s/30s. Yet, she has proven that this isn’t an issue. Every single one of her releases has broken records, but people still criticize her. Aside from the typical criticism accusing her of only writing about the same thing, people claimed she released the wrong singles; that the singles she picked didn’t accurately promote the album. People forget it’s her first album and it’s not going to be perfect. But, in my opinion, as a first album with most of her songs being written when she was sixteen or seventeen, I am more than impressed.

To say I am disappointed in the reactions to Olivia’s music is an understatement, but I am not surprised. People like to bash young girls for defaming men’s careers and only writing about one thing, when none of that is true. They did it with Taylor Swift, and they’re doing it again with Olivia Rodrigo. Olivia wore her heart on her sleeve as she poured her emotions into her songwriting, and it is extremely evident with the way her songs are literally addicting. While her musical style may not be for everyone, people can’t deny her talent. Very few artists can say they have seen the same success with their first album as she has. Olivia’s unmatched talent has led to jealousy and attempts to baselessly accuse her of being a heartless person who is set out to destroy the lives of men, but she and her music deserve to be taken seriously as a work of art, independent of rumors surrounding the subjects of the album.

Shira Blieden is a Genetics and Genomics major at UCD. She enjoys reading, crocheting, and listening to an abundance of Bachelor Nation podcasts to fill up her free time.
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