Thank You, Taylor Swift, For Gaining Weight

Regardless of how you feel about Taylor Swift now, during the 1989 era, Taylor Swift was cool. Or at least I (and my other 15-year-old friends) thought so in 2014.

A lot of this rooted from us wanting to look like her. We painted our lips red and winged our eyeliner… I even cut my long hair to my shoulders. Candid after candid of Taylor’s street style, it was with desperate admiration that we declared: “Everything looks good on her.”

Swift had always been skinny— lanky, even. Seemingly overnight, she went from looking like a high schooler to resembling a Victoria’s Secret model. In skin-tight costumes under stage lights and HD camera, it was clear she didn’t have an ounce of fat.

I (along with many of my friends) wanted to be Taylor-Swift-Skinny, too. With Swift’s magnitude of fame, I’m sure we weren’t alone in this.

Swift gave the illusion that her body was somewhat natural— maybe she’s just blessed with genetics, we thought. Nonetheless, we scoured the internet for her diet and exercise routine— I felt that I would finally look good if I looked like her. I thought that when I was Taylor-Swift-Skinny, I would finally like the way my clothes fit.

But Taylor’s body wasn’t only unrealistic -- it was unhealthy. My friends and I developed unhealthy eating and exercise habits, (i.e. eating far too little and exercising far too much,) while constantly comparing our bodies to the pictures that flooded the internet of Swift in her matching crop tops and mini skirts. My clothes never fit like hers did— in my own eyes, I was never skinny enough.

Taylor has visibly gained weight since her 1989 album, and she looks healthy now— she looks more like me.

It dawned on me that Taylor Swift was probably very unhealthy to maintain her Taylor-Swift-Skinny.

Much less impressionable than I was at fifteen, I felt validated seeing a body more similar to mine represented through a figure I grew up idolizing. I felt proud of her. For me, her weight gain seems to be a symbol of her letting go of her untouchable and perfect image that my fifteen-year-old self nearly killed myself over trying to achieve. Now, instead of wishing that I resembled her boney structure, I feel empowered seeing an image in the media that celebrates a healthy body instead of starving it.

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