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Taylor Swift’s Songwriting Was Just Questioned: Sexism in the Music Industry

Damon Albarn recently was interviewed by Los Angeles Times where he said Taylor Swift “doesn’t write her own songs” because she often works with other collaborators. According to him, co-writing “doesn’t count” towards being labeled a songwriter.

However, Albarn is obviously uneducated on Swift’s discography, because she has over 50 self-written songs. In fact, her third album, Speak Now, is entirely self-written. Early in her career, after the enormous success of Swift’s second album titled Fearless, critics began claiming that she didn’t write songs on her own. Swift, being offended that her songwriting talent was being questioned, responded by releasing an entire self-written album. Speak Now sold more than one million copies in its first week, produced four top 10 hit songs on the Billboard’s all-genre chart, had seven top 20 hits, and was certified six times platinum. It currently is placed No. 45 on Rolling Stone’s “50 Best Female Albums of All Time.”

Before getting into my favorite self-written Taylor Swift songs, I think it is important to circle back to the Damon Albarn comment. Swift responded on Twitter saying, “I write ALL of my own songs. Your hot take is completely false and SO damaging. You don’t have to like my songs but it’s really fucked up to try and discredit my writing.” Albarn’s comment stems from the sexism in the music industry. It is very rarely when we see male artists’ songwriting questioned. Over Swift’s entire career, she has faced sexism from the media. One of Swift’s biggest hits, Black Space, was inspired by the media’s idea that she dates too many men and writes too many songs about them. Again, challenges men in the music industry rarely face.

One track off of Swift’s 2019 album Lover is titled “The Man.” In the song, Swift imagines how people would perceive her if she was a man. In the chorus, she sings, “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man.” The song, and music video, emphasize the sexist double standards imposed on Swift (and women in general) her entire career.

Albarn’s comment shows how sexism in the media industry is alive and well now more than ever. It is important to show respect to the artists who are involved in the songwriting process, rather than discredit them. Taylor Swift is one of the greatest songwriters of our generation, and it is not shocking that the media, and men, are intimidated by that.

My favorite swift self-written songs:

  1. “Our Song” – Taylor Swift (2006)
  2. “Love Story” – Fearless (Taylor’s Version) (2021)
  3. “The Other Side of the Door” – Fearless (Taylor’s Version) (2021)
  4. “Back to December” – Speak Now (2010)
  5. “Dear John” – Speak Now (2010)
  6. “Enchanted” – Speak Now (2010)
  7. “Last Kiss” – Speak Now (2010)
  8. “Eyes Open” – The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond (2012)
  9. “Sad Beautiful Tragic” – Red (Taylor’s Version) (2021)
  10. “The Moment I Knew” – Red (Taylor’s Version) (2021)
  11. “Better Man” – Red (Taylor’s Version) (2021)
  12. “This Love” – 1989 (2014)
  13. “Cornelia Street” ­­– Lover (2019)
  14. “my tears ricochet” – folklore (2020)
  15. “no body, no crime” ft. HAIM – evermore (2020)
Hi! My name is Macy Villela and I am a first year at the University of Virginia. I am so excited to be a part of UVA's chapter. I am looking forward to writing about study tips, new music, beauty products and secrets, and more!
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