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Why the Media (and the World) Owes Taylor Swift an Apology

An inside look on the double standards in the music industry

Growing up, Taylor Swift has been a staple in my music taste. As someone who began listening to Swift during her Fearless era, I’ve had the pleasure of watching her explore styles from guitar filled country, synth-based pop and piano fused indie. However, while I got to observe her many musical pursuits, I was also made aware of the countless attacks towards her character in the media. 

Swift has been criticized many times for supposedly only writing about her ex-boyfriends. Many have referred to her as a “serial dater”, as almost all her romantic pursuits with high profile men have been forced into the public eye. After years of criticism, Swift was able to make fun of this notoriety in her 2014 hit single “Blank Space” and her album Reputation. Despite her satirizing her reputation and the fact that she has been in a low-profile, committed relationship for years now, these attacks on her character still seem to follow her.

It’s crucial to note, however, that male celebrities of a similar status to her don’t seem to receive the same treatment. For example, Harry Styles, a hit singer and notable ex of Swift, is rumored to have dated a similar number of people as Swift. His role in the band One Direction had him singing songs almost exclusively about relationships, love, and infatuation, all topics that have followed into his solo singing career. While writing about love is in no way shameful (and it can make for some incredible music), I cannot ignore the fact that Styles has not received nearly the level of criticism as Swift for expressing his romantic and sexual pursuits. 

Though not every woman is constantly put into the spotlight like Swift, the treatment she has received for expressing herself and her desires is all too familiar. As a college student, I have overheard countless statements about women laced with degrading comments about their sexuality, while men are praised for the same thing. As the media begins to loosen up its coverage on Taylor, I believe this is the perfect opportunity to examine the society we live in that allowed her to suffer through it in the first place. 

Kate Sarvady

Wisconsin '25

Kate Sarvady is a freshman at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. When she is not writing for Her Campus, she can often be found hanging out with friends, dancing, listening to music (especially Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers and Fleetwood Mac), and eating ice cream.
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