I grew up listening to Taylor Swift. From the release of her debut album in 2006, I was hooked. At six years old, I could relate to her: a normal girl from Pennsylvania with a love for music. Her lyrics really do feel like they were inspired by some of my own life experiences and have genuinely gotten me through some of the hardest times in my life. Whatever I was going through, I knew I could find a Taylor Swift song that related to my situation— and her millions of fans would agree with that statement, too.
Like most celebrities, Taylor Swift has experienced ongoing criticism and hate from the start of her career. The media portrayed her as “boy crazy” and loved talking about how many exes she had or predicting how long her relationships would last.
However, one particular incident in 2016 took the hate to another level. It all was sparked by lyrics in Kanye West’s song, “Famous.” Swift argued that West had never told her about the lyric referring to her as a “bitch” in the song.
Kim Kardashian proceeded to release an edited video of the phone call between West and Swift, supposedly “proving” that West actually did inform her about the lyric. The whole world turned against her. From tabloids to social media, everyone was talking about how much of a “snake” she was. I mean, #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty was trending worldwide on Twitter.
After the unedited video of the conversation resurfaced in 2020, we have now learned that Taylor Swift was actually telling the truth the entire time.
People loved (and arguably, still love) to hate Taylor Swift— and I’m not just talking about hating her music. It’s completely fine to dislike her music. The problem is, a lot of people actually “hate” her as a person.
When someone hates Taylor Swift, their number one argument is, “all she writes about is love” and “she goes through boyfriends faster than anyone I have ever known.” This argument is simply untrue. She has plenty of songs about topics other than love. But even if it was true… why would it be a problem in the first place?
Here’s the thing: most male artists write about love— Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran, The Weeknd. The list goes on and on. Heartbreak and love are some of the strongest emotions that we can feel, and writing music about it just makes sense. Musicians use songs and lyrics to express their feelings and experiences that we all feel and go through at some point. When a male artist sings about love and failed relationships, no one sees it as a problem. So why is it a problem when a female artist does the same thing? Maybe it’s internalized misogyny.
By definition, internalized misogyny is when women subconsciously project sexist ideas onto other women and even onto themselves.
To some degree, I feel like we have all experienced this. Misogynistic beliefs have been ingrained in our brains so extensively and for so long that it can be hard to even identify them. Internalized misogyny can come in many shapes and forms. A common form of internalized misogyny is the belittling and judgment of women by other women— and we can do this without even realizing that we are feeding into it.
We have grown up in a society where men are congratulated for the number of people they’ve slept with, but women are degraded and called “sluts” for how many partners they have had. When we constantly hear something like this, we may begin to actually believe it— even if it is subconsciously.
An example of internalized misogyny is the idea of being “not like the other girls” because it’s much better than being a “slut” or “basic.” Some other examples include judging a woman for enjoying traditionally “girly” things, or saying things like “girls are way too much drama” or “she’s a ‘pick me’ girl.” We may hate the other woman even when the man is the one to blame, or even hate an ex girlfriend for no real reason. Whether it be video games, sports, reading or makeup, it seems like women cannot enjoy anything without assumptions being made or downright judgement coming from both men and women.
Internalized misogyny can even affect the way we view ourselves. We connect our appearance to our self-worth, or we may feel uncomfortable being assertive. We may even find ourselves second guessing our hobbies and interests.
Because much of this occurs subconsciously, we have to work on deprogramming the internalized misogyny in our own minds. However, like most things, this isn’t any easy task, and it may take a long time to overcome. Acknowledging that you sometimes have these thoughts is the first step to reject them.
In the words of Taylor Swift herself, “Toss it out, reject it, and resist it. Like, there is no such thing as a slut. There is no such thing as a bitch. There is no such thing as someone who’s bossy, there’s just a boss.” I’m not asking you to buy all of Taylor Swift’s albums and become her biggest fan. What I am asking you to do is ask yourself this: do I really have a reason to hate any successful woman?
Edited by Zoë Skvarka