When did it become OK to be a dick to Taylor Swift?
She has every right to be proud of her achievements
by David Farrell 3 days ago 209 Views
It’s cool to hate Taylor Swift.
If you were to believe what people say about Taylor Swift you would think she is nothing less than an evil mastermind bent on world destruction when, in fact, she is simply a musician whose work has been justifiably recognised for its more than considerable merit.
You may say that people hate on Taylor because Kim Kardashian exposed her as a snake, but in reality this was just the final straw. The tide has started to turn against Taylor well before that. The hate she received and is still receiving for winning the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2015 (which was completely beyond her control by the way) is a perfect example of that.
The fact is that people loathe to celebrate successful people, especially women. When it seems like someone is getting popular, they are immediately seen as too big for their boots and the criticism starts rolling in. They are the real snakes, not Taylor.
A perfect example of this is this article from BuzzFeed which accuses Taylor of making her entire career off playing the victim. BuzzFeed have previously been very supportive of Taylor, publishing articles like “21 Times Taylor Swift Proved She Has A Heart Of Gold”, “17 Reasons Why Taylor Swift Couldn’t Possibly Top “1989”. If you’re going to be critical, then please show a consistent line.
The truth is that now that it’s in vogue to hate on Taylor, publications like BuzzFeed have readily jumped on the bandwagon. Penning a 20-page long essay about how much you despise someone is tantamount to creating a ‘Mean Girls’-esque burn book. Not only is this playground behaviour, but also a colossal waste of everyone’s time. The whole article is redundant because by engaging in a personal attack upon Taylor’s character it ends up doing very thing it claims Taylor Swift has based her whole career on – turning her into a victim.
The disturbingly ruthless character assassination of Taylor has come about in an age when America is rebelling against the traditional girl next door. This once practically untouchable archetype has now been thrown out of the window in favour of celebrating diversity, which is undoubtedly fantastic for society. What we must be careful of, however, is to not go too far the other way in order to achieve this goal of equality.
How can the persecution of what Taylor stands for – the girl next door – belong in the diverse accepting society we want to create? This is a society where there is room for the gay kid, the black kid and the girl next door to sit at the same table, rather than one where the girl next door is left out to justify the years she enjoyed the spotlight over others. That’s called reverse discrimination, which benefits nobody. What we need to strive towards is equal spotlight, equal recognition.
There now exists a paradox whereby white artists like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, who all received Grammy nominations this year, are still clearly favoured by established institutions such as The Grammys, as evidenced by the events of last Sunday, but their work is unfairly dismissed by the masses as redundant fluff.
Taylor Swift winning Album of the Year angered a lot of people and whether or not it was the right decision it was the decision which was made and Taylor has every right to be proud of her achievement. After all, this was the moment she had worked for since she was 15. The culmination of the fruits of her labour. The fulfilment of her dreams. To rob anyone of that satisfaction is bullying no matter what the reason.
The fact is that ‘1989’ was, in fact, one of the best albums in recent memory, you can check out this BuzzFeed article for all the reasons why. You don’t need to carry a political message in order to be a bloody fantastic album. Taylor’s mastery lies in reinvention and pitch perfect PR campaigns. And newsflash, every single artist manipulates the media – Beyonce herself is just as shrewd a businesswoman and people adore her. It’s a fickle business.
The matter is one of respect. Artists, generally speaking, are much better at showing respect for one another, which is important considering that we lived in an era when pop is looked down upon as a lesser art. Taylor Swift had already declared herself a fan of Kendrick Lamar when she asked him to feature on her song ‘Bad Blood’. If Lamar did not respect Taylor’s work he would have declined, which begs the questions as to why the general public is so damning of Taylor on behalf of Lamar when the artist himself publicly has already declared his respect for her work.
Taylor Swift is an intelligent, strong woman who has managed to create a successful career for herself out of nothing and that is purely based on talent, not playing the victim. Do you think people who buy her albums if they carried the same message, but without her level of musical mastery? Absolutely not. Does society need to change to recognise more diverse talent – of course, but don’t blame Taylor Swift for a problem that should be equally shouldered by all of us.
When stories are published calling Taylor “insane” and a “control freak”, and when entire Tumblr threads are devoted to how “annoying” she is, we’re sending a message to young girls and women: You are not allowed to be seen enjoying your success or your sexuality – and you are certainly not to appear to think you deserve either.
Justin Bieber caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to his neighbour’s property by egging it, and allegedly spat on his fans. He repeatedly storms off stage in the middle of concerts and talks openly about his relationships – yet he still can be redeemed.
Swift writes catchy songs about some ex-boyfriends, appears surprised when she wins awards, complains about how she has been represented in a Kanye West song, and is never photographed with a hair out of place. Those are her crimes. And they are apparently unforgivable.
Before her, Hathaway’s crimes were crying when she won an Oscar – and obviously wanting to win an Oscar. Lawrence’s was being too goofy. Meanwhile, Woody Allen continues to make movies, Bill Murray is a loveable but curmudgeonly old fella’ and Terry Richardson is a feted photographer.
Swift is the only woman to win the Grammy for album of the year twice; she has sold 40m albums worldwide and has written the vast majority of her own hits. If she seems little intense, it probably has something to do with why she is so wildly successful, yet we remain determined to reduce her – in her own tongue-in-cheek words – to a nightmare dressed like a daydream.
“Taylor Swift’s ‘downfall’: what the online celebrations really say” by Bridie Jabour