When people would condemn Taylor Swift for not being politically active it always made me really uncomfortable because I didn’t really know how to answer. She never really has been vocal about political issues, but after watching the video for Look What You Made Me Do I got all the answers I needed.
I’ve noticed that she instead shows people how to act instead of telling them. Taylor Swift seems to know that tweeting about social and political justice isn’t really the most important thing, so she does things like donating money to Ke$ha’s trial, suing a guy that she could’ve easily buried and forgotten about for $1 just to prove that victims of sexual assault can and should take a stand, and writing songs about her deepest emotions to show people (both boys and girls) that feeling deep emotions and expressing what you’re feeling is okay and normal. And it’s obvious that it is because she’s wildly famous and popular for doing just that.
What struck me about Look What You Made Me Do is that she used male backup dancers in fishnets and high heels. I’m sure other stars have used that, but I’ve never seen it before. At least not in a music video by a celebrity at Taylor’s caliber. She also snuck LGBTQ+ activism into her Welcome to New York lyrics, “And you can want who you want. Boys and boys and girls and girls.” (Which she confirmed was in fact LGBTQ+ activism when she tweeted the lyrics along with the hashtags “#lovewins,” a rainbow heart, and “#FINALLY.” after the SCOTUS marriage equality decision.)
Taylor also showed us how to handle situations in which we’re not totally educated. When the Nicki Minaj/VMA nominations situation happened, Taylor attempted to make amends by saying, “I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke. I’m sorry, Nicki.” And I feel like that really allowed everyone to see that even if you do mess up when you’re trying to do good, taking ownership of your actions and apologizing is the best course of action.
It seems that Taylor is more politically active than the media says, mostly through her actions and not her words, which I think is very powerful. I don’t mean to discredit people that are vocal about political activism. Their work is just as important and is more obviously helpful because it puts our duties into words. But I think demonstrating how to act goes much farther than telling people how to act, and I think that’s what @taylorswift has known and done all along.