When I was in the fifth grade my mom came home from a Tim McGraw concert with a CD. On the cover was a curly haired girl who, according to my mother, had a thick southern accent and a beautiful voice. That girl opened for Tim McGraw that summer on her very first tour.
I’m sure you can predict what happens next. At this point, eight years or so have passed since I listened to that CD for the first time. I have seen Taylor Swift in concert three times (two of which she headlined her own sold-out stadium tour) and bought every single one of her albums.
This is not to say that I refuse to acknowledge that she has made mistakes. The amount of girl hating and slut shaming in some of the lyrics of her earlier albums is somewhat unsettling (“she’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress,” “she wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts,”). This is a valid point. But it’s important to keep in mind that she was just 16 when she started her music career. No, she’s not off the hook completely, but she had to do a lot of maturing in such a condensed amount of time so perhaps cutting her some slack is not only necessary, but the right thing to do. Additionally, she has made multiple enlightening statements about how toxic girl-hating is and that she has considered herself a feminist all of this time.
No, celebrities cannot go around insulting people and causing a genuine ruckus (Justin Bieber, anyone?) without having to deal with the repercussions. 6 months ago I would have loved a public apology from her, but she has done even better. (See the links above). As she’s grown older, her fans have grown with her and shown us that she’s a genuinely good person.
There is no one Taylor Swift cares more about than her fans. Whether it’s thanking them in a sweet awards show speech or taking Polaroids with them at surprise meet and greet parties, Taylor always takes the time to remind those who matter most how much she values them. She’s genuinely thankful for all she’s been given, and she has worked hard for the rest.
Somehow, between her days strumming a guitar for short sets on country music tours and winning a handful of Grammy Awards, Taylor Swift worked her ass off. She has made millions of dollars in an industry that is notoriously unkind to women. Her success story is one giant slap in the face to the media for all of the shit they have given her for living her life how she chooses.
But let’s talk about that for a moment. Taylor Swift dates a few guys? She’s a slut. She writes songs about her feelings? She’s whiny. How often do male artists get these same complaints? Rarely ever. Anyone who has repeated or agreed with these offensive statements has promoted an incredibly unhealthy cultural stigma.
Taylor Swift is a woman who is completely unapologetic for who she is. She likes what she likes, does what she does, and that’s the end of it. Whether it’s her obsession with red lipstick, cats, or Law & Order, she never tries to hide who she is for the sake of others’ approval. And that’s exactly the kind of woman we need present in today’s society as a role model. It’s perfectly understandable if you don’t enjoy her music. I get that. But insulting her appearance is unacceptable.
As a young woman, I will never be able to express my eternal gratitude for what Taylor Swift has done for me. She has paved the way for women and given us an example of how to be a genuinely sweet girl while still taking shit from absolutely no one. Thank you, Taylor. You’re my hero.