As an English girl, Taylor Swift started out as just an obscure country singer. Country. Like, England doesn’t do country music. We can just about stretch to Dolly Parton but other than that, most people couldn’t name another country singer. Then with ‘Love Story’ and ‘You Belong With Me’, Taylor became more of a global name. Now, with her album ‘1989’ she has somehow managed to become an even bigger success and begin journeys into feminism and self discovery.
Let’s begin with ‘Shake It Off’ shall we? Taylor addresses the comments made about her by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the 2014 Oscars, insinuating that she can’t keep a boyfriend yada yada- (I was pretty disappointed in my gal Amy for that cheap hit tbh, but still love her forever). In the song, Taylor sings,“I go on too many dates, but I can’t make them stay, at least that’s what people say”.
Taylor addresses the comments without being vengeful or bitter, but merely stating that ‘yes this was said about me, but I don’t care’ and proceeds to shake it off. Highly contrasted to Taylor’s last album, where the theme of revenge was dedicated a whole song. In ‘Better Than Revenge’, there are some questionable ideas surrounding blaming other women for her ‘boyfriend’s’ infidelity.
Moving onto ‘Blank Space’, or more specifically, the video. It continues ideas of Taylor knowing exactly how the media try to manipulate perceptions of her and playing up to the stereotype of herself; which is mature, intelligent and frankly hilarious. And not just perceptions of her, but the sexist viewpoints and caricatures of all women. I don’t see the media attacking Harry Styles for his long line of women, and crazily trying to work out which ex the latest One Direction song is about. Oh right, yeah, that’s cos he’s a guy and deserves more respect for his ‘work’, silly me. Taylor tackles this issue head on in an Australian radio show where she states that “no one says that about Ed Sheeran, no one says that about Bruno Mars” and she brands it as “sexist” as she should.
In her work and in interviews, Taylor has grown as a person and as a feminist. As I’ve already mentioned, on her previous albums Taylor was borderline hateful towards other women. In ‘You Belong With Me’ Taylor describes a girl as wearing ‘short skirts’ in a derogative way that insinuates Taylor is above that. It is also interestingly worth noting here that in ‘YBWM’, Taylor is technically the ‘other woman’ in the scenario described in the song. However, in ‘Style’ (a track on 1989), she described herself as wearing a ‘tight little skirt’; realisation that what women wear means absolutely nothing, and that sometimes she is that girl. Which is fine, as there’s nothing wrong with any girl.
Ultimately, I’m super excited to see Taylor’s evolution; she’s the idol to many young girls and if she continues down this path, she’ll become an intensely good role model.