You’re not feministing correctly!

Following the ruling that pop artist Kesha Rose could not leave her contract with Dr. Luke after her accusations towards him of sexual assault, the internet went a little crazy sparking the hashtag #FreeKesha. Across social media there was outcry and an immediate dialogue was opened regarding the matter, the fact that this was causing a discussion surrounding sexual violence itself is a pretty good thing. 

However, with this came social media users querying where any form of solidarity or discussion was from Kesha’s peers; other pop artists. Not just any artists, but female artists.

Suddenly twitter became a-blaze with people asking where Lady Gaga’s feminist views were now when it really mattered. Or why America’s sweetheart Taylor Swift had yet to make a comment. Almost every high profile celebrity had come under fire for not speaking up for Kesha. Initially, this was kind of great thing. High profile celebrities have a huge voice in society and the more they condemn this ruling and the entire stigma surrounding sexual violence the more educated their fans can hopefully become.

taylor swift kesha

This however, just felt more like witch-hunting. Where was the call for male celebrities to stand united with Kesha? People like Jay-Z, Coldplay, Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber have just as big a fan-base to make an influence with their comments. Especially in an industry that clearly favours men over women, could they not have had even more power if they made comment? Celebrities, predominantly female, did eventually step forward and proclaim their solidarity with Kesha, with one notable exception of Taylor Swift.

Swift did however make a donation to Kesha of $250,000 following the news that legal bills had put Kesha in some financial troubles. This led to quite a stir with fellow pop star Demi Lovato who decided that this wasn’t ‘good enough’ and that money doesn’t solve everything and made this abundantly clear on her Instagram and Twitter accounts. The media took this and ran with it and Taylor vs Demi was massive news for a good few days.

This caused a big problem. Although feminism has now finally reached the masses and has become rather mainstream, we see here that now instead of being the most popular or getting the most likes on Instagram, celebrities also have to be the most feminist. Celebrities were being judged for how they contributed, exactly what they said, or how they said it with regards to social and feminist issues. Whereas male celebrities were nowhere to be seen or heard.

It is great that Demi Lovato is so passionately vocal about this issue and feminism in general. It is also great that Taylor Swift donated money to Kesha’s cause and that she perhaps did this without speaking out to make sure the spotlight was not directed at her during this important time.

The entire debacle that ensued completely took away from the issue at hand. Whilst everyone was deciding which celebrity has been the most feminist or the more supportive friend, people like Chris Brown are still releasing music. It is great that celebrities are becoming more and more aware and vocal regarding feminism, but society should not condemn female artists for not speaking about every single social issue.

This is not a competition. This is a real person who is suffering. We need to instead collectively condemn Dr. Luke and the entire system that is currently in place which seems to value money above women’s lives.

 

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Taylor Swift’s Evolution

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.

blank space crying

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.