I decided that I talk shit enough about Taylor Swift and that’s unfair as I have legitimately only heard 4 of her songs, 2 of which are on the Hunger Games soundtrack.
So here I am, listening to 2008’s Fearless and doing my best to give her a really honest shot.
Here’s the thing, girl’s got pipes. She can sing, and I appreciate that she wrote these lyrics at an age when I was caught up on rhyming “love” with “above.” I give credit where credit is due. Additionally, if I were 15 or 16, or even 19 going through my first big break up, I would have eaten this ish up with a spoon double scooped in my Ben & Jerry’s. Plus she’s 5’11” and wears heals, so I have to give credit to tall ladies who are unafraid to be taller than their friends and peers.
However (I bet you saw this coming)…
There is SO MUCH GIRL HATE in this album. It’s all “She’s a slut!” “She stole my man!” “Girls are supposed to fight all the time!” This is not Swift’s fault, it’s a huge theme in our culture. To keep women constantly at odds with each other is a hugely powerful tool of patriarchy. It is not a mans fault that he leaves us, it is the woman who “stole” this being who is entirely controlled by his loins and incapable of thoughts on his own. There are plenty of boy-worship songs, but not a single lyric about a girl that isn’t indicting that girl as someone to be at odds against.
Katy Perry? Not one damn instance of girl-hate.
But I can’t say I have done a truly thorough sampling of ladies in pop. I am about to get my hands on some Rhiannon and try to see if she’s got a lot of culturally induced lady hate or not.
These messages are hugely damaging. If we are raised to constantly see our fellow ladies as threats to the all-important trophy of being a girlfriend than we will never truly be able to join together (with the men folk as well) to destroy these completely arbitrary depictions and expectations put on us by the patriarchy and the strict gender division it calls for.
Men are not a prize, neither are women, and we can actually all get along, Taylor.
Girl is damn catchy, though. “Oh can’t you seeeeeeeeeeeeeee…” … fuck.