Taylor Swift is an American singer and has become a household name who has dominated the music industry since her debut album ‘Taylor Swift’ in 2006. Over the years, she has developed a large international fanbase of ‘Swifties’ who view her as an icon for feminism. Even people who aren’t daily listeners of Swift can affirm that certain songs as well as interviews have helped to raise awareness for women regarding break-ups, body image and ‘power-moves’.
In 2017, Taylor Swift took the world by storm, doing a social media blackout by deleting all of her posts, unfollowing everyone, and removing her profile icons. Swift then proceeded to post a three-part video of a snake, announcing her new album ‘Reputation’. The image of a snake was important to this era in taking back her brand; the snake also referenced a snide comment that was made by another celebrity. It’s crucial to notice how Swift dealt with the negativity of this comment by turning it into something that made her stronger. In ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ Taylor Swift references her comeback as being revenge as she “rose up from the dead, I do it all the time” showing how despite all the hate that was sent her way during the ‘#TaylorSwiftIsOverParty’ craze, she is able to pull herself up from a difficult time and face the world again, in making more powerful decisions and inspiring her fans to do the same. Similarly, in ‘Willow’ from her album ‘Evermore’ she says that she “comes back stronger than a 90s trend” which reiterates my previous point, showing that no matter what has happened, Swift always makes a comeback in a way no one would expect. In ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ Swift makes it clear that she will not let anyone stand in her way, and will not let drama in her past define her. Instead, Swift uses things that have been said about her to fuel her. Another example of Swift using insults to fuel her is ‘Karyn’ from her Stadium Tours, a 63-foot inflatable Snake who made appearances during ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ performances, linking back to the insult from another celebrity to Swift. I’m sure that many of us are in agreement that this is one of Swift’s most iconic moves!
However, a more heartbreaking show of strength from Swift's Rep era, shown in Miss Americana, happened when Taylor Swift received a call and was told that she hadn’t received any Grammy nominations in the ‘big categories of album, record, song…’ for ‘Reputation’, an album she had put all her energy into making successful. Instead of “screaming, crying perfect storms” Swift took a very mature approach to the information with tears in her eyes and simply said “I just need to make a better record…I’m making a better record” although Reputation was a superlative record and one of the most defining ones of her career. This mature reaction is something that is seen as admirable by her fans and audience- even those who aren’t fans of Taylor Swift have left comments on the Youtube Clip of this moment talking about how sophisticated this response was.
In Swift's seventh studio album ‘Lover’, Swift is purely and unapologetically herself. In the song ‘You Need To Calm Down’ Swift delivers her lyrics with confidence and challenges all the haters, bullies and people who like to start drama. Swift also switches up her pronouns from herself to being inclusive from ‘I’ to ‘we’, ‘her’, ‘his’ and ‘our’ with the intent that all of her fans can relate to the song. Swift specifically zooms in on people who are homophobic because “Shade never made anybody less gay” and many fans have said that this line has been influential in coming out and changing peoples attitudes. Taylor Swift's open inclusiveness of all people through her musical and social platforms is something which I think is beautiful, as it sends a message to everyone that it is okay to be who you are, and encourages a more open discussion around things which aren’t talked about enough.
Another song from ‘Lover’ which does this is ‘ME!’ with Brenden Urie in which Swift dictates that “I’m the only one of me, and baby that's the fun of me” which highlights how every individual is perfect, and how no one should try to be anything but themselves. In this line Swift highlights the importance of individuality, and how ‘the fun of me’ is being accepted for who you are.
In ‘The Man’ also from ‘Lover’, Swift draws attention to a current topic of misogyny and how men are seen as better than women. This catchy, up-beat song is single-handedly one of her best as it raves with passion about the importance of feminism. In this song, Swift discusses how there are a lot of things she would be able to do if “I was the man” and how society wouldn’t “shake their heads and question how much of this I deserve” which is a very potent example of how the patriarchy criticizes powerful women. Similarly, in ‘All Too Well (10 minute version)’ Swift confidently sings “Fuck the patriarchy” and empowers women to do what they want to do without fear of criticism from men.
To conclude, Taylor Swift inspires her fans to live their best life through her songs. The songs aforementioned are songs held close to each of her fans’ hearts as well as her own, and teach valuable life lessons on how to live without fear. Swifies can be ‘Fearless’ about what has happened and what is to come due to the empowering work of Taylor Swift.
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