The BACKWORDS blog is taking a foray into social and pop culture this week, towing the line between music and feminism.
Taylor Swift is undeniably everywhere you turn these days. With the mega-success of her latest album 1989, Swift continues to dominate whatever music market she entertains, whether that is country, pop, or a fusion of the two. In September, Rolling Stone did an in-depth interview with the artist and boldly started with, “She’s left country behind, sworn off dating and built a fortress around her heart.” Lack of oxford comma aside, interviewer Josh Eells paints Swift as the friend you would love to have as opposed to the ex you would fear, which is more often than not synonymous with Swift. She is quoted in the article as saying, “When your number-one priority is getting a boyfriend, you're more inclined to see a beautiful girl and think, 'Oh, she's gonna get that hot guy I wish I was dating,' […] But when you're not boyfriend-shopping, you're able to step back and see other girls who are killing it and think, 'God, I want to be around her.'"
Swift has evolved lyrically from a place of almost anticipated hurt into a place of comfort and excitement. She is taking solace and finding peace in friendship in ways she had not before. Finding like-minded individuals to support her, and not just decipher lifetime (in)compatibilities. In Rolling Stone, she discusses her close friends such as pop star Selena Gomez, supermodel Karlie Kloss, and Girls creator and white feminist bastion Lena Dunham. Swift is growing up publically and doing it with style.
Swift was once touted on Autostraddle in 2010 as a “feminist’s nightmare.” In just a few years, it seems almost all news outlets are reveling in her reformation. Swift has also been vocal about the Emma Watson UN speech. In doing so, she not only uses her clout to keep these topics fresh and on the table, but also extends the argument rather than tearing others down. You don’t have to like Taylor Swift or her music to appreciate the goodwill energy she brings to the entertainment industry. In a sea of personas, Swift eponymously stands out as the woman putting her best foot forward and as much of herself as possible to the public eye, while simultaneously maintaining levels of her personal self. As an introvert, I understand why she thinks that not everything needs to be documented, shared, or discussed in your everyday life, which social media constantly prompts.
In another interview Swift told UK’s The Guardian:
As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all. Becoming friends with Lena – without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for – has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so.”
She also goes on to say, “I really resent the idea that if a woman writes about her feelings, she has too many feelings, […] And I really resent the ‘Be careful, buddy, she’s going to write a song about you’ angle, because it trivialises what I do. It makes it seem like creating art is something you do as a cheap weapon rather than an artistic process.” Swift has emerged with the 80s pop inspired album 1989 stronger as a feminist, a friend, and an artist.
My top five picks off 1989 (deluxe edition) would be in order: Style, Out of the Woods, Wonderland, New Romantics, and Blank Space.
Since Swift has the resources and is a firm believer of protecting her art, buy her album here on iTunes or listen to a slowed down cover by artist Slow No Wake of her hit single Shake it Off here on the BACKWORDS blog Soundcloud.
Note: The first photo I used is from this Wonderland article. The rest of the polaroids were collectibles included in the deluxe Target edition of Swift's new album I found via Google.