Why Taylor Swift Offends Little Monsters, Feminists, and Weirdos

Ed.Note July 2012: This post was composed in February of 2010 in response to The Grammys during a time when I was a serious Lady Gaga fanatic. I remain a Gaga fan but am honestly kinda embarrassed by the unbridled Gaga fanaticism expressed in this post. In lieu of retro-editing the post, I encourage you to see the few statements about Gaga contained herein in the context of that time and not let those statements distract you from the rest of the post. Obviously Taylor Swift herself has changed since then and will continue to, so just you know, appreciate this for the little time capsule it is.

Yesterday, looking for Daily Fix links, I came upon an MTV news piece by James Montgomery titled “Why You Shouldn’t Hate On Taylor Swift.” Fair enough — the hype cycle moves quickly these days and now is probably the opportune moment for someone to step up and captain the “backlash-to-the-backlash” train. But his argument is so off point I wondered if he’d picked this topic or if the unprovable thesis had been assigned to him. Because it’s a difficult point to prove.

For starters, no one has been “hating on Taylor” — as I understand it, they’ve been hating on Taylor Swift the Product and, as of late, her accumulation of Important Awards. See, there’s nothing to hate about Taylor Swift the human. She’s nice and honest, she’s pumped much-needed cash into the music industry, she looks cute in glasses and she’s friends with Our Heroine Ellen DeGeneres.

There wasn’t even anything to “hate” about Taylor Swift’s twangy addictive pop/country music until she snagged Album of the Year, thus transitioning her from “harmlessly popular teenage pop fad” into the (relatively) Legendary-for-artistic-merit context associated with prior winners like John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Lauryn Hill, U2, Outkast and Eric Clapton.

Furthermore, relative to the oft-criticized oversexed young ladies of pop music, the Great Proverbial Mothers of America agree that they’d like their babies to grow up to be cowgirls, as long as that cowgirl is as effortlessly adorable and endearingly successful as Taylor Swift. And well; from a distance, that idea seemed fine to me too. If you’re one of those mothers who insist on conservative role models who compose girl-bashing boy-crazy rain-soaked anthems and you value a starlette’s “purity” over intelligence or even raw singing talent, then fine; better Taylor than Bristol Palin or G-d forbid, her mother. More on that in a minute.

The article claims this “hating” on Taylor is another nasty result of the internet’s “secure blanket of anonymity” — that people hate on Taylor because they can. That’s silly, ’cause the “hating” he describes comes from identified Facebook users and identified journalists. So, moving on.

His other primary theory for why everyone “suddenly” is “hating” on Taylor is that post-#kanyeshrug, Taylor earned “bona fide mainstream celebrity” status which made her vulnerable to corresponding widespread attack and criticism. That’s untrue as well: most of these so-called “haters” either never liked Taylor or didn’t know of her ’til she won the award that their favorite musician lost. They’re not “hating” on Taylor simply because generalized “celebrity-hating” is a sport.

Where do my negative feelings towards her fit in? I didn’t know much about her ’til the VMAs, when right after learning who That Girl was, she beat Kelly Clarkson, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga for “video of the year” and I yelled [a bit drunk, I admit] “WHAT THE FUCK? GAGA? BEYONCE? ANYONE?” at the teevee, and, as if on cue, Hennessey-shitfaced Kanye popped up on stage to speak my mind and consequently kill his reputation.

Unsurprisingly 75% of the commenters on the MTV piece disagree with Montgomery’s case on all counts, particularly his dismissive “So what if Taylor had an off performance?,” since Taylor always has an off performance. In fact, MTV found the dueling commentary on the article so interesting that they made an article out of the comments before I even finished writing this one.

Yes, this gigantic essay began as a comment for that MTV article. I had feelings. They were getting too long for a blog comment. I decided to take said feelings to a Daily Fix. Then I hesitated.

See, I don’t like dwelling in negativity, nor do I enjoy vilifying anyone besides politicians & Ilene Chaiken. In fact, I prefer writing to endorse redemption of popular villains, such as Tila Tequila and Jenny Schecter.

“…Her entitlement to a blatantly untrue ‘fairy tale’ narrative tastes disingenuous and cheap.”

But I can’t seem to let go of this Taylor Swift thing, and though the comparison is extreme, she irritates me much like John McCain irritated me for most of 2008… or, more accurately, how Avril Lavigne‘s faux-“punk” abstinence anthem “Don’t Tell Me” irritates me or yes, how the Twilight franchise occasionally irritates me (though I’ve seen the first movie now, and I admit it does look cool).

I’ve already shared some of my qualms with you: that I feel her win represents a sinister endorsement of mediocrity/Wonderbread, that it means Digestible beat Daring and I prefer daring, that I’m irked by her consistent inability to recognize more deserving nominees in her acceptance speeches, and that her entitlement to a blatantly untrue ‘fairy tale’ narrative tastes disingenuous and cheap.

But, even after writing that, I felt guilty for having such antagonistic feelings about Taylor Swift the Image when Taylor Swift the Person is, obviously, a good human being.

However, before I brought it up again (especially this late, as the backlash-to-the-backlash part is over and we’re now in the Valley of WhoCares, which is clearly where I “thrive”), I knew I had to do my Taylor Swift due diligence. After reading that MTV article I did it: I listened to her music, read her blog, and watched her videos.

And I finally figured it out.

Taylor Swift is a feminist’s nightmare.

Taylor Swift’s Favorite Storyline

The rush to exalt Swift is (I believe) a desperate attempt to infuse our allegedly apocalypse-bound country with a palatable conservative ideology in the form of a complacent, repressed feminine ideal. It’s working ’cause Swift writes good songs and America is terrified that its children have been scarred by Britney Spears’s psychotic vagina and Miley Cyrus’s obnoxious adolescence.

“The Grammy voters chose someone who, according to her lyrics, has spent her entire life waiting for phone calls and dreaming about horses and sunsets.”

Rather than choosing an established/evolved talent (Beyoncé) or a fresh potential revolutionary (Lady Gaga), the Grammys chose someone who, according to her lyrics, has spent her entire life waiting for phone calls and dreaming about horses and sunsets.

Though the debate over her performance skills is a well-beaten horse at this point, her unequivocal worthiness as a role model for girls has been accepted complacently; at least within my limited purview.

Listen up; if I ever get my life together enough to reproduce other life forms, they will not be joining Taylor Nation — they will be brave, creative, inventive, envelope-pushing little monsters who will find a pretty, skinny white blonde girl in a white peasant shirt strolling through nature-themed screensaver-esque fantasylands singing about how “when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe themnot only sappy, but also insulting to their inevitable brilliance.

I don’t want my unborn grandchildren to listen to the story of how Taylor Swift won a Grammy she hadn’t earned. I want them to set pianos on fire.

1. Age is Just a Number

First, let’s address the age issue; as Swift is often celebrated as some kind of child prodigy. Twenty isn’t young and her talent, while exceptional, is not unheard of. Grammys have gone to Adele (21), Christina Aguilera (20 in ’00), LeAnn Rimes (16 in ’97), Mariah Carey (21 in ’90) and Alicia Keys (20 in ’02), among others. Until there’s evidence Swift can sing live, she’s not uniquely qualified as a musician.

Why does Swift seem, at 20, a decade younger than Lady Gaga? ‘Cause Swift’s package is “Purity Sue Ingenue”:  eternally childlike, obedient and one-dimensional. Mothers love this package, and teenage girls are hypnotized by her simple songs and pretty hair and propensity for crying on her instruments.

Listen up! When Beyoncè was Swift’s age, she was onstage with Destiny’s Child, proclaiming: “The house I live in / I’ve bought it / The car I’m driving / I’ve bought it / All the women who are independent / Throw your hands up at me!”

It goes without saying — because, of course, no one wants to say it — that Swift was able to succeed so early ’cause her family was both supportive & wealthy enough to enable her ambitions. Swift had dreams, she chased ’em, and she got ’em; all before puberty! That’s not a Cinderella story, that’s more or less the most awesome childhood of all time.

“Why does Swift seem, at 20, a decade younger than 23-year-old Lady Gaga? ‘Cause Taylor is the ingenue: eternally childlike, obedient and one-dimensional.”

So let’s stop judging her work on children’s terms and excusing that giggly self-absorption as a folly of youth. It’s annoying.

Never was this bunnyrabbitchild persona more exploited than it was after the VMAs. If Kanye had snatched that mike from Lady Gaga, she would’ve snatched it right back, called Kanye an asshole (he is), admitted he was right (he was), and the whole thing would’ve been done and DONE. She certainly wouldn’t have needed — or wanted — the entire country’s fawning faux-sympathy for months afterward.

Taylor had another chance at the VMA’s end to prove her maturity by thanking and honoring Beyoncé for calling her back up to speak. But no, she was just like, “A’ight my turn!”

Role models aren’t suspended children, trapped by projections and unable to grow until affirmed by an idealized male partner. Role models grow and change and challenge themselves and are rewarded for exceptionalism, not potential. Independently.

2. Yes, she writes her own songs (sorta). And it Shows.

Swift’s songwriting is as thematically ambitious as a 15-year-old’s LiveJournal, which is to say, like a 15-year-old’s LiveJournal, it never strives for thematic weight or challenges ideas not already covered by Sweet Valley High or The Children’s Illustrated Bible.

If Swift’s work connects with teenage girls, it does so on the most simplistic, reductive territory of all: pining for boys, walking in the rain, kissing in the rain, crying drops of tears on her guitar, driving in trucks with cool boys, wanting boys she can’t have, more rain, more letter-writing, more stalking, more broken hearts, breathing problems as a side-effect of broken hearts, fairytale princess this, white horse that, more pining at the window, more psuedo-stalking, more incomplete hearts yearning for your touch, and one song that misinterprets Shakespeare and The Scarlet Letter so criminally I’m certain she’s never read either.

Swift simply hasn’t had the life experience and doesn’t inherently possess the emotional maturity to create great art. Which is fine — most young pop stars don’t, which is why they don’t win Grammys.

We’ve decided to break this down for you with a special Autostraddle infographic:

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Not only are her songwriting choices almost mind-numbingly safe, but she also covers territory so familiar, it’s almost a carbon-copy of someone else’s song!

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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2945 articles for us.


  1. i was literally just thinking about how anti-feminist taylor swift was when i randomly stumbled across this article from another link. you summed up and expanded on my exact thought. thanks so much for this in-depth analysis.

  2. I’m a 14-year-old girl and I don’t find Taylor’s lyrics ‘relatable’, I find them overly saccharine and cliché. Boys don’t consume my life and girls who wear short skirts or join the cheer squad aren’t sluts. if I lived in the Swiftiverse, my everyday life would be viewed as an extreme oddity and I would have to undergo extreme analysis simply because boys are not on my mind 24/7.

  3. I dont have much to say. You said it all. I agree so much with you it hurts. Thank you for writing this. Thank you, thank you, thank you. somebody gets it. please write more now that her new album is coming out, i’d love to hear your thoughts. brilliant!

  4. I’m a little late to way in here, but I found this article by accident and it made me sad. I’ve admired Taylor Swift since the beginning of her career. If the worst that can be said about her is that she doesn’t have a strong live singing voice, all I can say is that at least she has the courage to sing live without going the lip sync route. In our generation, anyone who has an acting career can venture into music, and have their voices engineered to sound decent enough to lay twelve tracks and stick a cd on the shelves. This happens shortly before they release their own perfume and their clothing line. What has set Taylor apart, for me, is that she bears her heart like she’s letting you read her diary.

    I’m in my mid-twenties, and well aware of how disappointing love and the baggage that comes with it can be, but when I was Taylor’s age, I was still naive and innocent and dreamed of my prince charming. How then could I fault her for still dwelling in the endless possibilities that come before the jaded reality of adulthood? I envy her for being able to see the world through the eyes of a dreamer, because with each passing year, I feel the dreamer inside me fighting harder and harder to have a voice in my thoughts. I think the real tragedy isn’t that Taylor is as successful as she is, but that we aren’t more appreciative (whether we listen to her music or not) to see something innocent and sweet. Sure it’s cheesy, but that’s what I love… when I’m feeling too old, too grown up, too bitter about relationships, I can jump in my car and blast her music and sing like I’m a teenager again.

    The content that saddened me was the comment that Taylor is a feminist’s nightmare. Is Gaga a feminist? I always understood feminism to be women fighting for equality with men, as well as respect in all areas of their lives. The modern feminism that I see all too often is women who look so over-sexualized that men get hard just looking at them. These women are giving men what they’ve wanted all along (a hot near-naked female to ogle), but putting their “I’m my own woman, I’ll do as I please, I am free to show of my sexuality” stamp on it. Men can sit back and let us be feminists if they get to stare at our bodies like they wanted to all along. Obviously, I am aware that there is a lot more to the feminist movement than this, but when I look at Gaga and Beyonce (while I can appreciate their epic talent and success), I don’t think, “Hey, those gals are really helping us women earn respect for more than our looks”.

    So Taylor dresses in less than provocative wear, sings about things that are reminiscent of high school, and carries herself with an innocent, giggly girlishness that really offends some of you. So much that you took the time to write an essay about it. She stands apart from the sugar-pop that is spewing out of the Disney cast, and from the brash, overtly-sexy pop of the twenty-somethings, and you still aren’t satisfied. Find me another twenty year old who took advantage of the opportunities life handed her, and worked her ass off to get her chance (they had her signed as a songwriter in Nashville before she ever got her start singing), and takes the time to let her fans into her worlds by making videos of her adventures and posting them on youtube. All while still maintaining her belief that true love and modern day princes still exist.

    I only wish I’d achieved that much by the time I was twenty, all in the face of people who are quicker to find flaws and take jabs than they are to see simple, sweet beauty.


    • wonderful comment sassafrass.

      I have a lot of respect on taylor. Her passion, drive and integrity towards her music is just incredible. I’m not a teenager anymore but I can relate to her music. Call her cheesy all they want, but her honesty and venerability really affects me.

      I don’t know why people bash her for just being who she is. I’d rather hated for who I am than be loved by not being me. She’s really a intelligent, eloquent, nice, down-to-earth, funny and talented young lady as people say. I met her and I’m surprised on the wisdom and truth she speaks.

      When a musician can make me cry like a baby with just their lyrics, well they deserved a fucking grammy!

    • I agree with you. I don’t understand anyone who can hate her so much. Just because you don’t like happy fairytale endings doesn’t mean you should hate on one of the best role models for girls like they have a plague of some sort.

  5. Great post Sassafrass! I couldn’t agree more. I’m a 33 year-old male and enjoy listening to Taylor’s music. I’ve seen her in concert twice and she puts on a great show, and is an incredible songwriter. I also have 6 young nieces that love Taylor and I’m glad they have such a positive role model to look up to.

    Saying the author of this article is jealous pf Taylor’s success would be a dramatic understatement. It’s evident she can’t appreciate anything that others would consider mainstream.

    Congratulations and good luck, Taylor, on the new CD! I’m sure it will be a great success (I’m heading to Target tomorrow to get my 7 copies).

    ~Stay Beautiful!

  6. Thank you. I’ve never liked Taylor Swift, but until stumbling across this article I hadn’t known how to articulate my thoughts on the matter. I find her saccharine, impossibly pure persona absolutely nauseating. Endorsing a woman’s hypersexuality and promoting the idea that virginity is something mystical both come laden with implications that a woman is worth only sex.

  7. I love Taylor Swift. And yet I love, love this essay. I’m not sure hot that’s possible, but I will simply let it be. Sometimes I feel whimsical and Taylor helps articulate that feeling. And while I would love for all girls to have a more well rounded exposure to people’s ideas about growing up/sex/life in general, I can’t help but feel that as a 26 yr old woman, it’s perfectly acceptable to listen to Taylor and get lost in her songs. I’ve taken plenty of women’ studies classes, and I have written many an essay myself and at the end of the day, I can still allow myself to enjoy something candy-coated, all the while knowing that it’s not a perfect message. I’ve earned a little wide-eyed wonderment. Her songs remind me of different times in my life and help me celebrate my current life. But I also listen to Lady Gaga and Beyonce, whose music does the same thing. Perhaps Taylor is simply one side of life and it deserves to be listened to as much the side celebrated by the likes of Fiona, Alanis, or Gaga. It’s one person’s experience and many people relate to it, whether you consider it too “white bread” or not. If you know only one side of an experience, you’ll come up lacking, even if you’re listening to the “punky” version.

    One last note: plenty of Tayor’s songs are about leaving the boy who treats you like crap, and I think it’s important for girls of all ages to listen to songs like that.

  8. taylor is like the best person i know she is so awsome.i wont to meet taylor so bad its my dream to meet her.i mite not be able to buy her shirts but i love taylor swift so much she is awsome,so awsome i dont really have any words to explian iti love every song u put out.now i wont to move to nashvile tn.close to where u live.but i geus that will be a wile im only 13.in live in tx.but thats not goin to stop me from meeting u one day.please come to dallas soon.I LOVE U TAYLOR SWIFT!!!!!!!!<3

  9. I am taylor swift’s biggest fan in the whole enyire world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My name is jennifer and I absoloutly love her music. I have her album fearless in platinum edition for cristmas and this year for my birthday present i want to meet her.

  10. You’re right she is so awsom. Infact she should win every award in the univeres!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is my inspiration to be singing and doing chior!

  11. I’m sure this comment will get buried in the dirt with the other ones, but this essay read like an empowerment anthem for all that I believe in. Sometimes I get told I’m a psycho-feminist, but people need to realize that sex is not something to be afraid of. Virginal ideas perpetuate stereotypes and set feminism back.

    And this is why Gaga is my hero. This is way Gaga is the anti-Swift. I especially enjoy the line about how “punks don’t win awards, they eat them.” Because that’s predictably what Gaga’s volatile personality would do with an award.

    I actually (painfully) watched all the Swift videos you posted, and they did illustrate your point. I feel bad for the girl, because I’ll admit to being especially inclined to looking down on Christians and people who promote ideals instead of viewing them with a critical eye in general, which is wrong on my part (maybe). Again, as you said, Swift is probably a nice person. But it’s her naivete that makes winning important awards in this day and age inexcusable.

    Although, what else can I expect? Long ago I stopped watching award shows, realizing that the Gagas of my universe were never going to win, but that it was okay. And I hope others will come to this conclusion. It’s okay that they don’t win, because they weren’t meant to. Taylor Swift was created to win awards and humbly accept them without challenging the decisions that brought her to that stage, as we all know our beloved Gagas would.

  12. I listen primarily to country music and cant stand Taylor Swift. I agree with some of the things you say, but I do not think she is a “repressive” woman.

    Again, I dont like her music (probably because I actually like “real” country music and she does not sing “real” country music but is pushed upon the country crowd like one of us) but I also don’t see whats wrong with her songs overall message. When did it become backwards and repressive for a woman to not put out all the time or be a trashy?

    Isn’t the idea of a woman relegating herself to nothing more than a sexual object backwards? It is obvious by the path Miley Cyrus is going on that she is destined to be the next Lindsey Lohan. Within the next two-three years Miley Cyrus will be knocked up, in rehab, or both. Is that really progressive for women? No. Now look at what Taylor Swift is doing and ask yourself, is that really regressive? No.

  13. I appreciate the fact that you’ve put a lot of effort into this, and it’s really thorough, but fuck you! Swift is not comparable to Beyonce or Lady Gaga–everyone’s different. When I say different, I mean her music is much more sincere and much less gimmicky than the music of beyonce or Gaga. I can’t believe you’re saying that she is anti-feminist; she doesn’t resort to sexualizing herself and she can be empowered by her talent and intelligence alone. Let your kids listen to Taylor Swift–it’ll help them grow more than Gaga of Beyonce could ever make them respect themselves and understand the complexity of themselves and others

  14. I enjoyed this article immensely. I agreed with…well, everything, really, until the end. I’m not a Gaga fan, mostly because I feel she garners musical praise for her theatrics, but hey! Can’t agree on everything.

  15. I read this article and some of the stuff I can’t agree on. Taylor has begun to contradict herself. If you listen to her latest album, seems like to me she getting a little something-something on with someone. Innuendos and what not litter Speak Now. She has grown with this latest effort. I’m going have to admit it. I am a lesbian. I know about feminism. But yet I enjoy Taylor Swift music immensely. When I begin to get annoyed with her, something just pulls me back in. She’s like freakin’ cocaine. Her music is shallow, but not shallow as Ke$ha’s. She’s not the worst out there. She’s not the best. And the reason she won that Grammy was because she’s one of the artist in a while to capture a mass amount of attention. She opened up country to the masses like Shania Twain. Then she gathered a teen following. That’s a double plus in the Grammy commitee’s eyes. That does irk me though. I love deep, meaningful music, but I can’t listen to it all the time. Because I honestly, at times, feel shallow. I feel like the songs Taylor Swift writes. I feel like “You Belong With Me” and “Enchanted”. And I do replace all the boy situations with girl situations.

  16. Pingback: delayed missives » Blog Archive » Why Taylor Swift Offends Little Monsters, Feminists, and Weirdos

  17. About 1.5 years ago, I was in agreement with you about Taylor Swift; however a very unexpected and slightly embarassing source changed my mind: an E! True Hollywood Story. I had it on while exercising and since I normaly hate drivel like that I changed the channel but kept coming back to the show. Because it was unexpected. And because it made me have full respect for Ms Swift.

    You bring up other young award winners, but one thing that sets Taylor apart from some of them is that she does write her own songs. And though you refer to Beyonce as established I have to defend Taylor on the inferred counterpoint. One thing I end up taking away and enormously respecting was that she looked at music yes, an an outlet, but also as work, as something that’s a skill that requires crafting. She had been writing and performing, and she and her family had been traveling to Nashville once a month since she was 8 or 9. For her, to know what you want to do at that age, stay focused on it, take it seriously for a possible career later on, and stay with it even when she was rejected for several years just building her skills and networking-I had no idea that there was that level of sacrifice. And they play clips and you can see this girl is talented-raw, but there’s somthing special in the unedited home video footage. Later, she was signed and the major label she was signed to kept delaying her album since she was so young, so at 13-14 she left them, and signed with a guy who’d had previous success but had never run a label before and was his first artist. And THAT was HER choice. At 14. She trusted her instincts and I respect that entirely.

    And as for her song content, I think it’s far better to respect somewhat you actually has talent and puts thought and care into what they write even if the outlet isn’t groundbreaking. And I find her best lyrics seem to be little catches of phrases: “I should’ve been there in the back of your mind/I shouldn’t be asking myself why/You shouldn’t be begging for forgiveness at my feet/You should’ve said no, baby, and you might still have me” -Should’ve Said No; “When you’re fifteen and your first kiss makes your head spin ’round/But in your life you’ll do greater things than dating the boy on the football team/But I didn’t know it at fifteen”-Fifteen; “You never did give a damn thing honey but I cried, cried for you/And I know you wouldn’t have told nobody if I died, died for you”-Cold As You. I think there’s more there than she’s given credit for.

    • Ok, but the only problem with her her “drive and determination” is that every artist who is struggling to make it has those qualities. It’s what keeps them tied to their instrument, playing out in bars, having a roomful of people watching you every night. That passion is unparalleled in musicians. The Nashvillians have been grumbling about Taylor Swift for quite a while now. On the whole it is, yes, that she can’t sing and can’t hold a damned candle to other country giants who speak their words through true sincerity to hard work and virtue. To country artists who know what LIFE is – good, bad, and ugly. They embrace and sing about all aspects, making them down home and relateable. NOT like Taylor who just blocks out the negative and sings about all things happy. This only brings out frustration at an ideal perfection that just doesn’t exist.

      Everyone kept their mouth shut all this time because she brought name and money to country music.

      But the truth is people may know Taylor better than she probably knows herself. To Taylor, this may seem “Mean” and shocking, but it’s been a long time coming. The quiet frustrations have been built up over time at the lack of talent and utmost fury at the lies of her upstart.

      The truth is, her father Scott Swift, is rich. He has connections to Merrill Lynch, and is a very wealthy stockbroker. Music insiders know the story inside and out. Most kids probably know that their teenage love songs that they write in their bedrooms will never see the light of day and is just self-therapy. They just don’t have the resources. But how would you feel if your dad said your dream will come true and I will do anything to make it happen? That I will move to Nashville for you and make you a STAR?

      Apparently, he would rope Taylor into performing in front of his friends, family members, anyone available when she was younger. She grew up in a MANSION in Wyomissing Hills, PA, and later moved by request to her parents to Nashville. There, the whole family was invested in looking for talent agents to represent them. This whole “played in bars, and look! Scott Borchetta found me!” is fabricated to a great extent. Taylor was with a talent agency that once represented Britney Spears (look up Dan Dymtrow) – she once wanted to go into acting or do pop music. Dan told her to keep the Myspace and “online teenage diaries” going. But soon Scott Borchetta contacted Taylor’s dad and said he would make Taylor into a country star, but he needed some funds for his start up label. Scott Swift obliged, and exchanged emails with Borchetta that said statements like “You asked me to break both his legs, wrap him in chains and throw him in the lake. I did.”. He paid for one half of the record deal, and Taylor Swift was the first artist signed to Big Machine Records. And that was the start of the Taylor Machine. About a couple million was spent on Taylor Swift (the album), and about 5 million has gone into pushing her as a star. The return is about 900 million in Taylor Swift (product – albums, tours, side promotion) revenue.

      If Taylor Swift’s family hadn’t had the money, that drive to get herself out there might have just died with performing at local fairs at a young age. (She never had the vocal talent to attract the bigwigs at Sony.) Taylor probably would have still come out as a good person, but music would have just been her OWN self therapy that only she would ever play back. But her parents, mainly her dad, pushed her and let his little daughter’s dream come true. A lot of people don’t have that opportunity, so when they see a cute girl who says she just happened to be discovered at a bar perchance, they run away with it.

      Don’t EVER run off with the idea that Taylor somehow, must have, been signed by talent alone, that fairytale just doesn’t work in real life. Maybe fairytales work in Taylor’s songs that appeal to the imagination, but never in real life. She is as mainstream product and as lucky as they get. She fooled you once under the cover of a guitar as talent, don’t get fooled again.

      • Speaking as a musician myself (classical, not country, but the point stands), I agree with this wholeheartedly. Maybe it’s because I’m a composer, but I’m so sick of hearing how songwriting ability in people in their teens is so rare. It isn’t. Most teens who can play an instrument competently can figure out how to string together a few notes of their own invention. A lot of the band geeks in my school tried their hand at writing music. I wrote my first work of music when I was 12 – and I’m not some child prodigy, I started playing on the cello when I was 10.

        What’s rare in teenagers is the ability to make GREAT music. Most early works are unlistenable. It took me a few years, until I was about 15-16, to get to music that made sense and was stuff people other than me would be interested in hearing. Even Mozart’s childhood pieces weren’t fantastic (most of his “canon” works came from his late teens onward, by which point he had been composing for 10+ years). Taylor Swift has certainly reached the listenable/makes sense point, but she’s far from great. So there is really nothing special about her abilities, and I’m so sick of hearing that there is.

        And another thing – I agree about country music. I have never been a huge fan of the genre, but there are a few country musicians and songs I like. (Mainly Johnny Cash.) One thing that has always seemed to be the best thing about country music, at least old country, was how it really did celebrate living life to the fullest. Songs were written by people who had seen it all, or at least pretended they did. It was so raw and honest. You can’t completely blame Taylor Swift for bucking the trend; country has been moving away from honesty and rawness and toward this “family values” bullshit for at least a couple of decades. But it is obnoxious that she is the face of the genre now, when she flies in the face of so much of what used to make it great.

  18. I’m not a Taylor Swift fan in the slightest, but here’s my only case for her:

    I teach guitar lessons with local community ed, and it seems like the preteen girls I’ve taught, with few exceptions, REALLY REALLY REALLY WANT TO LEARN HOW TO PLAY TAYLOR SWIFT SONGS.

    So, if Taylor Swift is getting young girls to want to play guitar, that’s cool. And who knows, these kids might start out wanting to be T-Swift, and grow up to be Carrie Brownstein. :)

  19. I totally adored this, and it takes me sit through a whole load of writing but I was enthralled. Taylor Swift doesn’t make girls feel better, she makes them feel worse for not living up to this ideal womanhood and all the innocence we should possess. One problem I personally had growing up when I was making out with my best friend at sleepovers was that I felt wrong for not having this ideal virginal hetrosexual sexuality, I felt I should be waiting for boys to call and waiting for sex before marriage and when that didn’t all that didn’t happen I just felt plain disappointed at myself. But now I see Rihanna, Lady Gaga and the likes with their strong sense of sexuality whilst being unmarried and being sexually curiosity (Te amo was so hot) and it makes me feel proud to be a woman and to be gay, I don’t feel disappointment in my choices. I feel strong.
    So yeah that’s just my feelings about this but yeah loved it :DDDD

  20. WOW amazing lol
    I also do not Taylor bc of the stupid shit she portrays. it is all about being a virgin and just having tea with your boring ass friends. she is annoying. my ex bf used to compare me to her and crap so i got sick of it. YES! i like getting tattos, yes i love my belly piercing and yes I LOVE ANAL sex you dumb bastard!!! If a guy says they want a girl like taylor swift, they cant handle a hot girl who knows how to rock their world in bed. I love my crazy life and no i am not ashamed of it!

  21. For the most part I love this essay and everything it chooses to be. Though I do have to wonder what 15 year old’s live journal you’re on that it “never strives for thematic weight or challenges ideas not already covered by Sweet Valley High or The Children’s Illustrated Bible.” Because in my experience a 15 year olds live journal can be just about the most terrifyingly oversexed thing in the known universe. I mean have you never read fanfiction? Who do you think writes most of it?

    • Coming from a pretty sheltered teenage existence (I went to a nerdy high school where most people were not having sex, or at least not talking about it), I can tell you that a lot of my friends thought about romance and sex in Taylor-Swift-type terms. Just look at the popularity of Twilight, and that should show you that Taylor Swift’s particular regressive ideal is still incredibly common and favorable to teenage girls. If they were writing Harry/Draco slash for fanfiction.net when no one was around, they certainly wouldn’t admit it. (Eh, a few of them would, but they usually weren’t the same girls who were all CHIVALRY! AND FLOWERS! AND BOYS PAYING FOR DATES! SO ROMANTIC! and they were generally in the minority.)

      Even I struggled with it. I knew deep down that I didn’t want a relationship where a guy called all the shots, or where the guy didn’t respect me, but most boys in high school were not that enlightened, and I knew that getting a boyfriend would be a ticket to the social acceptance that as an outcast struggling with social anxiety disorder, I so desperately craved. And society was telling me that that was what I wanted. (I’m actually bisexual, but I was deeply in denial about that in high school – I didn’t actually figure it out until college. I liked being boy-crazy because it made me feel normal, so I clung to it.)

  22. I feel like by saying because Taylor Swift is pretty she couldn’t possibly understand the points she is making is proving the point that she can understand. The movies everything portrays it as being easy to be pretty, and in a lot of cases I assume it is easy. I wouldn’t know I haven’t been considered pretty by a lot of people, but the amount of anger I have seen posted by a lot of people proves she could have been easily discriminated against for well just being her, and just cause she never saw the inside of a high school doesn’t mean she was necessarily shielded from other teenagers. Middle school is just as tough as high school, if my memory serves me correctly. I had a miserable time there too I was excited to go to high school at least there it was big enough for me to be invisible. Which I tried to stay and let me tell you I still got harassed, and made fun of there too. I have a cousin the boys around her considered her very attractive but her life was still hell. I am just saying looks aren’t everything and they don’t make life better necessarily for people. On the sappy Taylor swift songs however I like them not all artists need to have some kind of deep message. If the radio only played artists with a message where would people go to just relax? Why would people ever listen to the Beatles when they first came out if a message was required? By your stance “I want to hold your hand” would never have existed, or “good vibrations” by the beach boys or “afternoon delight” by the mamas and the papas. We have sappy songs because the world has enough disappointment in it already. I think saying she offends little monsters feminists and weirdoes is a bit much. Are you telling me that all of these people have never experienced heart break before? , that they have never had promises broken by someone they trusted and cared for? That they never felt like something in the grand scheme of things that ended up being insignificant was the end of the world for them at the moment? The fifteen song is about how something might seem big now but later it won’t be that big of a deal. About first love and giving something to that one person that you love and trust only to have them betray you. Maybe you didn’t experience that at 15, but that doesn’t mean that other people at some point in their lives haven’t. I think teen girls need someone who will put it in their words. Someone who shows them that a person will understand how they feel. You might not think that is revolutionary, but I do. I think that it is a revolutionary idea to have someone speak to teenage girls with their own experiences. Like my mother did with me and I hope to do with my own kids. And so what if she chooses abstinence why is that such a bad thing? It’s her choice. I am a feminist and I feel that it’s about being who you are and being allowed to make choices without gender and society pressures ,and aren’t little monsters always talking about accepting lady gaga being different, and weirdoes even though on the outside of everything wanting whatever they choose to do to be accepted and not changed. So in short shouldn’t we just accept each other and respect the different routes we all choose to go? So what that in all of the voices telling our girl’s to be sexy and present yourself in a hot way , that there is a singer who says no ( who isn’t Disney manufactured ) I think it’s refreshing .

  23. I despise Taylor Swift, but this pretentious article generates violent tendencies in me.
    “20 is not young”. First off, are you crapping me with this? 20.Is.Not Young. Then what is it, middle-aged? I like how you compare her to numerous pop stars who were NON-songwriters, too (unless you’re still fooled that Beyonce wrote her lyrics, even TWO years since she’s been outed as a thief).

    I really, am so sick of feminists preaching that women shouldn’t “girl-bash”. Why is it so important that ALL women like each other? Funny, if that’s the case, then why does it seem current-wave feminists cannot respect a girl like Taylor Swift’s pride in her sexual modesty? When the Pussycat Dolls were singing “Dontcha wish your Girlfriend waz a Freak Like Me”, where were all the feminists to protest that “non-freak” girls were being “shamed”? Why does it not surprise me that they didn’t?

    I just cannot believe there aren’t more pressing issues in the realm of “women’s rights” than catfighting, slut-apologism, and disposable kiddie pop stars. Actually, I can believe it, since western feminism is pretty much white and upper middle class.

    I still hate Taylor Swift though. Her “artistry” is a joke. It’s a shame no one will write about how overhyped certain pop stars are, but will of course complain that they aren’t measuring up their standards of what a good feminist/leftist/bullcrapist is (it’s POP music ffs).

  24. By bashing Swift for being part of a certain category you are saying that women should avoid acting like this which is directly contradictory to your main idea that women should be able to do what ever they want.

    You should actually appreciate Taylor Swift, not because of her music, but because of her accomplishments.
    She is an example to younger girls that you can succeed. And I know you will probably say that it is because of her father and his money and that there are thousands of singers just like her, but if there are thousands like her then why isnt one of them the famous one.
    I can speak from experience because my daughter uses TS as a goal to work towards, a strong independent woman.

    You also assume that because she is pretty she had the easiest life which is not true. Beauty doesnt relieve stress and eliminate problems.

    And my last point is minor, but why do you think every little thing is about sex and abstinence?
    Abigail was sad because her hymen and virginity were lost,that wasnt what happened. When she says that Abigail gave everything to a boy and he changed his mind, she means that Abigail gave the boy her heart and he broke it.
    Dont you remember when you were 15 and a boy broke your heart, not your hymen?

  25. The article shows how little you actually know about music.

    Beyonce, original? Except for the fact that what Destiny’s Child did was simply a modern take on what dozens of girl groups did before her. Ever listen to En Vogue? Not only was the music better but so were the vocalists. As for her solo work, it sounds literally the same as every single one of her contemporaries [Ashanti, Ciara, to name a few] and has more in common with her counterparts Brandy and Aaliyah.

    Lady Gaga, original? No. Read, the obvious original: Madonna. Read, the Japanese superstar: Ayumi Hamasaki. Ready, the multigenerational legend: Kylie Minogue. Madonna pretty much reinvented the music video and pushed the boundaries when they NEEDED to be pushed, Ayumi created the model for an entire country’s pop market and got worldwide attention that no Japanese artist ever had, and Kylie Minogue has been the sound of not one but THREE generations, selling millions of records worldwide WITHOUT the Internet, and beat cancer while she was out of it. And not to mention, 30 seconds off one Taylor Swift B-side is more entertianing than the entire “Born This Way” record. Better yet, look up Fey [Mexican artist] and listen to her albums Verigo and Dulce Tentacion..come back to me..ands ee how someone on a peso budget with no name producers can lay down tracks Gaga would kill for, all without meat dresses, and she even has a legion of gays praising her too!

    Also notice, you barely defended Kelly Clarkson, which probably deserves more acclaim than either Beyonce OR Gaga because the medium she came from has produced no one else on her level. American Idol winner should have meant obscurity and mediocrity, but she charted more than once throughout the past decade, found legitimate respect as a female vocalist, and has done a lot for the media acceptance of slightly less svelte individuals. Something tells me your problem isn’t pop music, that your problem itself is wholesome pop music.

    But for that matter, let’s get to the heart of it. Only a blatant liberal would assume that Taylor Swift represents the conservative right or the traditional Christian upbringing. Why? First of all, conservative and/or church raised girls DO NOT HAVE a dozen boyfriends by age 18. They don’t get a number everyday, they don’t make out everyday, mand they don’t break up every month. Also, conservative and/or church raised girls aren’t pointed in the direction of modeling [which Taylor did for several years for ABERCROMBIE AND FITCH, etc] or pop [as they would call it] secular music about love and dating. Not only that, conservative and/or church raised girls don’t tour worldwide twice before they are 21, own several properties, or live happily WITHOUT A MAN [which you completely forget, if Taylor was truly this close minded fundie you believe she is, the first thing she would have done is find a marriage and taken a leave from music]

    On the other hand, Taylor Swift represents that the truth, that you can be successful as a woman without SEX or SCANDAL. Taylor Swift represents you can still write a good, fun pop tune and entertain people, without pandering to special interest groups [Gaga] or marrying a producer [Beyonce] There’s no politics, there’s no message, it’s just fun music, slick production values without autotune, and something that can appeal to any age group or gender [because believe it or not, there’s Taylor Swift fans who aren’t 14 year old white females]

    It seems that for all the name dropping you do [Dylan, Saving Jane, etc] that you’re not really in it for the music. You’re in for some crazy affirmation of your intelligence or liberation, something that says your choices or beliefs as a leftist are correct, or something that simply validates the stick you have up your ass. Why is Swift considered for awards? Because the panels that run these things are looking at the MUSIC, not how “sexy” she is, not how “revolutionary” she is, and not what group of people she’s trying to milk for all they are worth. You want pianos on fire, vaginas spilling out, and curse words every minute? Fine. That’s the beauty of media, there’s something for everyone, go listen to “Blood on the Dance Floor” and “Insane Clown Posse” and you’ll find just what you’re looking for. Just don’t be disappointed when your choice doesn’t go in the record books and Taylor does.

    and for all its worth, Swift with an arm tied behind her back and half asleep can outwrite Gaga any day of the week, especially if Gaga doesn’t have Redone with her. The fact that she brought in Mutt Lange for a track is pretty much proof in the pudding she can’t even write a simple soft rock piece on her own..which —ing Ashlee Simpson can do blindfolded.

  26. Putting down Taylor Swift and declaring the genius of Lady Gaga literally in one breath. Do you even know how ridiculous that sounds? Have you listened to the lyrics of “Born This Way”? Its fucking awful.

  27. haha you mad that Tranny didn’t win and Taylor did. Well let me lay it out for you. Lady Gaga song writing ability is quite terrible. So many loose ideas that never tie together. And when Gaga feeling really creative she repeats the same word or phrase over again Po po po po poker face, ale ale ale ale Alejandro, juda a a a as jua a a a as, rah rah rah. Just because Talent got her record deal off talent and not sucking akon cock doesn’t mean you should be mad at Taylor for having values. Also dressing up in silly little costume is just that it’s nothing more. What was gaga reason for the meat dress. She doesn’t even know. And don’t even get into Taylor copying other artist when that’s all Lady Gaga does. Just Dance is exactly same beat as Darin’s Girl Next Door, or Alejandro sounds like the Ace of Base Don’t turn around, or So Happy I could die sounds like Pocketful of sunshine, or Born This way sounds like Express Yourself. And then her other song just copy each other Pokerface, Bad Romance, and Judas. Too bad she has to sell her album at the dollar tree to get it to sell!

  28. Oh. I see. You would rather America’s children growing up to songs about bondage and sex (Rihanna’s S&M) or Kanye bragging about how he gets ass alot. What did your parents teach you? Just because Lady Gaga — who wears penis shaped shoes to American Idol performances and has no creative talent whatsoever, besides that her music is fun to dance to — didn’t win the awards doesn’t mean you should feel negativity towards Taylor Swift. And I don’t think gyrating all over the stage and making out with other girls like Rihanna and Britney is considered “putting on a good performance”. I would rather watch Taylor put on a decent performance before I watch stage sex. I think you should re-evaluate your morals.

  29. I don’t agree with this piece of writing but I also think its mean for all of these people to make hurtful comments to the author. There is nothing wrong with sharing your opinion, it could do with out all of the cussing and sex talk though. Its dumb for people to be at odds with each other because of small things like movie stars. We are all human, and are completely lost in sin. The only difference is, some of us have a savior. Movie stars fit into this category too. They are regular people that happen to be on tv. Please don’t judge taylor swift and try to shove your opinion on others and the rest of you, don’t judge the author of this piece and assume all of these nasty things about them. They have feelings too.

  30. This is a very interesting analysis and I love when people dissect pop culture like this. However,

    Girl Next Door = You Belong with me…?
    Born this Way = Express Yourself…?

    I remember seeing an ad in which Taylor Swift was speaking against homophobia and bullying. I mean, she’s a celebrity who sings COUNTRY music and got her start in Nashville. That’s saying a lot. To be honest, I see that as a greater push forward than Lady Gaga thrusting with homosexual Nazi figures in her “Alejandro” video and claiming it was a statement for gay rights. That video probably inspired even more hatred against the gay community, unfortunately.

  31. I loved this article. I really did. I’ve never been a fan of Swift’s sickening lyricism, but this brings my hatred to the surface. And I found the home schooled christian part hilarious. She doesn’t know what the real world’s like. She’s just stuck seeing old music videos and generalizing teenage experiences. I’m 17 and I knew years ago that a girl is more than her hymen. Can I hear a shout out to feminism??

    Well I listened to that awful ‘fifteen’ song and found this lyric:
    “In your life you’ll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team.”

    That doesn’t seem likely based on your other songs and christian brainwash.

    Thanks for the awesome article :3

  32. I’m weird and a fan of Gaga (attended monster ball) but Taylor doesn’t even offend me. Having heard the music of Gaga and Taylor, I must say I can relate to Taylor a lot. And no I’m not a teenager.

    I listen to Gaga for fun and in parties but I listen to Taylor when I can’t figure out exactly what I’m feeling. And surprisingly she has a song for it. I’ve just recently realized this. Her songs actually make me think and make me feel. And contrary to some of you, her songs aren’t about unicorns and rainbows. Is not that I’m complaining if her music is like that. Her music is real.

    I thought that being a feminist is women having a freedom to express who they want to be. And you bashing Taylor’s values and then praising Gaga’s…it doesn’t make sense at all. So what if she chooses abstinence? is that wrong? NO. I think we should respect each other and their beliefs. If the girl has a different beliefs than yours, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Good that you like sex (I mean YEY!)and all but don’t bash somebody who doesn’t feel the same way. IT ALL COMES DOWN TO RESPECT MAN.

    About that Fifteen song, to me is not about “losing virginity” it’s about Abigail gave everything in a sense that she gave her time, love, effort and trust into the relationship then suddenly the guy betrayed her and left her. Man, remember when you’re a teenager and you had your heart broken for the first time? It fucking hurts and you pretty much devastated. Come on, don’t tell me that doesn’t hurt.

    Taylor is a talented, classy, strong and independent young woman. My sister and nieces love her and that’s exactly what they told me (the description of Taylor) and they want to be like her. I mean, I’m glad to be honest.

    Oh god, thanks to your article. I reflected to some things and realized that man Taylor is awesome.
    Damn, having time to research her and all…I think I’m a Taylor fan now.

    ***** SHOUT OUT TO ALEX (post may 25, 2011) & AUQUA MARINE (post april 18, 2011)— your posts are very well written :)

  33. omg u guys taylor swift is so dum cause she doesn’t play up her sexuality. that’s liek totally not feminist and stuff. lady gaga is dah best cause she breaks brave new ground by showing cleavage and dat rools!1! grrrl power!!
    o and dat part about swift lookin 10 years younger than gaga is so truuu~ liek if she was a feminist and did a lot of blow liek lady gaga admitted to doing she would totes look older and stuff. that would make her more credible i think. and why does swift always have to seem so “nice” all the time. that’s liek so lame.
    ALSO, u r so rite about swift coming from $$. gaga is a tru talent cause she grew up in that very poor section of nyc called the “upper west side”. if you’re ever been there, you know how ghetto it is…with some of the most expensive rents in nyc. so proud of gaga rising up & out of her poor background.

  34. I laughed and fistpumped along to this article.
    Apparently people really don’t think feminism is gender equality, when, actually, that’s what it is and should be. Taylor Swift’s unending stereotypical high-school setting makes me sick to my stomach, and her framing of a girl who is “a freak” [not a slut/whore, wears glasses, etc.] pisses me off. For the record, I, and many of my female friends, don’t dress as if we’re allergic to fabric. And I’ve had glasses due to my nearsightedness and astigmatism since I was seven. Am I, or any of my girlfriends, any less pretty because of those? No.
    I don’t think it’s acceptable for young girls, already hormonal and trying to make sense of it, to view a girl portrayed as perfectly Jesus-like as a role model. Adolescence SUCKS. And you know what? Not all girls like football players, or guys who go for who’s easy, or even boys at all. I want my kids to grow up in an environment where they aren’t pressured to conform to some sort of ideal, and where they’re free of any guilt that they don’t fit the mold. I felt like I was under that pressure, and it’s impossible for me, personally- My parents are immigrants from two different countries, and it shows in how I look, how I speak, and how I treat people. I could never be a Taylor Swift, and frankly, I don’t want to be.
    But hey, I’m a Little Monster and a feminist, so maybe I’m just biased.

  35. I am going to have to disagree with you on this one. If you are able to see all of the faults and issues in the brand that is Taylor Swift, how could you, in good conscious, also praise and hold Lady Gaga above the rest of them?

    I think if you all weren’t blinded by LG’s support for the gay community, you would be able see her for all the hypocrisies she is. Oh sure, she didn’t come from an affluent background either, yno growing up on the Upper East Side! I could make a list just as long as you made about TS, but it would be discounted b/c Lady Gaga gets to do whatever she wants b/c she’s “groundbreaking and edgy” ooohhh /not

  36. I stopped reading this when you indicated you liked Twilight. How can any one take you seriously as any type of music critic when you obviously have absolutly no taste or working knowledge of quality entertainment? You can’t even tell the difference between something good and a steaming pile of crap.

  37. This, certainly made a great argument. However, after attending a concert this summer, I can confirm that Taylor can sing live. And, sure, she may seem slightly immature through her lyrics, but it really is good music. There’s no tangled up analogy about tile on the floor or the extinct dodo bird. She writes down whatever she feels, which, maybe, is what the music industry has been missing. Most music has pretty much turned into a sex based industry. From “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” to Britney Spears’ I Wanna Go. By writing innocent songs, Taylor is showing that you don’t need to write songs about sex to be successful. It’s no coincidence that Taylor is now the greatest thing since electricity. Over 20,000,000 albums. Sold out Stadiums (MSG in 59 seconds). The End.

  38. I agree with some of your opinions and thats saying a lot for someone who loves Taylor swift. Her songs ARE simple and they are catchy but i love them that way. Why? because after the complexity life brings us its always fun to just sing a taylor swift song. Lady gaga herself said taylor’s “you belong with me” is great and that she sings to it alot. To say swift’s fans are all as simple and one dimensional is untrue. I am 23 and I was sexually molested at 7, pregnant at 20, aborted the child, suffering from bipolar disorder, and I am a law student who strongly supports the rights of women.. I know swift’s songs ARE rather..meh.. but they’re catchy and they’re fun.

    Not all of her songs are about men. I did think the same til i actually checked her songs out. anyway, to blame swift for her one dimensional lyrics would be sorta wrong because.. how much can we expect from an attractive privileged caucasian girl?

    About you having safe sex at 20. Well…i did too, and I regretted it and it wasnt because of swift’s music but because I am worth a hell lot more than a guy who cheated on me for a whole year. It was after that I realized why waiting isn’t such a bad idea. If I could give sound advice to my kids it would be to wait. No, not because it would make them seem holier but because for some, it can hurt if it doesnt last. Im not saying an intact hymen is what makes me, me. Its more of me, appreciating myself over any man. Isnt female empowerment about that as well?

    Your article is well written and some of ur points have proven exactly why i have a love-hate relationship with taylor swift

  39. Pingback: Tay Tay

  40. Seriously awesome. I’m a 15 year old girl, and yet *gasp* don’t follow magazine/tv type pop culture. Sort of at all. It’s more of an out of the loop thing than a choice. However, when I do happen to peek my head out into this sort of thing, at least half of what turns me off is the constant bashing and blaming and obsession with who said or did what. But this article, aside from being really enjoyably, funnily, and well written, was intelligent. I appreciated not so much the putting down of Taylor Swift (who, personally, doesn’t even show up on my Topics Worth Talking about list. I don’t dislike her, or her songs. I have a perfectly neutral relationship with all ‘o that.) but the promotion of pushing the envelope, doing some actual thinking, of making art in an intelligent way, not a way that makes you and all your fans seem one-dimensional and one-track minded. And about being young, too: Just because and artist is young does not mean she/he should work with simplified ideas and then be boosted up because of age. Yes, you are young, but don’t just use it like an accessory or credentials; if being young is going to be important in your work DO something with it – find the issues in it and work with those. At least if you’re going to win awards. ‘Cause there are a lot more to work with than boys and popularity. And being young does not exempt you from larger issues. It just gives you another angle from which to work with them.
    Anyway, awesome.

  41. Gotta love this article, “hater” of Swift or die hard fan. I love her music, I can sing her songs (that’s not exactly a complement to her)and I have tried numerous times to copy her style. But she seems just way to concerned with virginity and true love. I refuse to listen to fifteen after the line “Abigail gave everything she had to a boy . . .” I am not even gonna finish that, doesn’t have to be finished, that line alone was just insulting. Just because I am not a virgin, it means I have nothing. Thanks for that Swift.

  42. An excellent analysis and well thought out. I stumbled across your site by accident as I was searching in vain for a Taylor Swift celebrity doll for my 12 year old daughter (eeek!!! I know). Funny thing is that I taught Women’s Studies courses for years but my daughter buys into the whole princess persona. I don’t particularly like Swift’s music (I’m not a country music person) but my daughter seems to think she is better than Lady Gaga or Nikki Manjai (sp).

    Thanks for the great essay.

  43. I actually pulled up autostraddle a few days ago to complete a paper I did on making the everyday dildo legal. Just because I do not own one, does not mean I am anti-dildo. I think states ruling against people’s rights to own them is a destruction of rights. It is sad how the female is represented today or chooses to represent themselves to become a popular pop sensation. Just letting everyone out there know, there are multiple facets to people, so writing this article (an expression and explanation of viewpoint) is not only understandable, it needs to be done. It is a lot like everyday magazine articles, but this one is much more thorough and has more depth. I mean these writers don’t only write about the same topic (over and over again). Thank you for taking the time. I found it entertaining. I have heard some of her songs before, but they have never struck a chord in a time of need with me. I suppose that might not be true to all, but hey…everyone is different. Some people are so simple, they cannot enjoy a good article when they read it and cannot take it for what it is.. they have to take it as a personal attack. Good luck autostraddle writers!! You have my support. :)

  44. I got overwhelmed with the very long list of angry comments in reply to your lovely rant/essay, and by the time I found the “Leave a Reply” box I had almost forgotten the reason I was going to comment.
    True, true, true. I have long been annoyed and suffered through my sister’s undying love for Taylor Swift, and for all the reasons you’ve so eloquently highlight in your essay. I was going to send this article to her to read over, but I cannot guarantee she wouldn’t send you a long, hateful, and overly-defensive comment. So, I’ll save you the headache and plan my own intervention.
    Sometimes I feel like I am the only one who goes on these rants about the perverted and archaic images of women promoted by pop-culture icons, so it was absolutely lovely to slip into your brain for a moment and find someone more tortured than I was!
    I love how you write. If women like you are behind it, no wonder autostraddle is such an awesome site. Keep it up!

  45. By you saying that Taylor represents the Madonna/Whore theme, you are promoting the idea that woman are just one dimensional.

    You are saying that women are thickly layered and can’t be labeled to that degree, but by you saying Taylor is a “feminist’s nightmare”, you countering your own argument.

    Taylor Swift is not a delicate flower. I think it takes a lot of discipline and hard work to get to where she has been, at the very delicate age of 22 or 23? (Just like it took Beyonce and other artists a lot of dedication and work to get to where they are). Taylor sings about love and men and heartbreak and GUESS WHAT–so do almost all female artists! Does Beyonce sing about car parts? Many of her songs–Naughty Girl, Crazy In Love, Countdown–talks about love to some degree and about how she wants to dedicate herself to her man or how crazy she is about her man, just like how Taylor sings about how she likes a boy.

    Singing about love and relationships are not demeaning to women–it defines women. And yes, there are many other subjects and parts in women’s lives besides men (independence, working hard, relationships with family members, societal issues, etc), the overwhelming majority of female artists sing about the things Taylor does, just in a different way.

    And also–you countered your own argument again when you said Taylor sings about men the same way, while other artists like Beyonce and Rihanna and Lady Gaga find a different approach. By labeling Taylor as a delicate flower petal, you are saying she is different from other artists and approaches music in a different way.

    It’s not the end of the world or independence of women or feminism if a girl has a good head on her shoulders. Society is funny: you may bash Kim Kardashian for having a sex tape and being a bimbo, but when someone like Taylor comes along with her head screwed on right and is a fabulous young classy hardworking lady, then you bash her too. You don’t have to wear a leotard or curse like a sailor to prove you a strong women. Look at Beyonce (someone who, in your eyes, is a better version of what a feminist’s idea of what a woman should be)…yes, she dances sexy and wears provocative stuff and can be labeled as more daring than Taylor, but she has said herself in interviews in magazines that she does not curse and does not really drink that much and doesn’t go out to clubs…she works hard.

    I think you need to stow away your burning bra and just relax: just because a 20 something year old girl is singing about boys does not mean the end of feminism is near.

  46. By the way, you analyzed the part in Taylor’s song “Fifteen” when she talked about her friend losing her virginity, but you also failed to mention another part of the song, when she writes:

    “In your life you’ll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team.”

    That is a feminist statement: it’s saying that women have greater potential than just putting all of their claim to greatness on a man, and Taylor has lived out that statement in her real life: she is a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter who is living her dreams.

    I think a lot of older women who maybe made a lot of mistakes in their younger years or got really burnt badly by a guy got an idea into their minds that they needed to be tougher, and being tougher meant having an attitude or cursing or going out and going crazy and dressing sexy. If you want to do that stuff, that’s your prerogative. I’m not judging, to each his own. But again, being a strong young woman is not based on all that, and it’s sad that people who call themselves feminist spend so much time bashing someone who has done so well for herself and is teaching girls to have a little class.

  47. And girls who maybe had a tough childhood or got burnt by a guy or who turned really coldhearted and tough I think are secretly jealous of girls like Taylor. It’s not her fault; girls who have their heads on right don’t need to take shit from girls who are still mean and have all this resentment about their lives.

    Not trying to be mean but if you wanna put down classy young girls everywhere, then we will fight back. We only look like delicate flowers, but when we need to fight back, we will :)

  48. If you got an issue with the Grammys, take it up with the Grammys. Most of your argument seems to be more about how Swift didn’t deserve it – that’s kind of out of her power.

    And I understand that the article is an explanation for why she shouldn’t have received the award, but for me it doesn’t really come together. You conclude that the Grammy committee must have selected Swift because of the unrealistic, juvenile ideals she expresses. But, as you yourself pointed out, the Grammys aren’t really the type to fuck around when it comes to “Album of the Year.” Bob Dylan, Outkast, U2, Norah Jones – they don’t have a history of pandering to cheap images and corporate sellouts.

    Since I don’t personally know anyone on the board, I can only assume that the committee in charge of the Grammys thinks of “Album of the Year” as a distinct opportunity to draw attention to a particular record, for one reason or another. And we know that reason is never quite the same, because of the range of people who have received it.

    Maybe the Grammys saw Fearless as a unique instance in which major label teen pop found a lyrical message other than sexual promiscuity. Who knows? But in any case they got millions of people to think about why Fearless should and should not be the album of the year. Any of the nominees that year would have its fair share of supporters and critics.

  49. I thoroughly enjoyed this article. You clearly have SwiftNation frothing at the mouth, inciting terrible person criticisms because you dared to say something less than positive about the fragile woodland fairy creature that is Taylor Swift. Screw them. Anyone who says that the topic of Taylor Swift is not an “important issue” are idiots. The issue of having role models in our culture for young girls that are intelligent, dynamic and independent (or not Taylor Swift) is VERY important. So thank you for saying what you said.

  50. Allow me to correct that sentence before some hack predictably uses it to debase the validity of my entire comment… “Anyone who says that the topic of Taylor Swift is not an “important issue” is an idiot.”

  51. Is not Lady Gaga’s whole schtick to be sex-provocative for the sake of sexual provocation? Her message is to shock mainstream America, but to shock them into thinking about… what? Sex? We already think about sex — just not about sex with Lady Gaga.

  52. This is the most uneducated article as well as not being well thought out that I have read in a long time. The different points in the article are stupid and can’t be backed up by legitimate arguments. To start off with, there are no guarantees in the music business, and when a musician is given an award, it’s not something that is just given up. To say that Lady Gaga would have given up something that big when it would only help her career is just a lie.
    Secondly, to say that her songs are simple because of the lyrics is also way off the mark. For example, the Beach Boys, who are considered to be the greatest band that the United States produced wrote a lot of songs that talked mainly of cars, girls, and surfing. Based off of your article, the beach boys were a very mediocre band as well.
    Thirdly, a lot of girls are bullied in high school because of being the same type of outcast that she portrays in her videos. Her music isn’t meant to be dark like others, and is geared toward younger girls, which makes it a suitable choice to just have the glasses as well as the t-shirt.
    Fourthly, real musicians don’t just write music just because it will sell. They write it for themselves, and it’s real for them. Just because the lyrics don’t fit your standards doesn’t mean that it’s stupid. It fits what she thinks and believes in, which makes it good music.
    And about her not proving to be able to perform live, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys who is perhaps the greatest musical genius this side of Beethoven, was not able to perform live because of the stress. So he quit only a little while into starting into his career. And I have been to many conerts, including: The Beach Boys, the Brian Wilson Band, Styx, Journey, Foreigner, and Night Ranger, and none of them came close to being able to portray as much emotion into their singing as Swift. She wrote something that means something to her, and while she is singing you can really tell she is reliving whatever it is that she is singing about. This was such a bullshit article, and it made me so disgusted that I don’t think I will ever read another one of your articles because of the lack of research or thought.

  53. I don’t think I’ve ever read a more contradictory, unintelligent, and judgmental article. I myself am a proud feminist, and Taylor Swift is a person i consider to be an idol for young women everywhere. Contrary to your close-minded beliefs, she doesn’t just sing about men, she sings about things that people around her age, herself included, and anyone in general has feelings about. Love, anger, friendship, independence, growing up, being unsure, a lack of self confidence are all included in her wide spectrum of songs. As for her “apparent lack of intelligence”, if you would actually take the time to look at her achievements instead of making snap judgements unnecessarily, then you would realize just how talented, ethical, and intelligent she really is. She can write lyrics on her own, she can give a great interview to anyone, and she’s socially conscious of all decisions she makes. How dare you accuse her of being anti-feminist? You are one of the most hypocritical and sexist people based upon this forum. By attacking Swift for repetitive song themes and being too free, your holding a double standard to men and women everywhere. Singers such as Eminem, Kid Rock, and Akon just to name a few have many repetitive themes; sex,money, drugs, disrespect for women, and a general idea of imperialism are all included. So by saying Taylor Swift is anti-feminist and a bad role model in a sense, your holding the age-old double standard for men and women; your absolutely reinforcing the idea of everything for women has to be a double edged sword. As for your comments about any future children not looking up to Swift, why? Honestly, why? Would you rather they look up to a socially responsible, truthful, and overall lovely person, or would you rather they grow up with the idea that the only way they’re going to be successful in life is by sexualizing themselves, just as Rihanna and Beyonce do, every day? The only real problem that you may have with swift is that she is indeed a strong women, and based on this article, you apparently cannot handle that. Get out of the dark ages and realize that being a lovely, wonderful, honest, and respectful woman does not make you a bad role model, and stop trying to color people’s views of her due to a lack of either moral beliefs or intelligence.

    • ^ See that right their shows you aren’t really a true feminist Jill. If anything feminism teaches women not idolize anyone or any form of ideology. I think Taylor Swift is a flawed human being who needs someone to tell her that she has no idea what type of ideology she spews in her songs. Her slut shaming propaganda in her music just makes me shake my head at her and wonder how her fans young, impressionable fans take that to heart.

      Also I think girls who insult other girls by calling them slut, whore and the like to be even more degrading and puts us back in evolution. No wonder men still think us women can’t truly rule the world because of our vindicative, catty emotions.

  54. Thank you so much for writing this article because it points out exactly what I’ve wanted to say.
    On tumblr, there’s a little satire post running around that makes fun of her song “Fifteen” and a few people have blown it way out of proportion and started claiming that the entire feminist movement is against girls not having sex. Which is, obviously, not true. And then there’s the argument that she doesn’t know what she’s saying, which is honestly even scarier because if you don’t realize that you’re slut-shaming, and think that it’s totally okay, you probably should be told so.

    Basically, I agree with everything.

  55. One tiny, very small point about the article at hand…

    Lady Gaga and Beyoncé did not need to be brought in by comparison. They can coexist with Taylor Swift, even if one wins awards over the other. People can enjoy music about relationships and feeling upset just as much as independence and being unique (I know I do). When I listen to music, I honestly am not looking so deep for self expression. I mean, obviously I’m not just listening to something just for a catchy beat, but I do not look so deep into music to find “virgin motifs”, etc.

    Also- about your point on Alison, her virginity, and the song Fifteen.

    I think what Taylor Swift was suggesting here, instead of being about breaking a hymen or simply loosing your virginity, is that she gave the fullest symbol of her love- full unity and compassion- to someone who obviously didn’t return it. I know how it feels- lots of people do, and it hurts. Sex, and more importantly, virginity aren’t throwaway matters. It doesn’t mean that “All Alison had was a hymen”. They’re very important, to be honest, and big events in one’s lifetime.

    But I really did like the article- a lot. It was extremely well written, very, very much so (unlike this comment, as I am about to pass out from exhaustion!). I also really liked how you differentiated your dislike for Taylor Swift’s music, and her personality.

    Also- I have seen her live, and I thought she was pretty good, but everything I see else where seems to disagree? Maybe I was just happy to be at a concert instead of actually listening to her voice.

  56. I think you have a lot of great points here, but I have a problem with the claim that Lady Gaga is the idol to which we should compare Taylor Swift to prove her inadequacy. Lady Gaga is seen as a “visionary” in the music industry because she is different. But she’s full of mixed messages and even lies (plastic surgery debacle, anyone?) And either you believe she’s a pathological liar, or you believe she spent three days in an egg. Either way, this woman is not who I want my daughters to aspire to be like. If T-Swift blindly follows a wrung-out idea of what women should be, Lady Gaga questions what women should be. But what do her answers mean, and are they positive? She’s also guilty of worn out ideas (just dance, anyone?) and she may dress like a person on a lot of drugs, her upbringing was comfortable and she was no more a freak than Taylor- she went to the same prep school as the Hiltons, for pete’s sake. The message she sends to her fans=it’s ok to be a freak, if you’ve got the cash to foot the bill. God forbid my future daughter idolize either of these women blindly.

  57. Just another cynical.

    You say that Taylor is not the great thing about having just 20, please, is the youngest person to win an album of the year. This will have good experience but Beyonce sasha fierce abum just received a punctuation of 62 on Metacritic nothing compared to the 73 of Taylor, so the album was much better not tell me what the critics say many music magazines.

    Obviously there will always be in the cynical world, and spend so much to write Taylor, if you must hate her.
    get a life

  58. I wonder why you mention Beyonce in your list of pro-women artists. I don’t agree with that at all. She is pro-women in the way that P!nk (who you also mention) is pro-women. “Stupid Girls” illustrates a definite hostility towards the ‘ditzy, self-unaware’ and ultimately STUPID girls who “use their bodies” to get attention from guys. I mean just look at the video. Look at the way the girl (P!nk) who “respects” herself dresses. Apparently confidence and a healthy self-esteem come from fashioning the librarian-chic look.
    A lot of Beyonce’s songs feature a traditional idea of how women should behave; for example, the lyrics in “Me, myself, and I”; girl group Destiny’s Child’s “Cater to you.” (Though, that song is sweet, there is nothing wrong with showing your partner love.) It’s just the video on YouTube has hundreds of comments ranging anywhere from “See, this is how it should be”, “Women need to realize that this is what men like. We like to be taken care of, too. Womens’ lib really messed things up” to nauseating comments from girls reading, “I’m not feminist, but I don’t believe that women need to be doing these things ALL the time”. (Ridiculous, the amount of shame and repulsion this word has been reduced to.) With regard to pop–Cyndi Lauper, Gaga (Blonde high-heeled feminist enlisting femmes for this. Express your woman-kind. Fight for your right!!), Madonna—THESE are the artists that encompass and welcome EVERY facet of feminism, which is what your article claims P!nk and Beyonce also embrace, and, as I mentioned, that couldn’t be further from the truth. They DO slut-shame, ridicule, and ultimately end up purporting the myth that women can only “respect” themselves if they “respect” their temples, er, bodies. For these women, intellect/self-esteem and sexual discipline are directly correlated. Think “I’m not like all those other girls”. Or in P!nk’s case: “I don’t want to be a stupid girl.”
    Just wanted to point that out.

  59. “And not all artists grow up with a troubled life. Some do grow up in wealthy or comfortable homes.” – some dude named Steve on here

    Yeah….like Gaga, who’s as equally manufactured as Taylor. Taylor’s teenage view of being the “princess” who wants the boy isn’t anything new. I agree, it’s tiring and women should uplift themselves without the need of a man, but using Gaga & Beyonce as counterpoints makes me laugh. These new mainstream pop stars including Gaga have no real depth. Nothing Gaga does is original or sincere. I’m highly convinced that she’ll do and say anything to shock and be famous. Her performances that surfaced online shortly before she “developed” her Gaga personality showed a very plain Jane playing cover songs in bars. Her look was nothing like the Gaga you see today. She looked like she could’ve been on the Jersey Shore along with Jwoww & crew. How are you gonna go from being that to wearing meat dresses in such a short time? Fake. I’ve seen pre-fame vids of her playing the piano, and I’ll admit that she was pretty good…but her sound reminded me of a jazzier Norah Jones type. She knows that won’t get the huge amount of fans she’s hoping for. So let’s pump out the dance tunes & fake crazy costumes. Gaga knows her current dance music lacks depth, it’s a step above crap like Britney Spears. Only Gaga goes out onstage wearing outfits made of dead baby skin to divert attention away from her lackluster music. I feel that she’s pandering to the Gay community too…like she knows her fanbase so now she’s got to play it up for them. And “girl bashing”? Let’s talk about how Gaga referred to Katy Perry as a bitch in a semi- sly way, while ripping the head off of a doll intended to be Katy Perry. Stimulating Girl on girl violence must get a pass if it’s done by Gaga. Sure, Katy Perry may have started with the insults to Gaga’s “character”, but for someone who claims to be anti-Mean Girl, Gaga sure didn’t handle herself any better that Katy Perry. I’m glad that I didn’t drink the Gaga kool-aid that everyone else seems to be enjoying.

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  62. i used to be the biggest taylor fan, EVER. but then, i listened to a lot of her music, and realized that a LOT of the song lyrics were based off of other people’s, and that she copied a few songs from other bands.(the song, “im only me when im with you” is the same melody of a song by a different band, to a T) i guess she has some singing talent, but her biggest talent is being able to act sweet and get the media to like her. she really let me down, because she used to be my biggest inspiration in the entire world, but then i realized who she really was.

  63. I really dug (digged?) this article. It was super interesting and brought up a lot of good points.
    I do think that Taylor Swift has talent, but I hope as she gets older she expands her songs. “We Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together” is catchy, but it’s the same as like…. every song she’s ever written.

  64. Wanna know what I find funny about this? Taylor Swift is a 22-year-old musical success story, with four consecutive successful albums, multiple Grammy’s and other awards, worth $80 million, and has worldwide fame and not to mention, RESPECT. All while being photographed 24/7 and she has still yet to have a public slip-up or embarassment. Maybe you don’t like country music or even her music, but to bash a young girl who has handled herself with nothing but grace, class, and dignity and has made it big in the world based on SUCCESS and TALENT and HARD WORK (unlike trashy girls like the Kardashians) is someone that young women should look up to.

    Maybe you’re mad that you made mistakes as a young girl. Maybe you’re mad your mom or dad didn’t show love all that much towards you. Maybe you’re resentful you didn’t chase after your dreams. Or maybe you resent looking at girls that might have something you don’t. But at the end of the day, I’m sure Taylor Swift will continue to have a happy, fulfilling, and successful life and if girls are looking up to someone like her (and are encouraged to go after their dreams and make a life for their own) instead of worshipping someone like Kim Kardashian, then I think that’s a great thing. Taylor Swift will continue to live her life and probably won’t ever see this petty, unsupported argument while you, um…what’s your name again?

  65. Hi Riese! First of all, I really like autostraddle in general and the stuff you write specifically — I wasn’t a reader in 2010 so I just found this article through a link on Jezebel — who knows, the article may get still more traffic as a result! But anyway, I’m curious, I haven’t paid a ton of attention to Gaga in the past year or so — why do you take your love of her back?

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  69. Hi Riese,

    I’m 21 and a senior in college, and I’m surrounded by female classmates who adore Taylor Swift, and it’s always bothered me to no end. I never really understood it, and I could never really articulate where my irritation came from until I found this article. Thank you, honestly you’ve given me so much relief now that I know I’m not the only one irked by Swift-mania. I’m sure she’s a fine human being, and I’m sure she can relate to a lot of girls, but my doubt in her talents lies in her ability to relate to grown women. She is a 22 year old adolescent who seems unwilling to write about anything beyond break-ups and fleeting infatuations with boys. I can’t seem to find strength, self-sufficiency, empowerment, or even a solid identity behind her words (or at least an identity that isn’t defined by a man). As for myself, a young woman trying to become successful in this world, I’m unable to see her as someone to admire for the things she promotes, which seem to be schoolgirl crushes, princesses, and fairy dust. The weird thing is that I’m actually pretty similar to her (or at least her image): I’m abstinent, I don’t drink or do drugs, I don’t party, and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m pretty awkward. But I’m also 21, about to launch a career, hoping to become a strong and successful woman, and to hear that Taylor Swift is a role model for women is laughable because I can’t see how any of her music applies to any adult career woman in this decade. She’s cute and playful and fun, but based on her songs, the only job she’s gunning for is housewife.

    As for listening to 20-something woman who knows who she is and what she wants, I’ll stick with Adele.

    Thank you for your thoughtful words, Riese, you’ve made my day.

  70. http://girlboymusic.tumblr.com/post/378586657/taylor-swift-is-a-feminists-nightmare-jezebel

    I think you made so many good points in this article and many of which I agree with (plus it was funny). However, I think that while Taylor Swift is definitely guilty of slut-shaming in some of her songs, I think parts of your article are prude-shaming. It just bothers me how slut-shaming is off limits but its okay to criticize girls who want to wait until marriage or whatever. (The link I posted describes better what I’m trying to say, I didn’t want to post a long comment since this is an old article and no one will probably read this comment anyways)

  71. Taylor Swift = vapid, boring, bland, generic, unoriginal, pointless & worthless. That’s pretty much what this article says and I agree. How anyone can stand listening to her droning on is beyond me. And how anyone can hear her try to perform live and take her seriously is one of life’s greatest mysteries. There is so much talent out there. But we constantly get stuck with dross like this. Such a shame. Cheers & thanks for the interesting article.

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  74. I completely enjoyed this article. It put into words exactly what I have been feeling about Taylor Swift in these recent months. However, there is only one section that somewhat bothered me (please do not take this as me hating anything you said/the article as a whole). When you talked about the song “Fifteen,” I somewhat disagree with your interpretation. Whenever I listened to the song, it did not come across as enforcing abstinence but rather Abigail really loving a boy in every way possible and him leaving her because he is a jerk. I feel like the line “Abigail gave everything she had to a boy” was never meant to be taken like all a young girl is meant to be is her virginity but just Swift’s way of articulating what happened. I could be COMPLETELY off in my interpretation, but that is how I have always viewed the song.

    Thank you again for this awesome article though, I loved it!!

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