The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Taylor Swift column: Returning the scarf (Matilda’s Version)

Olivia Moon

Welcome Swifties of Los Altos High School, you have made it to the right place.

A worldwide phenomenon, the queen of break-up songs herself, Taylor Swift can only be described as a connoisseur of pop, sparkles and soft-launching relationships. Some hate her, many idolize her but no one can deny her cultural impact. This column is dedicated to dissecting the Mastermind that is Taylor Swift.

Date her and she may write a song about you:
Every piece of art that’s ever been made is founded in love or conflict. That’s why we relate to it: both love and its opposite are universal experiences. And though we may believe that “All is fair in love and war,” that cliche seems a lot less true when it’s a woman writing about it. So why is it that when women write about love we call them serial daters?

Swift famously takes inspiration from her past relationships. Her first three studio albums, “Taylor Swift,” “Fearless” and “Speak Now,” won the hearts of teenagers across America with ballads of high school romance, heartbreak and revenge. While Swift wrote many songs in these genres, she also explored other realms, such as the blissful ignorance of childhood, depicted in “The Best Day” from Fearless. Despite her versatility, the media chose to brand her as a lovesick girl.

Story continues below advertisement

As Swift emerged into the spotlight, continuing to express her experience as a young woman, the public seemed to get sick of her love songs. In 2016 and 2017, hashtags like “TaylorSwiftIsASnake” were trending for weeks while bloggers wrote articles titled “The cold manipulation behind Taylor Swift’s sweet smile.” The media called her obsessive, self-centered and emotional, splashing casual misogyny and slut shaming on every headline.

News outlets took turns tearing apart her personal life, most calling her a “serial dater” because she had too many boyfriends. They defended themselves by arguing that she signed up for criticism when she willingly wrote about her dating life. But so did most other male artists.

The difference between Taylor Swift and the rest of the music industry seemed to come down to a double standard: a female artist will be expected to write about love, but if she does it too much she is emotional. A male artist will do the same and be considered vulnerable — for example, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber are just a few. For Taylor Swift, the consequence of repeatedly writing love songs was not only harassment but being simplified to a single narrative.

The expectations of female artists are sustained by our culture where women are only portrayed for their capacity to love. Female characters in books, movies and other media will be centered around their relationships with men, caregiving and motherhood. From these portrayals, stereotypes begin to emerge: the ugly girl who undergoes a makeover to be noticed by the guy she likes, like Mia Thermopolis in “Princess Diaries.” Or the overtly sexual love interests in action movies who have no real value other than being eye candy. Example A, every “James Bond” and “Transformers” movies. Single narratives like these and the one Swift was subjected to are destructive and overlook the true experiences of womanhood.

It feels silly to have to point this out, but every human being has aspirations, struggles and joys; they are more than who they love. And Swift is no exception. She should not take the fall for an unchecked stigma. And she certainly does not have to defend or explain her source of inspiration.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Matilda Haney Foulds, Staff Writer

Comments (0)

All The Talon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *