Thought Catalog

Screw Taylor Swift’s Self-Serving Feminism

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Taylor Swift Youtube

Taylor Swift. How do I describe Taylor Swift?

Taylor Swift is flawless and makes no mistakes. And if she does make a mistake, someone else likely forced her to do it.

She has two token squad-friends of color, and a white PR boyfriend.

I hear she does feminism commercials… only when it suits her and her career.

Her favorite hobby is calling people sexist when they call her out for something valid.

One time Donald Trump became President. But she never spoke out against him directly, especially during the elections when her voice was most needed.

One time I called her a white feminist… and people got pissed.

***

No, seriously. Enough with the Mean Girls references to pop music’s Regina George. If you’re asking what Taylor Swift did now, besides appropriate, copy, and gentrify Beyoncé’s Formation, it’s that she’s releasing her new album on the 10th death anniversary of Kanye’s mother.

Whether this release date was intentional or unintentional remains to be seen. I lean more on the latter. It’s unlikely Swift would stoop to such levels of petty, but I can’t say the same for her management/PR team – which she has the power to influence.

“There comes a point in a person’s life to where, if you’re constantly involved in drama, it’s probably YOU that’s the problem, not other people.” Diane Alston

Swift will release an album with at least one diss track aimed at Kanye. The entire album itself – from the name to the snake – is a giant “vague” allusion to the Kanye-Kim feud, yet apparently NOT ONE. NOT. ONE. person in the entire multi-million dollar production/management/marketing/PR/record label team noticed this and brought it up?

I mean teenagers on Twitter figured out the correlation after 2 seconds, yet grown ass trained employees didn’t see this coming? As someone with experience in the industry, in my country we normally give a head’s up to the client when coincidences like this arise. You’re trying to tell me well-funded US companies with better trained workers somehow dropped the ball with this?

For those who are not aware, record labels are normally who gets to choose an album’s release date. There is a lot of work and coordination needed when it comes to releasing an album, especially when a name as big as Swift’s is attached to it. There is no actual source Swift herself chose this date just to be petty, but it is damn near impossible someone else didn’t notice.

If they did and they decided to go along with the date in order to gain more publicity – Swift should be pissed and demand some sort of action. It’s her name that’s getting dragged in the mud, all so that wealthy music executives earn their piece of the pie.

If they did not and it literally simply is a bad coincidence – Swift should still be pissed. Her team and label should have checked all the bases. They screwed up, and, again, she’s the one getting hung out to dry.

I guess we will have to wait and see if Swift will finally break her silence – either by herself or someone for her issuing a statement or changing the date – or if she will continue to remain mum, like she has with regards to racial tensions in America and other POC issues.

“Swift has once again cast West as the villain in her story, using the experience to let the world know that despite this evil person trying to knock her down, she picked herself up… This is how Swift always responds to criticism; she constantly pushes the narrative that something has been done to her. She is always the one being wronged. Even the chorus tries to deflect the blame onto anyone else but herself…”Shannon Carlin

Now, let’s talk about the ridiculousness of her diss track. It’s called “Look What You Made Me Do”. Umm… you literally did this to yourself, Taylor???? As a rich adult white girl who only got her foot in Hollywood’s door because of her rich white parents, nobody forced you to do anything.

This song and its music video is just another self-serving white woman victim narrative disguised as female empowerment, and I’m not here for it. The only thing empowering about her new release was the portion where she alluded to her sexual abuser. But the shade thrown at other celebs and the media who supposedly “pushed” her to “kill her old selves” and be reborn as a bad girl? Nah.

It’s puzzling how she chose to make an album about years-old rich people feuds, when she could’ve made an album about her sexual harassment lawsuit, but I guess a self-identifying feminist singing about celebrity beef is more empowering somehow.

Kanye may be trash, Kim may be trash, but Taylor is also some type of trash – just in a ‘Hypocritical White Feminist All Lives Matter’ kind of way.

At least Kanye and Kim vocally supported Hillary when it came down to it. Taylor, on the other hand, could not be bothered with even a tweet, and until now she is STILL quiet about politics.

What grates me and others about Swift (and celebrities like her) is that whenever someone has a very valid criticism about Swift – cultural appropriation, using feminism as a marketing ploy, acting hypocritically towards people she’s had beef with – they are always dismissed by Swift and her fans as being “divisive”, “sexist”, “a hater”, or “a bullshit fake feminist”.

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It does not even matter if the person criticizing Swift is way more qualified to talk about feminism than Swift is, people will say to that person, “It’s very sexist of you to question her feminism and say she is not feminist enough. Also, why do you have to bring race into this?” 

I don’t know what the fuck kind of Instagram women-empowerment-selfie-caption these people got their definition of feminism from, but a woman saying she is a feminist whilst being nice to her fans does not excuse that woman from being a consistently underperforming hypocritical “feminist” who only remembers the movement when it positively affects a personal agenda or business.

Some fans are under the assumption that if a woman is a feminist, then that immediately protects her and her feminism from scrutiny. This is false.

Being a feminist means your sisterhood is inclusive for all women coming from all social and racial backgrounds, with a focus on issues that affect minorities such as the poor, women of color, and LGBTQ+. Being a feminist means your feminism’s aim is to dismantle patriarchy and to bring focus on how firmly it has sunk its claws into elements that influence people’s lives such as consumerism, civil rights, gender roles, toxic masculinity, equal representation, pop culture, etc. Being a feminist means your activism should be receptive to criticism and willing to admit shortcomings, learn, and improve, because your feminism isn’t about you – it is about liberating your sisters from dominant oppressing ideologies, and the institutions that hold power and dictate status quo.

Ignoring how racism and capitalism affects women of color isn’t good feminism no matter how much you stand for your faves.

And you can stand for Taylor Swift all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact she is a white feminist who has not once spoken up for or fought for black/brown/asian/native american/trans/minority women, and that her feminism only benefits HER AND HER REPUTATION, yet does nothing to liberate women of color from patriarchy.

You can dissect her new music video and lyrics all you want as “genius snake kween serving the tea”, but, again, that doesn’t change the fact Swift was born wealthy and that she got into the business because her white family was and is wealthy. Her race and social status allows her the privilege to be apolitical while LGBTQ+ women’s and women of color’s very existence forces them to be political. And while she remains comfortable by “staying out of politics”, she gentrifies and appropriates POC culture to benefit her brand.

You can call me and others “haters” all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact Swift has never spoken out against Trump or the like, because lord knows that’d offend the big conservative portion of her audience. Nor has she spoken up about whitewashing in Hollywood and the music industry, because lord knows that’d affect her career as a white woman artist whose success literally depends on the sidelining and snubbing of (tbh) more talented artists of color.

What does it say that a lot of the Taylor Swift “haters” criticizing Swift’s feminism are people of color? If you think your and Swift’s opinions on intersectional feminism and racism are better than actual people of color’s voices speaking out against self-serving, western capitalist-driven, and profit-based feminism, I’mma need to ask you what kind of drugs you’re on because, shit, they’re strong.

Until Swift actually begins to be a good feminist and stops using the movement to cover her ass when needed and to drive album sales, I and others will continue to criticize and call out her so-called feminism.

Basically what I’m trying to say is –

Fuck Taylor Swift and other apolitical wealthy white women who can afford to be apolitical, who rarely if ever acknowledge their privilege, and who only cares about feminism when it directly coincides with their image and interests.

Fuck Taylor Swift and her self-serving feminism which does nothing to help liberate women, much less low-class, minority women. Fuck white feminism that only cares about earning and maintaining profit. Fuck liberal feminism that only elevates and protects wealthy white cis females in first world countries.

Fuck Taylor Swift and some of the fans who will defend her to the death and make excuses for her in spite of valid criticism. Fuck people who enable patriarchy to stay in power, and people who praise white feminists for being “role model feminists” despite performing less than the bare minimum. Fuck Swift supporters who slut-shamed and name-called Kim and Nicki and Katy for daring to beef with their idol, yet called anyone who spoke against Taylor “anti-feminist”.

Fuck Taylor Swift, her record label, and her management team for quite possibly using a black man’s pain as a way to gain even more profit and exact revenge on a feud.

It only takes a Google search to see detailed, intelligent articles that poke holes in Swift’s Madonna persona, and the many times her PR team fucked up. I will not elaborate further when those 100+ articles exist and when I basically served links in this article on a silver platter.

Confused why so many people think Swift’s feminism is trash? Confused what even is a white feminist? Fucking research. Read actual feminist theory books, especially written by WOC. Listen to talks and speeches made by POC feminists. Be unlike Swift and her PR team – take responsibility for yourself, question the situation, and be open to the possibility your fave may be problematic.

Swift’s hollow one-sided feminism should be canceled, and I’ll end this post with this quote:

The thing about Taylor Swift’s “feminism” is that she’s white feminism personified. Maybe it’s because she’s still a “beginner” or maybe it’s because she refuses to be inclusive in her feminism, but it’s 2017 and she still hasn’t grown. Her feminism now is almost indistinguishable from her feminism of years ago. She’s still not inclusive. It still appears that she uses feminism to her benefit and pulls it out when a situation is about her or other white women. Not once have I ever seen or heard her speak out for indigenous women, black women, trans women, lesbian/bi women, undocumented women, or any other woman in any other marginalized or minority community.

The thing about Taylor Swift and her feminism is that she gets praised by the media for being a feminist icon when she does the bare minimum while other people doing real, life changing work, don’t get half the attention she does, and she shouldn’t be applauded for her first grade feminism anymore. Yes, she stood up for herself during her sexual assault case and, yes, she set a great example for other sexual assault victims and for that she should be applauded. But she always seems to show up for feminist issues when those issues affect her personally, and never at any other time.

There are scores of other women who are hard-hitting and trailblazing feminists. Taylor Swift is not one of them. Nobody’s feminism is perfect and nobody is born being inclusive in their feminism, but she’s about as much of a feminist as Ivanka Trump. She shows up to the function when she can center herself or other white women, and that’s it. Her feminism is outdated and unusable. We don’t need it and I’m not here for it.” Diane Alston  TC mark

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