#FeministFriday No. 26

As I am on vacation, this week’s #FeministFriday is by guest blogger and fellow Time Lady, Marie Mikhail.

 

I’m certainly not even close to the first person to think it, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t emphasize what thousands of us are thinking and saying at this very moment:

Taylor Swift is AWESOME.

Why is she all-caps worthy awesome? Let’s talk about it.

Tay-haters beware, this is about to get praise heavy, and if you’re feeling any negativity you’ll just have to shake it off.

While I couldn’t possibly list all of the reasons why Taylor Swift is AWESOME, here are a few:

  • She supports strong women: The music video for “Bad Blood” features an insane cast of kick-ass women who — in the span of a four minute music video — put the women’s roles in feature-length, blockbuster hits like Avengers: Age of Ultron to shame.
  • She loves her fans: Prior to the release of her newest album, 1989, Taylor invited several groups of fans (1,989 to be exact) to her home for the 1989 Secret Sessions” to preview the album, eat cookies, and play with her cats. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
  • She reads her fanmail: (Do people even send fan letters via snail mail anymore?) A longtime Superfan of Taylor invited her to her bridal shower and wedding, and she attended the bridal shower with presents and homemade treats in tow.
  • Her dad is your dad: Seriously. He makes photobombing appearances in several Instagram shots that make you feel slightly embarrassed for Tay, while still laughing because your dad makes that same face when he photobombs your selfie.
  • She’s relatable: If you’re like me, you grew up with Taylor. No, but actually we’re only a few months apart, and — unlike most celebrities my age — I can relate to Taylor not just in her music, but her current stage in life.  Her music has clearly evolved since the days of “Teardrops on my Guitar” and “Love Story”, and she’s living the life of the average 20-something: moving to the big city from a hometown, balancing a career and personal life, attending multiple wedding and baby showers, facing the realities (sometimes horrors) of real world dating,  posting endless videos and pictures of her pets — she’s experiencing life at 25, just like everyone else.

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In addition to all of the awesomeness listed above, the biggest reason-for-awesomeness I want to focus on is her latest album. 1989 sets a new tone for her music, her lifestyle, and her followers with songs that shift from the break-up and lovesick-heavy anthems of past releases to songs of empowerment and independence. Musically, she’s done a complete 180, as 1989 marks her official shift to Pop Music, and collaborations with artists such as Imogen Heap and Jack Antonoff giving her album a dynamic that illustrates her transition and growth as an artist.

I shamelessly praise 1989 on musical value alone — the 80’s pop vibes, the addition of synth, the nod to early ‘80s New Romanticism movement in the aptly titled bonus track “New Romantics” — and the lyrical content only adds to its absolute fantastic-ness.

Taylor expertly eased us into this album with the release of pop anthem “Shake It Off”. It’s is a jab at her haters in a fully pop voice, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. With each song from 1989, Taylor Swift makes a bold statement about being her own person and not letting that person be defined by the world’s opinion of her. “They take their shots, we’re bulletproof,” a line from “I Know Places”, illustrates this point perfectly. There will always be people “whispering as they pass by,” and she’s not going to let it affect her anymore, nor will she blame herself for the way others have hurt her; in fact, she “could build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at” her. Taylor effectively challenges all the haters and all the bulls*** in serious “come at me bro” fashion, and it’s awesome.

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“If you’re upset and irritated that I’m just being myself, I’m going to be myself more” – Taylor Swift, from an interview with Billboard

She goes one step further to discuss relationships. Unlike the break-up ballads for which she has become known from past albums, Taylor establishes from the get-go that “we took our broken hearts, put them in a drawer,” effectively determining the course of this album as something new and different. Instead, she discusses the different facets of relationships; “Style” touches on physical attraction, while “Clean” touches on the deeper part of love and the difficulty of moving on. In “All You Had To Do Was Stay”, she states that she won’t go back to someone who has wronged her, that “people like me are gone forever, when you say goodbye.” Her latest single, “Bad Blood”, is among my favorites. While the video shows a girl-on-girl conflict, the lyrics could easily translate to a romantic relationship as well, and I appreciate the versatility.

“Blank Space” is the most drastic difference from her previous work. Taylor pokes fun at the media’s view of her failed relationships with lines like “you look like my next mistake” and “they’ll tell you I’m insane”. While using public opinion to create a caricature, she also sends important messages through the song, including that people make mistakes — it’s part of this roller coaster called adulthood — and one of empowerment: if you want to date someone that is likely a mistake, play the field, or get wrapped up with a bad boy, you do you!

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Though maybe consider investing in waterproof mascara.

Despite the maturation of her lyrics and musical evolution, this album is familiar territory for Taylor. 1989 is still autobiographical; she is sharing her personal feelings with her audience just as she’s always done, only this time, she’s taken a new tone. It’s a tone of strength and empowerment, one that dares the negative-minded to challenge her and at the same time, encourages listeners to do as she does: ignore those who put you down, don’t blame yourself for how others hurt you, and ultimately, don’t be afraid to be your own person. Taylor’s voice is one of the most honest and universal of our generation. There’s a certain maturity and strength behind 1989, and I appreciate the message it sends to listeners. Mostly, I admire her bravery to be herself in front of the whole world. All in all, I’d say she’s pretty AWESOME!

A special thanks to Lindsay for allowing me to guest blog this week…I enjoyed it immensely. Now, I’m off to listen to 1989 on repeat. Thanks for reading!

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