Every Taylor Swift critic is his or her own person, and occasionally you’ll even find the odd one capable of making thoughtful criticism. But for some reason, be it Swift’s genre, her Southern home, her feminine presentation, or her willingness to write complex songs about romantic relationships, there continues to exist a subset of detractors convinced she is intent on revoking the 19th Amendment or reintroducing coverture or something. Common to these critiques is an unwillingness to listen to the actual music. For instance:
Taylor Swift the Product (who I’m sure varies a great deal from Taylor Swift the Person) strikes again with “Mine” which will no doubt be played 12 times an hour on every friggin’ station from now until the next time she comes out with another single about being pure and innocent while wanting a boy who is an angelic being filled with light and winning his heart from the evil girl who wears colors and probably fucks.
Fact #1 for Taylor-haters: Taylor fucks. Taylor fucked a boy in “Tim McGraw,” her 2006 debut single, which she wrote when she was sixteen. There has never been any indication that Swift disapproves of female sexuality. (If you think right now it would be a good idea to mention “Fifteen,” close your mouth and use your brain.) The irony here is that “Mine” contains a clear suggestion of pre-marital cohabitation in the lyric: “There’s a drawer of my things at your place.”
But seriously? SERIOUSLY? How on earth does anyone look at these songs and say they’d rather their daughters take her as a role model than other singers?
I’m going to repeat what I said when this came up in regard to Lady GaGa: Taylor Swift is no one’s mother, and I think it’s exceedingly sexist to expect her to subsume her own beliefs so she can raise other people’s children. In addition to that, being a good role model is really boring, and Taylor Swift is an entertainer, and being an entertainer is about not being boring. I don’t give a fuck if she’s a good role model or not.
“You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter”? What. The. Fuck. Taylor, YOU are your own agent. You make your own decisions. Your father isn’t responsible for them and you deciding to do things he wouldn’t approve of doesn’t make him careless because he’s not responsible for guarding your damn vagina. Have sex if you want, but don’t make it about your daddy because it’s creepy and I really don’t want tween girls all over the country thinking that it’s Daddy’s job to fend off attractive, wealthy white boys who want to worship them like Juliet in totally respectful, romantic ways that don’t involve stalking or sexual assault.
I have no idea where stalking or sexual assault comes from, but the Taylor-haters clearly have no desire to ground their critiques in reality. Case in point; the notion that this is somehow about Swift arguing for her father’s authority over her. The song is about becoming one’s own person, someone who is not bound by her “parents’ mistakes,” whatever those mistakes might be. (Swift doesn’t say.) The song is about her independence, not about her subjugation. There is absolutely nothing about Swift’s vagina in the song, or any indication that Swift considers decisions about that part of her body to be the business of anyone but herself. Any suggestion otherwise is hallucination!
Further, while the surely ironically-named SexistCulture insists Swift’s male characters are wealthy white boys, she obviously has failed to notice the recurring mentions of pickup trucks in her lyrics, a clear means of aligning herself with the working class culture country music considers to be at the core of its identity. Further, Swift has no shortage of songs about boys who are not perfect, mostly to their detriment, but sometimes to their credit. She explicitly disavows the idea that women or girls should consider romance something to be defined in fairy tale terms. She does say, however, that she is interested in deconstructing the ideas about romance women are given from childhood.
Another reason this song makes me stabby: the title. The entire premise. “Mine.” People are individuals; they do not belong to other people. Ownership is not romantic.
Someone write me a damn song about laughing with your partner over an obscure joke from The Wind in the Willows or sitting in a hookah bar near the beach for two hours and having such a good conversation you end up holding hands on the plane the whole way home.
Sadly, Swift will not be your Manic Pixie Dream Girl, writing quirky songs about contrived situations. I’m sorry for that. She will however, write detailed narratives about relationship minutiae, like kicking it in the dusk and enjoying conversation, hanging out on a Tuesday evening listening to music, or whispering on the phone after your parents have told you to go to bed. I’m sure Swift can be forgiven for not including tobacco in any of these tales, right?
Someone write me a song about a woman realizing she wants someone to be her chosen family- take gender out of who that person is- and DOING something about it.
“Fearless”? Or what about Swift’s new single, “Mine”?
Don’t ask my damn daddy if you can have me, ask me if you realize it first or I’ll ask you if I realize it first and either way is completely and totally romantic and wonderful.
Also, fuck whoever decided to market and promote Taylor Swift.
I don’t know why Swift attracts such irrational, seething responses, particularly when they consistently exhibit an extraordinary level of ignorance on the subject they’re critiquing. Actually, I do have my suspicions, but if I voice those, I will do so in another post. It would be unfair to pretend I have telepathic insight into sexistculture's specific reasons for this diatribe. What is not unfair, however, is calling this diatribe out for its entire disconnect with reality.
Her post has been liked or reblogged fortysomething times. These screeds about Swift frequently attract a lot of uncritical agreement, for whatever reason. I hope my attempts to introduce some sense into the conversation won’t disappear into the ether.
Note: In saying “Taylor fucks,” I mean that the characters Taylor gives voice to in her songs have sex. I have no idea what Swift’s actual sex life is like, and nor does anyone else in the general public.