Maybe Taylor Swift Is Just What This Country Needs Right Now

I have never been a die hard T-Swift fan, so this comes as a shock to me too, but I actually like her single. Like a lot of people, I go back and forth with Taylor Swift. Sometimes I like her, other times I find her really annoying and whiny. And 9 times out of 10 I’m wondering why no one on her team has hired someone to teach her how to dance…

Maybe it’s my age or my own recent experiences, but there is something about this song that just really resonates with me. I feel empowered and like someone else gets it—I’m not alone. And isn’t that the pure brilliancy of Taylor Swift? Whether you love or hate her, you can’t deny her ability to write songs that speak to your soul. She’s the artist that is somehow able to capture exactly how you feel in one line. We all like to hate on her, myself included sometimes, but I have to give credit where credit is due. She has a talent for being able to speak to your emotions. We know what’s it’s like to feel hurt, broken, betrayed, in love…but being able to articulate that in a way that truly captures the emotion outloud is another story. Her words may be cunning, and maybe she calls out the men in her life too much, but I can’t pretend I wouldn’t do the same thing if I had her platform. Her credibility as an artist lies in the transparency she shares of her personal life and how raw she is, and this single is no different.

When I heard it for the first time I rolled my eyes and thought it came across very immature. *Queue all the preteens sitting in their dark bedrooms brooding over how they hate the world because no one understands them.

But, as I kept listening and reading the endless articles written about her and the song, I changed my mind and here’s why:

I really don’t think she is trying to play the victim or blame others. I think what she is trying to say is that she is villainized a lot in the media and by other celebrities and she’s not going to sit on the sidelines anymore. We hear about her feuds with other big names in the music industry and I honestly think she’s tired of being portrayed in a way that is just not true. I don’t know her, and the truth is none of us know the truth behind any of the rumors, but from what I have read and heard in interviews with her, I think at the end of the day she is a good person who genuinely cares about others and tries to be the best version of herself she can be. Does she always get it right? No. But why do we expect her to?

Even if you find her annoying and immature, I think it’s important to acknowledge how hard it is to be her. Sure, she wanted to be famous and make it big, but I don’t think anyone wants to endure the ridicule and scrutiny that she faces day in and day out. It’s relentless, and if you’ve experienced a fraction of it, you know what a toll it can take. Just with this song alone, people have been ripping her to shreds. Put it into perspective of your own career. Can you imagine if you spent months or a year working on a project and you present it, just to have it completely torn apart and diminished down to nothing by the entire world? This is her career, this is her passion, and she gets it from all angles that she’s not worth her weight, she sucks, she plays the victim, etc. etc. I know other celebrities go through this too, but I think Taylor Swift experiences it on another level. We didn’t hear this level of backlash about Beyonce and Lemonade or Demi Lavoto and her new single Sorry Not Sorry. I try to acknowledge how hard that would be whether I like the song or not. She is a person too after all.

I relate to Taylor and this song in particular in that I have been portrayed in a way that is just not who I am as well. Haven’t we all? Perception is not always reality, especially when perception is others projecting their insecurities and shortcomings onto you.

I hear, “wow that was a really mean thing to say.” Or “yeah, you can really be a b****.” This is incredibly frustrating because I am not mean. I am not a b****. I am very forgiving and ALWAYS give others the benefit of the doubt over and over again. But I am human and I am also very honest. I am very straight forward and speak the truth. Which yes, is usually not received well. The truth is hard to hear and most people cannot be honest enough with themselves to swallow the tough truth given to them. Instead of being receptive to it, they throw their insecurities and short comings back onto me so that I am the mean one and the b****. I’m sure others can relate to this. It is an issue that is well documented for women in the work place in particular.

Heck, all you have to do is look so far as the last election. Donald Trump made vicious attacks on Hillary Clinton. Actually had crowds chanting “lock her up.” Made awful remarks about Mexicans, immigrants, John McCain - the list goes on and on. His poll numbers went up every time he said another hateful thing. Hillary tried to call him out on - not releasing his taxes, being a sexual predator - and she was portrayed as unhinged, hysterical and a b****. As women, as human beings, as good people, we need to stand up for what is right. It needs to be said - out loud and honestly. Those that stand up for what is right and call people out on their lies and unacceptable behavior are not the villains—they are the heroes.

This song is representative of that point because Taylor calls out the behavior and is then attacked for it. She’s saying, “look what you made me do. I tried to be nice, I tried to help you, I tried to be the bigger person, but you just kept pushing and taking advantage of the second chances I gave you.” Well, now she’s had it and we’ve pushed her too far. And good for her for saying so.

Haven’t we all felt this at one time or another? I don’t want to be this person, I don’t want to be mean or call you out, but you just kept going too far and pushed me overboard to where yes, now I am going to say the cold, hard, mean truth. Now YOU made me into this person that you can villainize so that you don’t actually have to deal with your own inadequacies. Taylor is saying enough. Enough to the media, enough to other celebrities, enough to society and political climate.

I agree with yesterday’s post in that we don’t need any more hatred going around. We need love, we need understanding. Revenge isn’t the answer, but as much as we would all like to blame Taylor, I just really don’t think she is the one spreading hate. The people doing that are the one’s this song is about. Somehow this country has allowed the bullies to take over. Cowering in the corner, handing out pamphlets promoting peace and love is not going to change this. Good people (like Taylor) need to get angry and fight back and stop accepting blatantly wrong behavior. Take back our country, society—humanity. Call out the bullies who have been given a platform by the biggest bully of them all.

We need people to stand up and start calling people out of their BS behavior. Because that’s what it is, total BS. It’s not okay and like Taylor, I’m not condoning it anymore. (And yes, by not saying anything, you’re condoning it.) People have to be vocal about what is right and what is just blatantly wrong. We need people to stop accepting malicious and disgusting behavior; that is what this single is to me. Taylor isn’t accepting it anymore. Taking the high road and being nice isn’t going to change anything unfortunately. She is speaking her truth, she is standing in her power, and I commend anyone who has the courage to do that.

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Gabrielle Gentile

Gabrielle Gentile is a recent graduate from Kent State University where she studied public relations. She now works in sale operations at GE Lighting in Cleveland and lives on the West side in Lakewood. Gabrielle has a huge passion for equality and women's empowerment, which led her to her numerous leadership roles in undergrad with female focused groups and her position with She In The CLE. She believes in lifting others up and helping women find their voice and confidence both in their personal and professional lives.
When she is not at her day job or advocating for women's rights, you can find Gabrielle at cross country practice in the Metroparks where she coaches 7th and 8th grade girls cross country. If you're up earlier enough, you might also see her a 5:30 a.m. spin class at Harness Cycle or getting an interval workout in at Orange theory. While she may be a bit or a cardio junkie, Gabrielle's passion for her work and helping others achieve their potential is the driving force behind everything she does.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Amen. We teach our children to be nice to their friends, siblings, classmates etc. We have anti-bullying mandates in schools etc. We get very sanctimonious about it. However, we allow it everyday. We make excuses for the bullies - and then we condemn their victims when they finally break. Its time to recognize that the problem does not lie in the victims reaction to the bully. We’ve seen the spike in suicides, school shootings etc - all tied back to one thing, Bullies that have not been called out. Its time to understand that it is everyone’s responsibility to stand up . Call out the Bullies and the bad behaviors. Defend the victims while the behavior is being witnessed. Turning the other way, saying it isn’t your business is not only condoning the bad behavior, it is making that behavior acceptable and actually popular! Hence our current government.
    Do we really believe in and want to be a kind and supportive society? Really? If yes, it is far past the time for good people to stand up for what is right regardless of what seems popular. Standing up for what is right is always harder, it is always uncomfortable and in many cases actually makes you the target of the bully. If we don’t change this tide of accepting hate filled rants, prejudice, physical and sexual abuse etc that is permeating our society in both big and subtle ways then we are on a one way road to hell. Good for Taylor for seeing it and for being willing to say it. This has the potential to create real change. Think about it good people - and then let your actions actually support your words.

  • I like your viewpoints and see where you are coming from but I disagree. She’s been playing this narrative since the 2012 VMAs and even if she’s being “torn apart” she’s racking in millions off of it, so it’s hard for me to feel sorry for her. She’s also pushing 30 and needs to realize this is part of the industry she picked. You can’t always get positive praises/rumors etc.

    • I agree. Scrutiny and criticism come with the territory and the need for tough skin is a requirement. I was thinking about this song on a larger scale in that the over message I think, is to stand up for yourself, for others and start calling out wrong, hurtful behavior. No one wants to be the person that gets mad and calls people out (society has taught us it’s not our place), however the political atmosphere in this country and the new mentality of blatant disregard and respect for others that so many people hold now require getting mad, standing up and speaking out. Maybe Taylor herself is doing it for petty reasons, but it is a lesson I think we can all take and extrapolate to our own lives and what is going on in this country right now. Thanks for reading, I love your input!

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