Swift’s new image sends hypocritical message

Julia Patterson, asst. opinions editor

When I was in sixth grade, I wrote my very first five paragraph essay about Taylor Swift and how she overcame feeling bullied and isolated by girls growing up. Inspiring, really. All I can say for Taylor Swift now is that 13-year-old me would be pretty horrified.

Since the “old Taylor” unfortunately passed away Aug. 24, 2017, after the release of her new single “Look What You Made Me Do”, the new Taylor seems to be shaking up pop culture. The song broke the record number of first day streams on Spotify with 8 million, not to mention the subsequent millions of views on both its music and lyric videos. The commotion that Swift has been causing seems to be greeted by roars of “yass” and even more hype and money for her pop empire. Am I just missing the appeal?

I seem to remember a Taylor that once expressed on 60 Minutes her willingness to be someone to look up to.

“It would be really easy to say ‘I’m 21 now, I do what I want, you raise your kids!” Swift said. “But the truth is every artist with a song on the radio is raising the next generation, so make your words count.”

And because she had felt so excluded by girls in high school, she felt “honored” to be a role model to young girls: the poster child for rising above bullies. Now as I sit here listening to her new song with the ultimate message that this new Taylor is going to check off your name (looking at you, Kanye) “twice on her list”, I feel at a loss.

Don’t get me wrong, re-branding is a part of every artist’s career. It’s almost essential for musicians to be able to create something that we haven’t all heard before, and there are plenty of artists with a carefree “badass” image like Rihanna, Kanye West and more.

The difference between those artists and Swift is arguably: 1. They actually make good music. I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to sample an infamously hilarious song like “I’m Too Sexy” but anyways, 2. They didn’t designate themselves a role model.

Swift is a known icon for young girl empowerment and according to Swift, it’s her responsibility to know it. So now I am failing to see how her new image, since her following is composed of younger girls and girls like myself that grew up on her music and message, is still succeeding.

Swift has been embracing drama for awhile,so maybe its nothing new. Starting with her beef with Kanye West, Swift’s victimhood was apparent and we all felt for her. But after muddled apologies throughout the years, Kanye’s provocative lyric about Swift’s career in his song “Famous” seemed to be the final straw for her already stretched forgiveness, causing her to once again act as victim. But this time—she says—of misogyny.

And like any good feminist, Swift utilized her 2016 Grammy Award to remind women to “focus on the work, and don’t let ‘those’ people side track you”. The very same feminist that went on to release a music video for her song “Bad Blood”, featuring some of today’s biggest female names such as Selena Gomez, Gigi Hadid and Zendaya looking tough while singing about someone who has once again wronged Swift.

Without much context, the scene may appear harmless and actually kind of cool. But the most dedicated Swifties were able to uncover that the song “Bad Blood” was about problems Swift had been having with fellow pop artist Katy Perry. The dispute began over hiring dancers for their tour and was blown out of proportion in an interview where Swift described herself as being backstabbed by Perry because of it.

Given this back story, the scene more clearly resembles Swift gathering women in an attempt to appear superficially superior to another woman. There is nothing feminist nor acceptable about it. Later that year when Swift took offense to a tweet from rap artist Nicki Minaj (there is always something wrong with Swift—I wish I could make this less convoluted), Perry was quick to call her on her hypocrisy.

“Finding it ironic to parade the pit women against other women argument about as one immeasurably capitalizes on the take down of a woman…” Perry tweeted.

In conclusion, Taylor Swift was always a part of a breed of girls our society has been trying to eliminate: girls who play the victim for attention, girls who take down other women, and girls who benefit from gossip and drama, and her new image glorifies it. So please, stop ogling and supporting this behavior. Look what you made me do, Taylor.