I remember the day so vividly. It was one late night in July — I had my headphones in and wanted nothing more than to escape into a different world that had nothing to do with a global pandemic. While on the verge of a mental breakdown, I opened Spotify, intending to play my “sleep sad” playlist. Except this time I played something different that had appeared on my Spotify homepage: Folklore by Taylor Swift.
After listening to the album for the first time, I was fascinated by how she could encapsulate moments, feelings, and relationships almost perfectly within a matter of minutes. How she could take me into her world of love triangles, betrayal, pain and happiness. Her music offered an escape from the living hell that was outside my bedroom door. It was from that point on that I became a fan of Taylor Swift’s music.
For me, listening to Folklore was the first time I had really given her music a chance. When I did, I slowly started to become a Swiftie. I took a deep dive into her discography, heard what critics had to say about her albums, spent hours watching album breakdown videos, and eventually, she became a regular in my music rotation. Now after months of listening to her, I’ve been wondering – why haven’t I listened to her sooner?
Being a teen in the 2010s meant hearing Taylor Swift everywhere. Whether it be classic hits like “Love Story” or “Blank Space,” I think it’s safe to say that we all know at least one of Taylor Swift’s pop hits. However, how many of us go beyond those radio hits?
For most of my life, like many others, I refused to listen to Taylor Swift’s music. I hated her with a passion. I thought listening to her music or liking her would make people think I wasn’t unique enough and, for a lack of a better term, “basic.”
I am embarrassed to say that I would actively hate on anyone who said Taylor Swift was their favorite artist. Especially after the 2016 Kanye-Taylor feud, I felt like there was a “real” reason to hate her. It turned me off from even giving her discography a chance.
If you Google “I hate Taylor Swift,” you are met with page after page of people hating on Swift’s music, appearance, and personality. Now, does Taylor Swift make the best music ever? No. Is she the best singer to ever exist? Far from it. But what makes us harbor so much resentment towards her? What makes Taylor Swift so controversial and hateable to the point that we have designated forums to hate her? Two things: internalized misogyny and sexism within the music industry.
Internalized misogyny is the idea that women subconsciously project sexist ideals to adhere to societal standards that primarily appeal towards men. These standards include how women should behave, act, and appear.
In modern terms, we can describe this phenomenon with “pick me girls” or the concept of “I’m not like other girls.” Women – young girls in particular – have to strive for an abstract standard in which their individuality is defined by how unique their personality is or how well their personality appeals to men. In turn, women use these standards to bring other women down as a way to appear better than other women.
Taylor Swift is an example of how young girls’ hatred for female artists is a result of sexist standards. We dislike her because… of what exactly? She’s dated “too many guys?” Her music is popular? She’s highly successful?
This is not to say you can’t like her music, but have you ever noticed when someone says they don’t like Taylor Swift, it’s hardly ever about her music? It’s always accompanied by “she’s “annoying,” “bitchy,” “emotional,” or something that has nothing to do with her music.
This speaks to the sexism that still exists within the music industry. Women in music are held to a completely different standard than men. They have to constantly reinvent themselves, adhere to unrealistic beauty standards, and tolerate the media’s scrutinization of their life and personality — all things their male counterparts don’t have to do and don’t get nearly as much criticism for.
So, can you dislike Taylor Swift without being a sexist person? Of course. However if you’ve made it this far and can’t think of a real reason you haven’t given her music a chance, maybe it’s time to.
We need to stop hating things people like simply because a lot of people like it or because we are afraid of how it will make us appear. It doesn’t make you more unique or cooler. So, go listen to whatever music you want, wear whatever you want, and be whoever you want.
The following is a playlist made by me of Taylor Swift songs that turned me into a Swiftie. The order is from her latest album (Evermore) to her oldest album (Taylor Swift).
it’s time to go- bonus track
cowboy like me
no body, no crime (feat. Haim)
my tears ricochet
the last great american dynasty
exile (feat. Bon Iver)
Renegade (feat. Taylor Swift)
Death By A Thousand Cuts
New Year’s Day
Dancing With Our Hands Tied
End Game (Feat. Future and Ed Sheeran)
I Wish You Would
All You Had To Do Was Stay
Out of The Woods
All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)
I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version)
Nothing New (feat. Phoebe Bridgers) (Taylor’s Version)
The Lucky One (Taylor’s Version)
The Last Time (feat. Gary Lightbody) (Taylor’s Version)
Treacherous (Taylor’s Version)
Better Than Revenge
Back To December
The Other Side Of The Door (Taylor’s Version)
White Horse (Taylor’s Version)
Hey Stephen (Taylor’s Version)
Fearless (Taylor’s Version)
Should’ve Said No
Picture to Burn
Kimberly Cortez is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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