Taylor Swift: the girl we all love to hate

Emily discusses our obsession with the life of celebrities and criticises the misguided entitlement we feel to judge them. 

It’s 2017, otherwise known as the era of ultimate street cred for saying that you “hate” Taylor Swift. Upon the imminent release of her sixth studio album, Reputation, and the inevitable witch hunt that will swiftly (no pun intended) follow its release, it’s time to question what justifies such vehement criticism.

She bounced onto the scene in 2006 with sparkly dresses and ringlet curls and pretty much instantaneously became the butt of every joke. Yes, she was sugary sweet, and that was her brand. Love it or leave it; no need to jump on the bandwagon and hate it.

It began with a mockery of her tendency to be unlucky in love, and then write songs about it. Never mind that the slut-shaming wouldn’t have occurred if it was a male popstar, why should we dwell on a young woman having a few boys in her past? It’s nothing new, and its nothing to be ashamed of. If I could write about break ups and earn a few million in the process, I wouldn’t think twice about it. It’s business.
After a few high-profile relationships, people felt entitled to slate her for, well, practically anything. For the idea that she turned feminism into a commodity with her “girl squad” (forgive me for thinking that it’s good to value other women). For remaining silent on social media during times of political change. I, with only a few people listening, fear shouting about my opinions in case I make a mistake. I can’t imagine how that would feel magnified, knowing that there’s an army of internet trolls waiting to pick apart my every word.

It’s a case of selective memory, because when she stood in a court room as a sexual assault victim and spoke out against victim shaming, the event disappeared from public discourse almost as soon as it happened.

As for her heavily documented “feuds”, one of which was originally started by Kanye West when she was just nineteen, if you’re telling me that you’ve never acted like a bit of a snake, then I think you need to re-evaluate. What is it about celebrities making mistakes, which we have probably also made, that we interpret as just cause to verbally abuse them? We don’t know them beyond glimpses on a screen; certainly not enough justify hating them.

She is privileged, and she is powerful. She is also just a young woman. She isn’t a victim, but she is also far from the monster that many people portray her to be. Taylor Swift is a business savvy individual who grew up in the spotlight, dated a few guys, acted a bit pettily on the odd occasion, and made a lot of money. Are we over hating her yet?

Emily Merrill

Photo credit: https://www.popsugar.com/celebrity/Taylor-Swift-Graduation-Letter-Fan-May-2017-43532232