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Taylor Swift: Media is sexist but like, I still hope he calls

Posted by Scott Kearnan  March 21, 2013 12:06 PM

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swift200.jpgJust in case you missed her driving by your house wearing night vision goggles last night, which she wouldn't have done if you hadn't made her love you so much, Taylor Swift has popped up on the cover of the April issue of Vanity Fair. In her feature interview, Swift rebukes critics who say she is a serial dating crazy-pants who exploits all her ex-boyfriends by writing poison pen songs about them.


In fact, she thinks that criticism is somewhat sexist. I never thought I'd say this, but Taylor Swift has a point.

From Vanity Fair:

"For a female to write about her feelings," she said, "and then be portrayed as some clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend in need of making you marry her and have kids with her, I think that's taking something that potentially should be celebrated - a woman writing about her feelings in a confessional way - that's taking it and turning it and twisting it into something that is frankly a little sexist."

This is mostly true. So Taylor Swift has dated every boy with his driver's license: so what? We don't generally tsk-tsk young male celebrities when they jump from starlet to starlet. And so she writes about her relationships: so what? Isn't every song on the radio some variation on a theme of love, sex, making up or breaking up?

Swift was also miffed that other famous ladies don't have her back. She told Vanity Fair she did not appreciate it when Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler ribbed her about her relationships from the stage:

When we were discussing that moment at the Golden Globes, and mean girls in general, Swift just smiled and said, "You know, Katie Couric is one of my favorite people because she said to me she had heard a quote that she loved" - from former secretary of state Madeleine Albright - "that said, 'There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.'"

Did Taylor Swift just passive aggressively tell Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to go to hell? Because Taylor Swift just got way more interesting. I mean, I don't entirely agree with her choice of target. (Tina Fey quoting Penthouse Forum would still be a greater feminist statement than Taylor Swift quoting Katie Couric quoting Madeleine Albright.) But I appreciate the general sentiment about sisters sticking together.

But as soon as Swift earns some minor You Go, Girl bonus points, she loses them by saying stuff like this:

"I'm sick of the tabloids' saying I obsess over guys," Swift told me. "Why would you obsess over guys? They don't like it."

And this, about the reports that she bought a $4.8 million home next door to the Kennedy Compound within three months of dating then 17-year old Conor:

“People say that about me,” Swift said that night in her apartment, “that I apparently buy houses near every boy I like—that’s a thing that I apparently do. If I like you I will apparently buy up the real-estate market just to freak you out so you leave me. Like that makes sense, like that’s something you should do.”

Well, okay. I think there might be more empowering ways to say that you're not codependent or obsessed with boys than by explaining, I would never be like that because boys don't like it, but whatever floats your rubber ducky.

But you see, that's the thing: the media doesn't (entirely) tease Taylor Swift because she is a girl, but because at 23-years old, she still acts like one. She's old enough to be contributing to a 401K, but she still has the public persona of My Little Pony. She immortalizes in slumber party soundtracks the kind of manic relationships - We're in love! It's the best! We broke up! It's the pits! - that is the stuff of junior high soap operas. Her current hit is about a 19-year old boy band member.

Swift's journaling of her love life in song is not uncommon among female singer-songwriters. Diverse performers - from Carly to Fiona, Ani to Alanis - have paved roads to success and artistic credibility with the detritus of romance.

The difference is, here's Taylor Swift at age 23.

Here's Alanis Morissette at age 20.

You catch my drift?

At the end of her Vanity Fair interview, Swift says she wants a guy who sees her for who she really is:

"If I could find someone who just looked at me like I'm a girl," she said, "like a girl they want to be their girlfriend, with all my accomplishments and my criticisms, without this big cartoon character that most people see me as because they don't know me ... I just want a guy to be dating me as a girl."

Better yet, Taylor, maybe he could date you as a woman.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About this blog

Scott Kearnan (@thewritestuffSK) is a Boston-based writer, editor, and communications consultant focusing on lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment. He's also a part-time smart aleck and buffalo wing connoisseur. "Media Remix" is where couch potatoes meet pop culture criticism. More »

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