By: Elizabeth Klein
Last week, Taylor Swift shocked her fans with an Instagram post endorsing two democratic congressmen running for office in Tennessee. Finally breaking the political silence that has lasted her entire career, Taylor urged her Tennessee followers to vote for Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper over the conservative Marsha Blackburn. While many of her liberal fans have praised her for this move, others have questioned whether or not her political activism is a little too late. Where was this energy in 2016 when Donald Trump was about to be elected? We have to understand, however, that Taylor is a busy woman. To assuage feelings of disappointment at her inaction (at a time when action was needed the most), I’ve come up with a helpful list of things Taylor Swift was doing in 2016 that prevented her from speaking up against Donald Trump’s egregious agenda:
Playing the Victim
Insert snake emoji here. You know what I’m talking about. The infamous Kim-Kanye-Taylor feud was not a one-off—Taylor’s made a career out of playing the victim. The one who was wronged constantly by her ex-boyfriends. The one who was hurt incessantly by the media. The one who was insulted relentlessly by other, jealous celebs.
Instead of using 2016 to flip the script and give herself a new, intriguing role that accepted and embodied the criticism she’s been facing her entire career, she fell back into the old pattern of blaming everyone but herself. So it’s understandable that she didn’t speak out against Donald Trump’s election that year. It’s hard to focus on political activism when you’re spending all your time crying about how the world is unfair and everybody’s being mean to you.
Being a White Feminist
Taylor’s 2016 schedule was jam-packed with feminist rallies and events. By this, I mean she hung out with her other tall, white, beautiful girlfriends and posted about it on social media. Doesn’t sound like feminism to you? Me neither, but Taylor’s brand of feminism—or lack thereof—basically boils down to women supporting women. Nothing more. (What can we expect from someone whose feminist role model is Lena Dunham?) She spent much of the election year honing this faulty concept by taking personally Nicki Minaj’s comment that skinnier women are more likely to be given music awards and attempting to label a song that covered her petty feud with another pop star as “feminist.”
Like a modern-day Gloria Steinem.
Pandering to Her Right-Wing Audience
There’s a reason why so many conservatives felt betrayed by Taylor’s post: they thought she was one of them. According to the Washington Post, it all started in 2011 when 4chan users began to believe that Taylor Swift had let the website name her cat Meredith. After that, things only escalated. 4chan referred to Taylor as “our girl,” and most conservatives thought she was on their side. To be fair, she didn’t exactly go out of her way to deny it. Remember that time when a small liberal website called PopFront was like, “Hey, Taylor Swift might be a white supremacist,” and then Taylor Swift was like, “Instead of confirming I’m not a white supremacist, I’m just gonna sue you ‘cause that’s easier.”
Business-wise, choosing not to denounce conservatism and alienate a large part of her audience isn’t a bad move. After all, most of Taylor’s fanbase is located in the rural West and Midwest, which can tend to run a bit more conservative. But I wonder what happens to your soul when you choose not to clarify the fact that you aren’t a neo-Nazi to sell more albums….
Being an Only Okay Singer
Combine an unimpressive vocal range with a plain-jane,d csd cs 44w country-pop inflection and add in a problem with breath control that has persisted throughout an entire career, and you get a weak singing voice that sounds a little better than listening to Taylor Swift.
It takes hard work to be that mediocre and still sell out arenas around the world. You go, Taylor!
See? Celebrities are just like us, and sometimes, all that hard work can make them forget about their responsibility as international role models to do all they can in ensuring that the fate of their country does not land in the hands of a politician who treats government like his reality TV show. While I’m sure Taylor wanted more than anything to use her enormous platform as one of the most popular artists in existence to advocate for what’s right and just, she just couldn’t make it work. As you can see, she had a pretty busy schedule.