Is Taylor Swift a Feminist Now?

David Covucci, August 25, 2014 (Full disclosure: I am David Covucci):


Of course, that isn’t a terribly original sentiment. Iterations of that thought have been voiced for years. We’re all well aware Beyonce is less a woman than she is an endlessly focus-grouped approximation of what a woman would want a woman to be.

Effortlessly beautiful, fiercely independent, check ‘Yes’ if Destiny’s Child Beyonce no longer represents the ideals you wish to see with female society collectively and yourself individually.

It also could be age. You know, that whole older, wiser, not being a sniveling, materialistic shitty 20-something attitude that led to this moment.

It’s cool. I’m down with feminism. Fuck all men, indeed (no joke, we are terrible). I just think women should maybe be slightly more skeptical when a powerful movement is maybe being appropriated to advance a brand. Dub evs, Queen Bee. C’est la vie.

But what about a woman whose carefully crafted image is that of not having a carefully crafted image? Of whimsy and needlepoint. Crop tops and chamomile tea. And boys. So many boys. Boys whose are Mine and Mean and Belong With Me–errr… Her.

What about Taylor Swift? Is she a feminist now? An in-depth feature in The Guardian wants to know if the 24-year-old pop princess has like maybe, kinda, sorta, somewhat shed her image of teenage girl dilettante for that of empowered woman.

Well, if it did, it began with a boy.

At this year’s [Grammys], she seemed determined to eclipse [last year’s performance] with a rendition of the bruised All Too Well, a song allegedly inspired by her relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal. Her performance was fierce and focused. When she finished, she turned from the piano and faced the audience with an intent gaze of defiance and held it for several seconds. The message was clear: no more the victim.

Sasha Fierce indeed. Now, with 1989, her new album, has our forever forlorn Franny permanently ditched that ethos in the name of empowerment?

But 1989, as she explains, is shorter on the “jilted, sad, pining”. Instead, “it’s the phase after that, when you go out into the world and make changes in your life on your own terms, make friends on your own terms, without [literally] saying ‘C’mon girls, we can do it on our own!’”

Ipso Swifacto, feminist.

Those words will kindle the hopes of those who’ve suspected Swift has experienced some sort of feminist awakening over the last few months. Recently, she was spotted browsing the feminist section of a Manhattan book shop.

Look, I’m currently rereading Lolita, so I really don’t like the insinuation that your choices in books belies a greater personality shift at large. But yea, in this case, sure. I’m sure What to Expect When People Are Expecting You to Be A Feminist was très useful. As are Swift’s new feminist besties. Feministies, I you will allow me.

Even more heartening has been the array of BFFs filling her Instagram feed, Lorde and Lena Dunham among them.

Yes, yes. No more baking pies for the boys with Ann Coulter. It’s learning to cook real entrees with Lorde. Teach a woman to fish, etc.

Tay, just tell us yourself.

“As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all. Becoming friends with Lena – without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for – has made me realise that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so.”

So like, maybe? I guess we’ll know when we listen to 1989. See? It sells.

But it also could be age.

[Image via Shutterstock]