The Danger Of Taylor

Isn’t Taylor Swift amazing? Not only is she beautiful, but she’s a very talented musician and song-writer and an excellent business woman, all presented in the manner of a humble representation of every woman in the world.  Gosh.

She should be everything that makes a perfect role model for kids, but I’m beginning to think that she really isn’t.  The reason for that is her treatment of people.  I’ll admit here that I am partially bitter, because I recognise the situation that Taylor Swift’s latest ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris finds himself in from personal experience.  However, this isn’t just about her treatment of men – it’s about her treatment of people in general.

Taylor’s relationships are well known.  They’re all conducted in the public eye with famous men who’s stars are in the ascendency.  This started with Joe Jonas at the peak of The Jonas Brothers fame after the release of Camp Rock in 2008.  She then moved on to namesake Taylor Lautner months after the first of the Twilight phenomenon films was released.

John Mayer, and a convenient number of concert duets, came next.  Once he upset her, she moved on to Jake Gyllenhaal in time for the release of her third album before getting all political with Conor Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  After he was jettisoned she moved on to Harry Styles who was, at the time, one fifth of the biggest boy band in the world and then it was on to the biggest DJ in the world, Calvin Harris.

Two weeks after ending a 15 month relationship with him, she’s prancing around like nothing has happened with Tom Hiddleston, the guy who is favourite to be the next James Bond.

Many of the relationships were short lived but all came with high profile photo opportunities.  Whether or not the men were or are being used physically and / or emotionally, they were being used for publicity.  Obviously it’s just coincidence that Tom Hiddleston’s publicist Luke Windsor, started to follow Taylor Swift’s PR, Tree Paine, on Twitter just before the pictures of the pair kissing on the beach were released.  Taylor did say about her relationship with Harris that it was “the one thing that’s been mine about my personal life” so such publicity and plastering it all over social media is just unfortunate.

Obviously.

Let’s touch on Calvin Harris here.  After is breakup with Taylor he tweeted:

The only truth is that a relationship came to an end & what remains is a huge amount of love and respect.

The tweet no longer exists, presumably because Taylor’s actions with Hiddleston actually show a complete lack of either love or respect.  It’s despicable.  Whatever the reason for the Taylor / Calvin split, turning things round that quickly show, to me, absolutely no ability to make meaningful emotional connections, backing up the theory that the relationships are out of convenience.

I’m sure feminists (well, some of them) will jump up and down declaring Taylor a strong woman and that I’m scared of her power and how she empowers women.  I’m not, I feel sorry for her.  Her use of people isn’t just restricted to the men in her life.

Take the Bad Blood video, featuring Taylor’s friends in singers Hayley Williams and Ellie Goulding, models Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss and Cindie Crawford, model and actress Cara Deviligne, actresses Ellen Pompeo, Serayah, Mariska Hargitay, Hailee Steinfeld, Jessica Alba and Lena Dunham, Victoria’s Secret Angels Martha Hunt and Lily Aldridge and Disney Channel famers Selena Gomez and Zendaya and, finally, rapper Kendrick Lamar.  It wasn’t just stock actors and actresses, it was a plethora of famous people for a short music video and the publicity worked – even I had to check it out and I’m not a fan of Swift’s later music.  Sure, she may have wanted to work with all her famous friends and have a laugh, but I’m sure the promotional effect was not lost on Miss Swift.

(Even Taylor’s 4th July celebrations show a distinct lack of family and childhood friends.  Where are all the ordinary people?)

Some of these Bad Blood stars plus whatever Kylie Jenner is and tennis player Serena Williams were introduced to the crowd at Taylor’s Hyde Park show last year.  As noted by a old fan of Taylor’s at gonetodeadlock.com:

Last month I went to see Taylor Swift at Hyde Park. It was the third time I’d seen her live. I felt like I was witnessing a moment, that people would be mentioning Taylor Swift at Hyde Park for twenty years. But something felt off. Throughout the concert Taylor Swift talked about her friends. Videos were shown of all of Taylor’s friends talking about how great Taylor was. Taylor’s friends (all beautiful, all famous, clever mix of ethnicities and industry specialisms) came out and walked out during the catwalk of Style so the best bit of the song was missed out. I stood through and wailed along like everyone else, but was aware that everyone was drunk. I wondered how many people recognised the bits of Enchanted in Wildest Dreams.

As also pointed out in that post, even Nicki Minaj not being nominated for an award was all about Taylor.  Not only was Taylor to blame (according to Taylor) but she could be the person to make it better.  The article points out that this is a case of intersectional feminism and, as I alluded to earlier, many will find Taylor’s ability to lock (at least) lips with a steady stream of A-Listers is empowering to women.  Unfortunately, though, her music and actions somewhat destroy the thought that Ms Swift has any idea at all about what feminism actually is, if indeed it had crossed her mind.

But here’s the crux of why all this is dangerous.  I believe it started with Swift’s song “Shake It Off”.  I’m not one for complaining too much about Swift only dating people so she can write songs about them.  I don’t think she’s that calculating and can understand that all songwriters need to get their inspiration from somewhere, even if John Mayer did call it “cheap” and “lousy”.

When Swift started her mainstream career, her songs were a delicate balance of pop and country-twang with dresses and princesses.  It mirrored her early self-deprecating but defiant image.

However, when Shake It Off was just about to hit our ears, Swift uttered this in a promo clip:

People can say whatever they want about us. At any time. And we cannot control that. The only thing we can control is our reaction to it. And I figure that we have two options. You can either let it get to you, let it change you, let it make you bitter or not trust people. Option two is, you just shake it off.

While the message of not always being able to do things about others negative comments of you is probably reasonable in one sense, her naivety in simply brushing off negative comment and only care about yourself is staggering because that’s not the way the world works.

“Haters gonna hate” is not peculiar to Swift, it’s a modern tautophrase ubiquitous in society.  The most irritating thing about it is that it’s staggeringly simple to say but it’s not how anyone actually lives, whatever they think.  Don’t believe me? Tell me your reaction to the sentence given to not-quite-rapist Brock Turner, or how you felt when Isis attacked the Bataclan in Paris.

That reaction shows clearly an obvious moral reality that we don’t get to simply make up our own rules about what is right and wrong.  Hating is necessary.  It’s why we fight to break the barriers of racism and sexism and why we frown on things like adultery.  Exaggerated, but to not care about people hating means that those acts committed by terrorists bare little social cost.  Everyone should realise the stupidity of that.

Having haters causes us to better ourselves.  It allows is to look at our behaviour and become more empathetic.  If everyone does this, the world becomes a better place.  The opposite is also true.

Taylor Swift’s current sentiment in not just her music but in how she conducts herself (which I believe is probably now statistically relevant) is a type of moral narcissism that says that the only person who is important is yourself.

And this bothers me massively because it’s not just impressionable kids that Taylor has influence over, it’s grown women.

Even the fact that she tells her fans to come to gigs dressed as her…  It’s a perpetuation of Taylor The Role Model or Taylor The Aspiration.

I used to admire Taylor Swift for her business prowess, as well as having a guilty pleasure that I quite enjoyed her music.  Now she worries me, because she uses her influence and her initial image to set standards that many will be unable to reach while suggesting that the way to get there is to just worry about yourself.  The most important thing in Taylor’s Universe is Taylor, and she appears to be passing that narcissistic idea of “me first” to others.

That attitude hurts people, and it’s not OK.  Taylor is dangerous.

Fire in the disco
Fire in the taco bell
Fire in the disco
Fire in the gates of hell

Don’t you want to know how we keep starting fires?
It’s my desire, It’s my desire, It’s my desire

Don’t you want to know how we keep starting fires?
It’s my desire, It’s my desire, It’s my desire

Danger! Danger! High Voltage!
When we touch, When we kiss
Danger! Danger! High Voltage!
When we touch, when we kiss
When we touch

Danger! Danger! High Voltage!
When we touch, When we kiss
Danger! Danger! High Voltage!
When we touch, when we kiss
When we touch, when we kiss

Don’t you want to know how we keep starting fires?
It’s my desire, It’s my desire

Don’t you want to know how we keep starting fires?
It’s my desire, It’s my desire

Danger! Danger! High Voltage!
When we touch, When we kiss
Danger! Danger! High Voltage!
When we touch, when we kiss
When we touch

Danger! Danger! High Voltage!
When we touch, When we kiss
Danger! Danger! High Voltage!
When we touch, when we kiss
When we touch, when we kiss

No more

Fire in the disco
Fire in the disco
Fire in the taco bell
Fire in the disco
Fire in the disco
Fire in the gates of Hell

Gates of Hell

Danger! High Voltage! by Electric Six

 

 

Comments 4

  1. Eleanor Parks

    I don’t follow Taylor Swift, nor am I a fan. However, your post rings true to me about what I see in her. I tend to be turned off by “obvious” people, those who are beautiful and/or handsome and not only know it, but act like it. To me, Taylor is so obvious! Not only that, but she seems to get involved in other people’s business for her own gain. The name of the star escapes me, but she was trying to get out of her music contract because she said that her manager and producer sexually assaulted her. Who should pop up with an offer of financial help for her legal costs? Why, good old Taylor, of course! I would not be so cynical if it had been a private gesture, but it was all over the news!

    • Michael

      Ah, yes – Kesha. Or, formerly and ironically, Ke$ha. I saw that her mother (rather than her) thanked a number of celebs including Taylor, but that it was only Taylor’s publicist who contacted Rolling Stone to tell them that she was helping.

      If my blog was famous enough, it struck me as I was writing this that people may jump to Taylor’s defence. She’s just an amazing person with a heart of gold. However, you’re right about it being the publicity. Even if she does these things for the right reasons, it’s so easy to say otherwise as I’ve proved. And then the fact that people buy in to it bothers me!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this thought-provoking, comprehensive assessment…your point of view is really intriguing, and you write/express yourself so wonderfully-well…great writing! There’s so much I could say (being as long-winded as I’m inclined to be), but I will leave it at this…I believe that anyone in the entertainment business is suspect when it comes to dispensing lessons for life (whether they espouse “sex, drugs, and rock and roll”–or spiritual aims)…it’s not real, they don’t live in the real world…they live in a world where everything is crafted, and spun, and reframed, and skewed to create buzz….to increase sales…
    As for Taylor Swift (I have to admit, I know who she is, but I don’t follow her music or romantic escapades), she is human and any mistakes she is making, she is making them on a much larger scale, by virtue of her celebrity….after reading your post, I’m wondering if she is scared of the moment it will all fall away…that moment that she falls from grace/the spotlight and–desperately clinging to her position–finds that her carefully-manicured image is chipping and so obviously ragged around the edges….what a lonely place to be…
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts…I just love what you have to say…keep it up 🙂

    • Michael

      Hey Truly, thanks for all your comments. I think you make a good point about the fragility of celebrity and making the most of it while it lasts. I believe celebrities should have a right to a personal life without someone like me poking my nose in. (Well, those of them that aren’t celebrities only because they’re famous, which seems to be a thing nowadays.) However, when you choose to play out your entire life (rather than just what you’re famous for) and put opinions in the spotlight I think any celebrity has a certain responsibility to act appropriately as a role model because people will look at them for inspiration. It’s the same with anyone I guess, but more so for those with more influence.

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