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Here's Why Taylor Swift Will Never Be Called a Whore

By Mish Way

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I know this puts me in the minority, but I've never been a huge Taylor Swift fan. It’s great that she's the highest grossing pop star under the age of 30 and that she's worth $56 million and everything, but her music is dog-doo awful town. The point is her massive popularity affords Swift an equally massive amount of power over what her fans—often young women—think, and with great power comes great responsibility.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, Ken Baker of E! News tweeted this image:

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat here so I don't have a bunch of fellow feminists jumping down my throat: Neither Taylor Swift nor Miley Cyrus are “sluts.” As Ryan O’Connell points out: “While it’s nice that people are starting to realize that calling Miley Cyrus a slut is bad news bears, that doesn’t mean we should deflect all of that sexist energy to Taylor Swift.” I agree completely! And what is a "slut" anyway? Especially with regards to giant pop stars? I'm pretty sure that being slutty or not slutty has nothing to do with a woman’s musical abilities. But that doesn't stop us from judging a female musician on her neckline.

My problem with Taylor Swift is her lyrics. It's not that she only writes about boys and love (even though I find this problematic and totally unprogressive). 

It’s that Taylor Swift slut-shames other women constantly and no one says anything about it. 

Here's a fun little thought experiment. Try to think of a Taylor Swift song that isn't about boys and boyfriends and lovey-dovey girl feelings. In her songs, romantic relationships usually end because of the actions of another woman. 

When I read the lyrics for “Better Than Revenge,” I want to throw a copy of Lenora Tanenbaum’s Slut at Swift’s head hard enough to knock some sense into her peabrain: 

“She’s not a saint and she’s not what you think/She’s an actress, whoa/She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress, whoa.” 

If this isn’t considered slut-shaming, I don't know what is. Through out the song, Swift pegs the blame for her boyfriend leaving her for a nameless actress (read: Camilla Belle). This does two things: It eliminates the boyfriend's agency (after all, he had no part in this since this mattress-rocking slut seduced him with her evilness), and also gives the listener front row seats to a vicious girl-on-girl cat fight.

Another depressing sexual dichotomy found in Swift’s songs is the virgin/whore thing. We’ve seen it repeated over and over, this awful stereotyping which leaves women stuck in a binary opposition that reduces us down to our sexuality. It appears visually in the music video for her break-out hit, “You Belong With Me,” when the bad-girl in sexy-time clothes makes out with a dude as good-girl Swift lamps in the friend zone. 

These songs are old and Swift has stopping slut-shaming so bluntly on her new record Red. However, in “Girl At Home,” Swift softly implies that women who sleep with men with girlfriends are idiots, and in “Sad Beautiful Tragic” she paints a clear image of the “good girls” being “hopeful they’ll be and long they’ll wait.”

Bottom line: How long have we been battling with the term "slut?" It's one of those words that when you're self-proclaimed it's okay, but when you are called out as one, it's insulting. Let's reinvent the word "slut" or just shut up with it all together. I don’t expect Swift to stop writing songs solely about love and romance either. I mean, what else is she going to write about? With $56 million in the bank she’s worth more than the income of some small cities, so she can definitely afford health care, new clothes, or whatever-the-hell else she wants. 

Maybe love is the only thing plaguing her and it’s the most identifiable topic for a pop star to croon about. However, if I’m going to jump to her side when some dingus from E! News calls her a slut, I would hope she does the same for other women out there. Women who aren’t actually sluts at all, but just girls living their sexual lives through love and blow jobs, just like Swift does.

 

Mish is in White Lung, but she's also our Senior Women's Correspondent. You should follow her on Twitter - @myszkaway

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