Throwing Shade

Shake it off: Why I stopped throwing so much shade at Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift performs in Times Square during New Year's Eve celebrations on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014 in New York.
Taylor Swift performs in Times Square during New Year's Eve celebrations on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014 in New York. Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

The 23-year-old me would roll my eyes at Taylor Swift. The 24-year-old me would use harsh words to discuss the pop singer's lack of writing about anything besides the other male artists that make up her questionable reputation. If you would've asked me how I felt about Swift last week, I would've told you that she is still annoying even though "Shake It Off" is one of the most catchy tunes I've ever downloaded.

Swift has come a long way since she wrote about the teardrops on her guitar and whichever celebrity she was never getting back together with (like, ever). I had an issue with the way she always seemed to be writing about a man or a relationship. Swift wore her heart on her sleeve in the wrong kind of way. Her lyrics, laced with heartbreak and scorn, sounded immature. She made a reputation for herself as being the girl who wrote songs about every Tom, Dick and Harry she went on a date with.

I couldn't fathom why Swift felt it necessary to capitalize on relationships that never lasted. She made herself sound crazy and desperate, and she was constantly adding names of ghosts of lovers pasts to her little black book. When would she realize she was too old to be singing cutesy country-pop lyrics about Jake Gyllenhaal and John Mayer?

This week, I realized that I was wrong about Taylor Swift, and I was definitely part of the problem.

If Taylor Swift were a man, she would be called a lyrical genius--much like society praises Marshall Mathers and John Mayer. Eminem released a freestyle rap this week that further confirmed his passion for lyricizing about beating women when he said he would punch Lana Del Rey in the face repeatedly. In past songs, the hip-hop artist has rapped about domestic abuse and tying a lover to the bed and setting the house on fire in the Rihanna hit "Love the way you lie."

John Mayer, one of Taylor Swift's ex-flings, also writes music about his past relationships all the time. "Heartbreak Warfare," my favorite Mayer tune, is reportedly about his relationship with Jennifer Anniston. Mayer has also written songs about Swift and Jessica Simpson.

If she were a man, her lyrics would be emotional, catchy and strong. She would be championed as a pioneer in the music industry. After all, 1989 is the only platinum album so far this year. I've never seen Swift as empowering, although she is a role model for many young girls--I've always thought of her as thirsty or annoying. Too often, society criticizes women for the same thing we praise men for. What's even worse? Oftentimes, we all participate in the double standard of a male-dominated society without even realizing we're becoming part of the problem.

I don't much care of Swift's music, taste in men or taste in fashion, but I will quit throwing shade at her. She's a powerful young woman who has made her way into the music industry and proven herself that she is relevant, even if the haters are gonna hate.

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