Taylor Swift Can't Just Shake It Off
On Tuesday, May 8th, country-sweetheart-turned-wannabe-bad-girl Taylor Swift kicked off the long-awaited tour for her most recent album, Reputation.
The first show of the tour was in Glendale, Arizona, and has already made significant waves on social media after reports that Katy Perry, one of Swift’s many longtime nemeses, sent the singer a literal olive branch and a note offering a truce of sorts, to end their years-long feud that gave us diss tracks like Swift’s “Bad Blood” and Perry’s “Swish Swish.”
Perhaps more significantly, Swift apparently took the time to address all of the snake decor that was strategically featured during the kickoff concert (and presumably for the rest of the tour), including snake imagery on the big screens, a snake microphone and more, according to People, by making the following speech:
(Watch the full snake speech here.)
Unless you live under a rock, you can gather that this cute little pep talk is a direct reference to Swift’s even longer feud with Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian-West. If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, here’s a short history of it:
Taylor and Kanye West, who infamously interrupted her 2009 VMAs speech for Best Music Video, were seemingly on good terms for some amount of time despite that one blip in their history. However, that changed when Kanye released the music video for his song “Famous,” where Taylor is featured as one of the nude wax figures in bed with him. One prominent lyric became the center of controversy, sparking a brand new feud between Tay and Ye: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous.”
Taylor then came out with a statement about how she did not approve of this lyric, while Kanye and Kim insisted she had. The Swift fandom showed unparalleled anger with Kanye, which I can only imagine was because he’d seemingly disrupted Taylor’s long-standing “good girl” image with the derogatory lyric. However, Taylor’s pity party came to an abrupt halt when Kim took it upon herself to post video footage from months prior to the song’s release to her Snapchat story, proving that Kanye had, in fact, called Taylor and asked her permission to put in the lyric, to which she appeared to enthusiastically approve.
How quickly the mighty fall. America’s sweetheart Taylor Swift soon became the biggest joke of 2016 on social media, at the hands of no other than her 2009 archnemesis. Her instagram comments quickly filled with the snake emoji after a tweet from Kim suggesting Taylor was a snake for lying about not knowing of the lyric. Avid Swift-haters rejoiced in the revelation that her true character had finally been exposed after years of slamming exes in her lyrics, having extensive drama with other celebs, a distinctively racist music video, and pushing a narrative of white feminism that intersectional feminists everywhere have serious issues with. The hashtags #KimExposedTaylorParty and #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty quickly became trending on Twitter.
After Taylor’s final word on the matter, an Instagram post infamously asking to be “excluded from this narrative” that has since been removed, she went relatively quiet in the media. In early 2017, Swift announced the upcoming release of Reputation and dropped the “Look What You Made Me Do” single. The video premiered at the VMAs days later, bursting at the seams with imagery of Swift’s self-pity, and brought with it an entirely new slew of hatred against the singer.
Overall, besides the hardcore Swifties that haven’t drifted away from Taylor just yet, not everyone seemed or seems all that impressed with the Reputation phase, the all-black wardrobe and edgy dark lipstick is such a far cry from the Taylor we saw in the early “Teardrops On My Guitar” days or prancing around in a tutu in the “Shake It Off” video. Not only that, the routine has gotten boring, an endless cycle of diss tracks, backpedaling, pretending she’s moved past it when she clearly hasn’t, Reputation didn’t get the most favorable album reviews as her prior work did, and people generally seem to be exhausted of Swift’s rehashing of old drama.
And who can blame them? It’s 2018, and we live in a society that’s endlessly angry at a significant event on a particular day, but by the next has moved onto another issue entirely. After the initial backlash against Swift for the recorded phone call, the talk eventually petered out after just a few days. The only person who seems to still be dwelling on it, unsurprisingly, is Swift herself.
It’s undeniable that Taylor’s got one of the biggest platforms in the music industry, so why use it to perpetuate drama that you should’ve left in 2016? Since then, Swift has won a sexual assault trial in 2017 against a radio DJ who was convicted of groping her in a photo op. In the same year, singer Kesha finally released the song “Praying” for the first time in years after her long battle with her alleged abuser, producer Dr. Luke, and it soon became the anthem for the #MeToo campaign. It’s hard to say why Swift chose to use her platform to drag out the Kimye drama when she could have just as easily followed suit with Kesha, using her music as a way to speak out against sexual assault, one of the most prevalent issues in the entertainment industry as of late.
It may sound harsh, but the feeble, innocent, “I’m-just-a-victim-who-was-bullied” act is tired. For someone that consistently reminds everyone that she wants to be excluded from the narrative, drawing out the same old story isn’t going to keep her career thriving. If Taylor thinks she’s misunderstood, she’s sadly mistaken. She’s completely transparent, and has shown her total inability to cope with the fact that she didn’t get the final say in the Kimye feud. Most celebs would’ve dropped it by now, but Tay is still trying to profit off of it two years later -- basing an entire album and tour on a bad-girl “reputation” that she never had to begin with, giving anti-bullying speeches that call out Kim while the rest of the world is ready to move on, and overall grasping at straws, hoping that her fans keep high attendance to her pity party. She hasn’t lost her platform yet. There’s still hope for her to continue to have a thriving career and go back to the sickeningly-sweet hopeless romantic Taylor we all know she is deep down, if she can just follow her own lyrical advice and shake it off already.