Whether you love her or you hate her, you probably have an opinion on Taylor Swift. Or maybe you have several opinions. A lot of us have conflicting ones. Basically, we’re just really confused about our feelings toward the singer and we just have to accept that. One hot debate around Swiftie is if she’s a good example of a feminist or not. Every few months or so we debate if her latest headline is a positive for women or a negative. The most recent fuel to the fire is Tay’s inclusion on the cover of Time‘s Person of the Year as one of “The Silence Breakers” responsible for the current iteration of the Me Too movement.
— TIME (@TIME) December 6, 2017
Time‘s choice for POTY was generally accepted as a great idea. We can even (sort of) forgive them the fact that they also wrote an entire piece on alleged sexual assaulter Donald Trump, because they called his denials a catalyst in the Me Too discussion. While the “Silence Breakers” article covered many victims’ stories, from hotel workers to celebrities, there were some who received more attention than others. One of those women was Taylor Swift.
Reasons why Taylor Swift is TIME’s Person of the Year:
– She stood up against sexual assault (and won)
– She countersued only for $1 and made her point
– She helped other victims to raise their voice
– She showed her financial support for other victims (like Kesha) #TIMEPOY pic.twitter.com/nRJLpIvlER
— Taylor Swift Facts (@TSwiftFCT) December 6, 2017
This summer, Taylor made headlines for taking a radio DJ to court for groping her at a photo-op in 2013. Taylor counter-sued the DJ for a symbolic one dollar and at the time said that the suit was more about empowering women and victims of sexual harassment and abuse. The singer also donated generously to several organizations that financially assist victims of assault. It was great to see Taylor use her voice, profile and wealth for the betterment of women and victims. At the time, she got major feminist points. But as has been proven time and time again: no one is a perfect feminist and very few people manage being #woke all the time. Especially those in the spotlight.
And Taylor is no exception. As Twitter users and journalists alike point out, Swift has feminist tendencies, but also makes some pretty bad moves when it comes to other women. Starting with how she treats them. One issue that is dominant in our culture is that of women tearing each other down to get ahead. This is wrong on a number of levels — we’ve been socialized to think that one person’s success means our own failure instead of being inspired by others doing well and building each other up. Taylor Swift is famous for several high-profile “feuds” with other women, including Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry which were particularly big this year.
People have also pointed out that this supposed “silence breaker” has done a lot of silencing and keeping silent herself. When neo-Nazis and white supremacists lauded Swift and her new music — particularly “Look What You Made Me Do” — Taylor made no response. Instead, she sent a Cease and Desist letter to a blogger who made the connection and called Swift out for not speaking out against white supremacy. Swift also did not endorse Hillary Clinton or condemn Donald Trump in the 2016 election or talk politics at all. Realistically, Taylor has no obligation to tell anyone her political views — that’s her right as an American citizen — but how can she be a breaker of silence if she stays quiet about those opinions?
Why is Taylor Swift on this cover? Is she finally breaking her loud election silence? Will she be supporting #BlackLivesMatter, ending slavery in Libya and/or ending the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar #Rohingya #TheSilenceBreakers #PersonOfTheYear #Time pic.twitter.com/eYn0LgLrIO
— TheRedQueen (@LaReinaLeida) December 6, 2017
Taylor Swift is on Time magazine’s cover honoring the silence breakers… I’d love to see her break her silence and condemn the Nazis that tout her as their aryan princess next!!
— Cassie (@cassieecamp) December 6, 2017
Yes, sexual assault is a bipartisan issue (Al Franken and Roy Moore have proven that), but in 2017, the Me Too movement is inexorably linked to Donald Trump, someone we’ve never heard Taylor Swift talk about. The big question here isn’t if Taylor Swift has added anything to the conversation around sexual harassment this year — she has — it’s if she really deserves to be one of the five people featured on the Time cover.
So Taylor Swift made the cover of Time’s Person of the Year for the #metoo movement but its creator Tatiana Burke, Rose McGowan, Terry Crews, Anthony Rapp and Asia Argento are missing from the cover? #TimePOTY pic.twitter.com/nN2XrGh49b
— Alexis McLaren (@alexismclaren) December 6, 2017
I understand her inclusion, but after all that’s happened this year, it REALLY rankles me that Time would put Taylor Swift on this cover over literally anyone else https://t.co/sS0I5Kdnqu
— Tyler McCall (@eiffeltyler) December 6, 2017
We also need to remember that tearing Taylor down is not a smart move on our parts either (again, we lose progress when we tear each other down). She says some important things in her interview. What is completely fair is acknowledging that she is not the motivation behind the Me Too movement or even a central piece. Yes, there may be a thousand women more qualified to grace the cover of Time and represent the “Silence Breakers” (the sad capitalist fact is that celebrity sells) but we can’t entirely dismiss Taylor Swift either. She’s a female voice and has the same right as everyone else to be heard.
Hey don’t tweet about “believing women” if you’re going to complain about Taylor Swift/Time Magazine.
Your support of women can’t be conditional.
— ali (@alibakerevans) December 6, 2017