BY ALEXANDRA TIRADO OROPEZA
Calling out Taylor Swift for anything these days is not a wise decision. You can expect encounters with millions of “Swifties” defending her until the very end. You’ll be challenged by a group of feminists claiming that Taylor is a great feminist role model. Swift’s new artistic chapter is focused on embracing any kind of shade thrown her way, so complaining about her is counterproductive. Nevertheless, in a world full of opinionated Swifties, it is important to voice the inconsistencies of their heroine.
In a matter of days, Taylor Swift’s new song “Look What You Made Me Do” from her new album Reputation has broken a lot of records, including most viewed video on Youtube within its first 24 hours of release. The new song gets the unofficial record for the pettiest Taylor Swift single since it has challenged everything she has said she stands for in the past.
The single cannot be described as anything but a well-planned vendetta with a catchy chorus.
In just the first 20 seconds of the video, the first stab is taken when Swift is depicted crawling out of her own tomb and the song makes a reference to her ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris. While she is dancing in the graveyard, a tombstone with the name Nils Sjoberg can be spotted in the background, which is the alias Swift used when she wrote Calvin’s song “This Is What You Came For.” From there, it just snowballs into an extravaganza of gossip and feud references so thick that you can hardly keep up. With well-placed items and costumes, Swift disses Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Spotify, Tom Hiddleston and even herself in the process. What is masked as a ballsy and stand-offish move, and definitely as an Easter egg hunt of gossip for the fans, is actually one of Taylor’s favorite moves to get the ball back in her court after she has dropped it–- and it has been for some time.
One of the most prominent lines of the song is a recording by Swift herself which states “Sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ‘cause she’s dead.” After that, there is a scene that depicts Taylor rising above versions of herself from past years. Upon reflection, one could conclude that what we “made her do” is metaphorically kill the old naive, sweet version of herself and turn her into a vengeful femme fatale. Did we, though?
This is not the first time that Swift has gone full revenge mode in one of her albums. Every single album has at least one revenge-related song in it. She has been known to be vicious with her ex-boyfriends by publicly shaming them with her songs and making clever attempts to make it obvious who it was intended for. No one could forget the whole Joe Jonas era with her Fearless “Forever & Always” song or her not-so-conspicuous jab at John Mayer with “Dear John” in Sparks Fly. Either by just mentioning it or by putting out a song to serve as a means of public vengeance on someone who wronged her, Swift is always careful to include an ode to revenge. This trend of hers doesn’t limit itself to men, but also applies to women who have crossed her.
Swift was hailed a feminist heroine for winning a trial over a man who grabbed her butt in an interview. Swift won a total of one dollar for the settlement, and promised she would “make donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims.” This gesture is really grand, which is why it’s such a shame to see that Taylor works so hard to destroy the reputation of women who don’t play to the beat of her drum. Ironic, isn’t it?
Among these ladies are Camilla Belle, who got a nod during Swift’s song “Better than Revenge” from Sparks Fly, Kim Kardashian in “Look What You Made Me Do,” and notably Katy Perry, who is rumored to have been the inspiration behind 1989’s “Bad Blood.” Hardly a feminist move.
So, what we made her do is further the narrative that Swift has been feeding the world for years — and I personally would really like to be “excluded from it.” Whether is through the pretense of art, feminism or fan love, Swift seeks to shield herself from the same criticism she keeps putting onto other people. In the end, it is all a controlled show to display an image of herself that doesn’t really align with the things she does. Everybody likes the idea of the victim becoming the saviour, which is why it is so complicated to criticize Taylor Swift nowadays. But, after all of her recent antics, that is exactly what she made me do.
Alexandra Tirado Oropeza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.