Second Take: Taylor Swift plays the victim to hide manipulative personality
Taylor Swift’s most recent scandal involved song lyrics to Kanye West’s song “Famous,” but it’s not her first time defending her public image. (Miriam Bribiesca/Photo editor)
By Nina Crosby
Oct. 23, 2016 7:27 p.m.
Do not let the faux-feminism and fake country twang fool you: Taylor Swift is a snake. Swift has slithered among the music industry long before the iconic reveal by Kim Kardashian West.
Swift thrives off being a victim in everything she does. Whenever she’s not praised as America’s crowning glory, she’s seen as the precious little country girl who can do no wrong. But she’s done plenty wrong.
Swift’s career hinges on the emotional manipulation of mostly young, impressionable women who adhere to a heteronormative construct of good girls and bad boys. Swift continuously releases mediocre tracks that monetize past relationships, vaguely alluding to the trying times of adulthood or oozing pop trash with zero substance hidden in the catchy nonsense.
“Got a long list of ex-lovers / They’ll tell you I’m insane / ‘Cause you know I love the players / And you love the game” is about as real as Swift ever gets because she will not let you forget the men who “broke” her heart after a brief bout of celebrity romance. And yeah, she loves the game, especially when that game is being a victim.
Swift deludes her fans into believing that as a multi-millionaire at the ripe age of 26, she still experiences those everyday kind of struggles of growing up and finding yourself. Swift’s “I’m just like you” sentiment is rooted in Instagram updates hanging with A-list celebrity friends while pumping out lyrics about feeling young and carefree.
Of course, Swift isn’t all bad. She has become a prominent role model for young women, promoting messages of self-confidence and empowerment. Swift is known to give back to her fans by visiting hospitals, sending fans gifts and making personalized playlists for her Tumblr following.
Swift has also been cited as one of the most charitable celebrities, frequently donating to Red Cross and ill fans’ GoFundMe campaigns. Swift boasts an impressive list of 571 award nominations, 275 of which she has won, including ten Grammys. She is the youngest recipient of the Album of the Year award.
But Kanye West tried to warn us that fateful evening in 2009 when he boldly stepped onto that MTV stage to let Swift finish her speech and remind her that Beyoncé had the best music video of all time. West knew Swift was trouble when she walked in, but her victimhood was only growing stronger by the second. And now we’ve come to see the full manifestation of Swift’s trademark innocence defended by her vigilant “Swifties.”
Swift continued her victimized image with her Twitter feud with Nicki Minaj. When Minaj was addressing systematic racism and sexism in the music world in her Tweets, Minaj had to endure the ignorance of Swift’s wannabe feminist statements. Swift claimed it was wrong of Minaj to pit women against each other, completely missing Minaj’s nuanced argument and side-stepping the blame by claiming she had been a victim in the confusion.
Kardashian West released footage of Swift approving West’s “Famous” lyrics: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous.” After Swift feigned disgust at the song, Kardashian exposed Swift’s prior knowledge of the content, so Swift could no longer play innocent.
Outside of the infamous near-decade-long feud with West – and let’s be real, he did contribute a lot to her fame – Swift exploited pop culture and social media. Swift is a master manipulator: She plays into the American ideal of cherry red lips, blond tresses and a naive smile. However, underneath that well-manicured facade are scales and a forked tongue.
And while she would “very much like to be excluded from this narrative,” whether the narrative be Kardashian West’s dramatic video evidence of deceit or Swift’s uninspired media presence, Swift only has herself to blame for the growing tide against her bogus personality.
Her stagnant music is lame and if I have to hear another song from “1989,” there will definitely be some bad blood.