Taylor Swift is mad, & we should at least respect that anger

We shouldn’t forget the singer’s humanity just because she’s famous

Like any other woman, Swift is entitled to resent sexism against her.

Last week, Taylor Swift called out the Netflix series Ginny & Georgia for making a sexist joke at her expense. Unsurprisingly, Swift’s criticism spurred a divisive response online. Some are interpreting it as a #girlboss moment, applauding Swift for her candour. Others think she can’t take a joke

One thing we all seem to be forgetting, something we always forget when it comes to female celebrities, is that Swift is human too.

A lot can be said about Taylor Swift’s feminism. We can talk about how she has racist tendencies. We can talk about her being blind to class privilege. We can talk about her commodifying feminism to make a profit. We can discuss all of those valid criticisms, but none of that will change the fact that she is a human woman who’s allowed to feel angry when people degrade her. 

The reference on Ginny and Georgia to Swift’s past relationships is nothing short of slut-shaming, regardless of the fact that the joke was written by two women. It’s a joke that, if we were to hear it about a friend of ours—or ourselves—we would be just as upset as Swift. It says a lot about how we view women’s sexualities that we’re expected to find it funny in the first place.

Swift, throughout her deeply problematic stardom, is still a woman who has been hypersexualized, infantilized, and ridiculed for doing normal things like dating a bunch of guys in her twenties. She’s allowed to get upset on her Twitter account because people won’t stop giving her shit for it a decade later.

She’s also not cancelling Netflix, and no one should be saying that she is. Cancel culture is not out to get you. Period. People can criticize and be hurt by the things you love without you throwing yourself a pity party because they’re ‘cancelling’ it.  Swift is justified in criticizing the platform, one she has worked closely within the recent past, for its role in perpetuating the tired trope of slut-shaming female celebrities. Netflix isn’t going anywhere.

Aside from the women who may be critiquing Swift for expressing her emotions, I’m also immensely angry with the men who feel the need to write Op-Eds about her not being able to take a joke.

Men don’t get to decide when and how sexism happens. Men don’t get to decide what is too big or too small to elicit a negative emotional reaction from a woman. In fact, when they do these things, they’re actively contributing to sexism.

There are heaps and heaps of ways that we can talk about how problematic Taylor Swift is, but we need to stop implying that she doesn’t experience sexism. She does—as all women do—and, like any other woman, she’s allowed to be pissed about it.

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