What Don't You Like about Taylor Swift, Exactly?
Taylor Swift is just hours away from Prince-ing Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, and people are -- well, people are conflicted about it. It isn't that individuals are conflicted -- it's just that the music fans of the Valley are, to a [wo]man, either incredibly excited or aggressively, vocally indifferent.
Taylor Swift inspires that kind of reaction wherever she goes. She'll sell out an arena twice in as many days -- fill it with tween girls and teen fans who might never have had any desire to go to a concert before -- and leave everyone inside (parents aside) convinced they've had a life-changing experience.
But even more than most pop super-superstars she inspires her detractors to talk about why they aren't interested in having her change their lives. She's the face that's launched a thousand think pieces, and luckily for you, I'm not interested in writing another one. I'm just interested in knowing this: If you don't like Taylor Swift -- if she inspires something in you other than genuine indifference -- what is it that you dislike about her?
This one is a tough sell for me. Taylor Swift's music could certainly rouse anybody's distaste for big teen-pop songs as a genre, but it doesn't seem bad, offensive, or grating enough to justify a particular disgust for Taylor Swift relative to other teen-pop stars. I guess you could harbor a particular dislike for how uplifting and self-esteem-y it is, but that hardly seems like the worst thing going in tween pop in 2013.
Full disclosure: I'm pretty into "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," which is just something I'm going to have to deal with.
I'm sympathetic, personally, to the revisionist idea that Taylor Swift is not really writing about exes any more than the average pop star, but that might just be because my second-favorite album is Pinkerton .
In any case, because of her fame (and probably because she's a beautiful woman, and not Rivers Cuomo), each serial-monogamous step has been covered in unpleasant, name-naming detail by the tabloids. (The weird thing about all that coverage: It seems aimed in equal parts at people who can't get enough of it and people who profess to hate every word of it.)
I suspect this is what most people who don't like Taylor Swift don't like about Taylor Swift, but I could be wrong.
The anti-feminism (or feminism?)
Having spent three years as a graduate student in an English department, I've come to understand that "Is ______ a feminist?" is the culture-studies small-talk equivalent of "Is _____ going to win the Super Bowl this year?" People love asking it, and they love talking about it over and over, and I don't really have anything interesting to say about it.
Taylor Swift has gotten the treatment multiple times -- here's Jezebel on the "patriarchy-friendly, virginal, good, pure, feminine, pretty blonde girl that has been an American ideal for decades" -- and at this point, I think there are people out there who dislike her both for sounding like a feminist and sounding insufficiently like a feminist.
Taylor Swift is scheduled to perform tonight at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale.
Get the Music Newsletter