She Pop: Taylor Swift Wants To Ban Access To Your Lady Bits

Ladies, gentlemen: it is time to discuss the pernicious influence of Taylor Swift on our society today.

Oh, I know. I've heard all the pro-Taylor propaganda - about how she's a "good role model," and an antidote to your Lohans or your Hiltons or your Gagas or whatever other female celebrities are being held up as examples of Moral Decay this week. Taylor is so SWEET. Taylor is so CUTE. Did you SEE that video where Taylor was insanely obsessed with that one boy but could not possibly be with him because she had GLASSES? Unlike that slutty mean POPULAR girl, who had the temerity to date a dude and disagree with him at times and be more socially adept than Video-Taylor! Clearly, Taylor speaks for us all! 

Except, um, not really. Actually, I would argue that "You Belong To Me" song and/or video is a triumph of girl-on-girl sexism. Starting with the first verse ("She's going off about something that you said / She doesn't get your humor like I do") - I mean, a girl EXPRESSING ANGER? To her BOYFRIEND? Because he MADE A JOKE THAT SHE FOUND INSENSITIVE OR MAYBE JUST ANNOYING? How DARE SHE - it put my hair thoroughly on end, with Taylor pleading over and over again for a boy to just go ahead and dump a girl (who apparently has goals in life outside of obsessively working to please this one dude), in favor of Taylor (who doesn't). I mean, I know we're supposed to be rooting for Taylor, because GLASSES, but this whole thing whereby girls who do not conceive of themselves as traditionally attractive deal with this by hating on girls who they think are prettier is just really repulsive to me, and I can't stand it, especially when it's framed as "empowering" rather than just insecure and gross. You have a problem with how limiting the mainstream beauty standard is? Fine. TALK ABOUT THAT. I will agree with you. But slamming "ugly" girls and slamming "pretty" girls both amount to slamming girls. So, you know. Less of that, please. 

ANYWAY. Taylor has a new video out now! And it has sort of crystallized all of the many things about her that I dislike so intensely. It has her wandering around in a white dress, barefoot and doe-eyed, looking like a little cartoon lamb that was magically given human form a la The Last Unicorn, and reminiscing about her awesome friend Abigail that she met in high school. Oh, the times they had! For example: they didn't like the other girls at the school! ("They think they're so cool." Ugh. Taylor. Again. REALLY?) Oh, and they both had boyfriends. And their relationships with their boyfriends worked out so as to provide a Moral Parable For Our Times! 

"Abigail," as you can see in the video, goes on a date with a boy. Everything is going wonderfully, with the little CGI fireflies and the CGI full moon and the disturbingly CGI-looking Taylor cavorting in the pastoral landscape with her White Dress Of Virtue And Innocence while she waits for all her woodland friends to show up and help her with the chores or whatever Disney Princess business Taylor Swift gets up to in her off hours. Oh, but THEN! Things take a dangerous turn! With Boyfriend trying to take things TOO FAR, from chaste and romantic close-mouth kissing to unprotected sex conducted atop piles of cocaine whilst they take turns spitting on a Bible FRENCHING. Abigail cannot take this assault on her purity, and so the relationship MUST END. And there is sadness, and rainstorms, and Taylor being a little too gloaty about how well things have worked out in her own life. 

I mean, I have no doubt that young women are often pressured to go further, sexually, than they are comfortable with. I get that, and it is sad, and it is scary! But I also have no doubt that some girls have sex because they want to. And that's not a narrative that gets told here. The narrative here goes as follows: there's a girl who gets semi-sexual and regrets it (because BOYS want SEX, and GIRLS DON'T) and a girl who doesn't get up to much of anything sexual and ends up wise and happy. 

Oh, but also, if you listen to the lyrics too closely, it gets EVEN WORSE! "In your life, you'll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team," Taylor opines Mom-ishly, which begs the question: WHY DID YOU HAVE AN ENTIRE SONG AND/OR VIDEO IN WHICH DATING THAT BOY WAS PRESENTED AS AN ACCOMPLISHMENT ON PAR WITH CURING CANCER, THEN, TAYLOR? But never mind, because the point is that Taylor is a pop star now. A boring, boring, abstinence-y pop star, who pretty much credits her success not to having had sex. "I've realized some bigger dreams of mine," Taylor girlishly confesses. (Oh, wow, she is so humble, you guys! It's like her success is my success, too! Quick, let's go spend some money on her various merchandise!) Meanwhile, "Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind." Meaning, I think, that she fucked him. And they broke up. (Unless she literally gave him all of her possessions, like, in garbage bags or something? Because that WOULD be a bad decision. What is your boyfriend going to do with a canopy bed and several Jonas Brothers posters?) And this was a TRAGEDY, really, SO MUCH WORSE than having an appropriately asexual relationship and breaking up anyway. (I've heard this can happen!) But fundamentally it was avoidable, because it was her (bad, tragic, awful) choice to have sex, and this has of course resulted in her not being a pop star like Taylor. Teen Girls of America, here are your choices: have sex and wind up broken and sad and feeling as if you've lost "everything you had," or wait until your untouched vagina accumulates enough charge to make you rich and famous. Because your sexuality should never be an end in and of itself; it should be something you strategically employ to get what you want. Which isn't sex, because who ever heard of a girl wanting that? This TOTALLY WHOLESOME MESSAGE comes courtesy of Taylor Swift. 

I mean, if people want to listen to Taylor Swift, fine. I personally can't stand the whole cartoonishly innocent and pure (and white-dress-wearing! Always with the virginal white dress!) blonde blue-eyed white girl thing; it strikes me as just as artificial and calculated as any other pop star's personal brand, with an added noxiousness due to its edge of moral superiority and '50's-style coy submissiveness. But don't pretend Swift is a "good" role model, or even an "attainable" one. Telling girls stories about how being too sexual will make them broken hollow sluts who can never succeed at life isn't new, and it isn't cute. Not even coming from sweet little Taylor Swift. 

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Comments

157 comments have been made. Commenting is set to read-only for this post.

GOSH DARN IT! I write for a

GOSH DARN IT!
I write for a feminist blog every saturday and I swear this was the exact topic I was going to write about, using Taylor's video and everything. But there's no way I can compete with the words of Sady Doyle.
I guess I should secretly resent you for being cooler than me but that would be kinda ironic, this being a post about girl on girl sexism and all.
The sad, sad silver lining to all this is that there is no shortage of sexism in pop music so i still have something to blog about tomorrow. Thank god for avril lavigne's "Girlfriend" video.

TAYLORSWIFTROCKS _IM WITH

TAYLORSWIFTROCKS _IM WITH YOU LETS PROVE THEM THEY ALL SOOO WRONG ABOUT TAYLOR SHES THE BEST THING THAT HAPPEN TO ALL OF US THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE BECAUSE OF HER:)LOVETAY SOOO MUCH
_STUPID WRITERS I DONT EVEN KNOW WHY I WASTE MY TIME READING THIS AND COMMENTING ON YOU..YOUR SOOO PATHETIC AND MYBE BORED ON YOUR LIFE THAT U SAY STUPID THINGS ABOUT SOMEONE WHO JUST DO WHAT SHE LOVE BEST WROTE A SONG AND MAKE BEAUTIFUL MUSIC OF IT...ARE U THAT DUMB STUPID JERK?WHERE U STUDY?WHAT KIND OF SCHOOL U GO THAT THEY TEACH STUPID PEOPLE LIKE YOU..OH,ALMOST FORGOT THIS IS BITCH.COM SO U CAN BE BITCHY ALL U WANT..BUT MAKE SURE U KNOW WHO U BITCHING FOR..U DONT KNOW TAYLOR WELL ENOUGH TO SAY STUPID THINGS LIKE THAT..DONT QUOTE HER SONG LYRICS BY MEANING..AS IF U CAN WROTE A SONG???U CANT EVEN WRITE GOOD STUFF..JUST SHUT YOUR MOUNTH AND EAT YOUR TONGUE OUT..YOU JERK..SORRY FOR BEING BITCHY IM JUST SO PISS ON WHAT U SAID ABOUT TAYLOR..CANT U BE JUST HAPPY THAT SOMEONE IS DIFFERENT FROM ALL THIS TRASHY NEW ARTIST??GET A LIFE...HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS& HOPE HAPPY NEW YEAR:) MY YOUR SOUL HAVE A REST IN PEACE:) PEACE MAN:) LOVELIFE..LOVETAYTCTC

In addition to being 14 do you even....

know what real music is? Notes, chords, etc? I find this comical. You lose internet cred by posting in all capitals and not checking your grammar, spelling and punctuation. I wonder how you stumbled upon this website and I wish you'd take a deeper look into the subject matter of this blog. Perhaps even pick up the magazine. You may learn a thing or two.

Or perhaps, since Taylor stands for innocence, purity, the all-American puritan goodly soul she, almost by default, falls under the category of the uneducated and misinformed. I find it disgusting that this girl is making millions off sappy, high school drama love songs that fifteen year old girls flock to and live their lives by as opposed to... you know... actually bettering themselves as human beings.

Why not try thinking outside the box?

ytdelievers: "since Taylor

ytdelievers: "since Taylor stands for innocence, purity, the all-American puritan goodly soul she, almost by default, falls under the category of the uneducated and misinformed."

Wow. You must be the one "uneducated and misinformed." You act as if you don't know that since the beginning of the sexual revolution in America, divorces have doubled and marriages have declined by 1/3, which just so happens to be the bedrock of our society. If YOU WERE educated and informed then you would know that since the summer of sixty-nine we have been is a cycle of downward mobility. If you were educated and informed then you would know that 1 in 4 teenage girls have an STD, and that 1 in 5 people over the age of 12 have herpes, and that marrying as a virgin increases your chance of success at marriage. You would know that the increasing sexuality of America has led to increasing poverty and crime. If you don't believe me then I will gladly show you the studies. I wish that people like you were actually educated and informed.

The number of marriages

The number of marriages declining couldn't possibly have anything to do with being unmarried ceasing to be a major social stigma, and the number of divorces increasing totally means that marriages before the "sexual revolution" and "summer of 69" were all between perfectly contented happy couples who had no desire at all to separate from each other, and not simply that divorce became more acceptable and allowed people to end loveless relationships. Clearly nobody had ever had an affair before people started fucking without rings.

Fuck you, fuck your statistics. Numbers taken out of context are completely meaningless.

Ever write a song? If you

Ever write a song? If you did you would know that it is not easy. Taylor Swift (unlike many artists) writes her own songs. So what if she makes people just a little bit happier, is that really so evil of her, so unthinkable that she should be insulted and taken down? Does Taylor Swift really deserve so much misfortune beacause she is successful at her job? Should we attack every other artist that a resentful minority have a problem with? You are astounding. I can not fathom what happens in that twisted and foul mind of yours.

Also people writing blogs are not going to be concerned with grammar, that was a particularly doltish thing to say. What difference does it make knowing about notes and chords, I do, I play the piano. Does that make me better than anyone else? Get off your high-horse and try not to be such a half-wit in the future.
Thanks!

How about telling Taylor to

How about telling Taylor to get off of her high horse and taking a much needed dose of reality. While telling girls that they don't have to be sexy to succeed, telling girls that sex will right-out ruin their lives is also a huge mistake, because then you end up with girls who have had sex and start thinking "Oh God, what's going to happen? Taylor told me my life's going to be ruined! What's going to happen?!" You see what kind of destructive path she's setting them on?

Taylor Swift

By bashing a person you have never met, spoken to, or even seen face to face, you are proving that you feel no reason to have any basis for your statements. And I will bet a million bucks that if Taylor Swift was another Britney Spears wannabe like Ke$ha etcetera, you would be bashing her for being a slut. But since Taylor Swift has done nothing, not even pulled a Miley Cyrus, the only thing you can think of is that she is a "good girl," which for some reason you think is a bad thing. Finally, there is a celebrity who refuses to cuss, smoke, to drugs, and it's a new thing, pop culture has been all about those things for so long. Which brings me to another point, Taylor Swift is a COUNTRY singer, not a pop star, although her songs have a pop twist. Talking about her being a pop culture star is just plain WRONG, but not as wrong as bashing an innocent person. I am speaking against ALL of you who have bashed a person you never even met.

yeah true but she is so hot

yeah true but she is so hot ill give her a pass

Um are you 14? I just have

Um are you 14?
I just have never given Taylor Swift that much thought.
Apparantly you have.
I guess you're going for the younger crowd with this article.
Okay then.

um, I'm no Swift fan, but

um, I'm no Swift fan, but homegirl is popular. Her album has gone platinum, she's broken records in sales, etc - point is, lots of people listen to her. And yes, most of them are fourteen, which means she has a huge impact on a very influential demographic. Bitch is a magazine that focuses on analyzing pop culture from a feminist point of view. Swift, at this moment, represents a very significant portion of pop culture.
Okay then.

"Apparantly you have." If

"Apparantly you have."

If you're so sophisticated and above this, then why don't you know how to spell "apparently"?

typo

You are actually commenting on a typo? Good lord (yes, I purposely didn't punctuate just now)

So...

So, what you're saying is you really have nothing worthwhile to say, so you just pick at typos?

Maybe a little over-the-top?

I watched the glasses video once, after the infamous Kanye smackdown when I found myself wondering "who is Taylor Swift, anyway?" It's not my thing, but fine.

Still, I read your whole post, and the amount of vitriol you have for a 19-year-old major-label pop star is surprising. Then I read the lyrics and I watched the video and it seems like advising 15-year-olds not to put out to the first guy that says "I love you" is not an entirely unreasonable thing to do. If you just read the lyrics, it's not even clear that she's talking about sex. I read it more as just advising girls not to get so wrapped up in a boy that you give up your individuality (valuable advice at any age). The video does make it seem like it's about sex, but it's hard to know if that was her intent or the label's. Anyway, I'm not saying I don't agree with your critiques, but it seems like you're doling out more rage than she really deserves.

Also, when I was searching for the video, I found out that Abigail is apparently Taylor's real-life best friend, and that they did, in fact, meet when they sat next to one another in class. Weird.

Here's another quote I just found that makes it sound like the song is less about sex and more about breakups in general:
"I'm not likely to cry over something I've gone through, even if it's the worst breakup ever. Maybe I haven't had that breakup yet. Maybe there will be a breakup where I'll just cry every time I think of it. (laughs) But the things that make me cry are when the people I love have gone through pain and I've seen it. "Fifteen" talks about how my best friend, Abigail, got her heart broken when we were in ninth grade and singing about that absolutely gets me every time."

And now I'll go back to not thinking about Taylor Swift for a while.

I totally agree. I think

I totally agree. I think Taylor has great messages for 14 year old girls. Focus on your goals in life and don't give it up to the first person who says "I love you".
This page is ridiculous and obviously written by unhappy people who made mistakes, carry lots of baggage, and want other people to feel the same way so they aren't so lonely.

I agree, this author just

I agree, this author just seems bitter.

Probably because she had teh

Probably because she had teh SEX, huh?

No, but seriously, the author's concerns are valid, if a bit harshly expressed. I really like Taylor's music, but I find her lyrics very problematic for many of the reasons Sady outlined. Ultimately, I excuse it because I think it's written from a much younger (AKA high school) perspective, and as a high schooler I didn't have quite the degree of experience and perspective needed to deconstruct all those values society was thrusting at me, especially the ones regarding chastity and relationships with other girls.

THANK YOU

You've said it all so well, I will only add that the reinforcement of the madonna/whore complex is personified in Taylor Swift. She's a one-dimensional virgin ("good"), so we interesting, intelligent, non-glasses wearing feminists must be sluts (and by extension, "bad"). Frankly, if it's either/or, I'd choose the latter. Every time.

Taylor Swift Rocks.

umm.. taylor swift is amazing. i am a teenage girl and i look up to her and i think you're just a stupid idiot because she has real talent- she writes about her real life and is a great singer. and you belong with me is just a song about liking a guy and feeling like he is unattainable - maybe you dont have to look at it in an obnoxious way saying all this crap about her. Also, i think in the song fifteen, its just about growing up and making a friend, and sticking by her, it also shows that guys are not something that you need to completely rely on, because they can break your heart. I think it's ridiculous that yo uare targeting a 19 year old girl that is just doing what she loves. I wonder how pathetic and insecure YOU are to write something this retarded. How about you stop targeting someone that actually had talent and a life - unlike some writters.

Some "writters"? What the

Some "writters"? What the hell is wrong with you?

And yes, it's so mean how she's analyzing what the effects might be of having her as a role model for thousands of girls! What a terrible person! It's not like pop stars have an actual effect on the people who look up to them. Duh, right?

And since when is being a

And since when is being a virgin and singing about real life and dressing appropriately and being graceful a bad role model?

I think she's a great role model: She dresses appropriately, and yes, she is a virgin but isn't in your face about it, she writes her own songs and is a fantastic singer. She isn't up there on stage with her boobs and ass hanging out and grinding on a pole. And I think that's a fantastic role model for teenage girls, that you can be sexy and pretty and successful without dressing like a prostitute.

Virgin Celebrity

I remember a large pile of virgin celebrities that we discovered (SHOCK HORROR!) were not actually virgins. It's easy to say you are a virgin. Especially if it helps your image. I could say I am a virgin! All I have to do is blush appropriately and gasp in SHOCK HORROR when someone accuses me of being pasta sauce in the tomato department. Is it going to help my career to say I'm a virgin? OH BABY! BRING ON THE ABSTINENCE!

Thank you for writing this article that targeted a form of femininity that seems to be above approach.

And they were the ones who

And they were the ones who wore revealing clothing and gyrated around on-stage.

So now it's NOT ok for a woman to talk about her sexuality if she's actually a virgin because some other pop stars pretended to be virgins and said virginity helps her image?

Listen, sexuality in general, and a lack of sexuality, helps one's image. Lady Gaga's sexuality, in particular, her talking about being bisexual, helps her image. So it's bad to be a virgin and talk about it, but it's OK to be bisexual and talk about it? That doesn't make any sense. Basically you're saying she can't be honest about it, which to me, is bullshit.

Hi, Whitney!

Uhm, no, Whitney, Sady is not saying Taylor Swift cannot be honest about being a virgin, or even that Taylor Swift should not extoll the benefits of being independent and not just caving to Whatever Boys Want You To Do. Sady is, if I understand her properly, saying that Taylor Swift is Perhaps Adding More Icky Stuff to the Pool of Pop Culture from which teenage girls drink. She is saying that Taylor Swift may think that being a virgin is gosh just the coolest thing ever, but that using 'virgin' or 'sex-positive' or any of those things as the foundation of your *entire personality* is really anti-feminist and demeaning to yourself, and that Taylor Swift goes one step farther than that by suggesting that *other* girls should use those things as the foundation of their entire personality, or that they should be viewed as if those things are their entire personality, and that being sex-positive or sexually experienced is A Morally Bad Thing and will cause you to become, or be viewed as, Broken and Hollow and Unfulfilled, whereas identifying yourself as a virgin and practicing abstinence and whatever is A Morally Good Thing and will help you to become, and be viewed as, a Cute, Sweet, Innocent Girl that other people will want to cherish and protect (as opposed to use and toss aside and whatever it is that Taylor Swift thinks is the appropriate treatment for sexually experienced girls).

So: nope, nothing wrong with Taylor Swift being a virgin. Nope, nothing wrong with Taylor Swift talking about how she is glad she is a virgin. *BUZZER!* There is something wrong with Taylor Swift intentionally or semi-intentionally conveying the message to teenage girls, whom she probably has a lot of influence over, that Sex Is Bad and Good Girls Don't and that virginhood is the equivalent of saintliness and perfection. Because that is equally as fucked up as sexualizing young girls and it is still teaching them that their only value is in their vaginas and the availability thereof.

The writer of this article

The writer of this article is reading way too much into these music videos. Does anyone seriously think Taylor Swift woke up one day and decided to write a song about being the prefect, virgin girl? She has said over and over again that she bases her work off real life experiences. She does not have some political agenda -- trying to say that she is the model teenager, and that she is so much better than everyone else because she's a virgin. She has a life experience and she writes a song about it.
How many of the most popular actors/actresses in the last couple decades have come out with a message like this, and why are we so pissed off about it? From what people have said so far it seems that the people getting upset in this blog are the ones that didn't make the same choices as Taylor. And now they're pissed off because they're reaping the consequences of not having someone in their life that could counsel them about these issues. Why is this all Taylor's fault, and why is she getting chastised for making smart decisions about her career and love life?

Hello there! I've made

Hello there! I've made choices like Taylor's in my life too. However, I find her juvenile rather than inspiring. In addition, I don't possess the arrogance required to believe that everyone who did not make decisions like mine is a fool.

Have you heard the girl talk

Have you heard the girl talk at all? There is no way on earth that girl is NOT a virgin.

I think you are missing out

I think you are missing out on a subtle nuance here: the difference between a "bad" role model, and a role model who may have a negative affect on the people who look up to her.

I think we can all agree that Swift is a "good" person, when forced to make those black and white distinctions. But it is those black and white distinctions that are exactly the problem - Swift adheres to them, when it would probably benefit her teenage target audience much better to discuss these teenage-oriented issues in a more well-rounded light.

In order to preserve an image that sells records, Swift maintains sexist social stereotyping, presenting herself as a good-girl type by shaming certain behaviors and choices made by other girls. Choices like sex shouldn't be made lightly, especially as a young person, but demonizing women who have sex is not just yawn-worthy as lyrical material, it's damaging to women as individuals and as a community. In general, Swift's material supports a sexist representation of young women, in which women adhere strongly to patriarchal gender and social roles.

That is why Swift's influence is damaging to women: it is not so much that she is a "bad" role model, or a "bad" person, but that her influential role may support stereotypes that make it harder for young women to make the decisions about these heady issues that would be most correct for that woman as an individual. Furthermore, her influence offers only one "correct" course of action to women, with encouragement of social shaming as punishment for deviating from that course of action.

Uh, it's the same marketing

Uh, it's the same marketing theory. Any popstar bringing up their sexuality, even if it's a lack thereof, is automatically sexualizing themselves to the mass market. By saying she's not having sex she's just connecting herself to sex which clearly sells. It's not that she's a virgin, it's that she's not having SEX. Whatever statement she makes about it is lost behind those three letters, which clearly have garnered her a lot of attention and press which have absolutely nothing to do with the quality or credibility of her music, just her sexuality or lack thereof. This article existing is clear evidence that this method of promoting a pop performer is immensely effective, since if she didn't bring up sex the writer probably never would have blinked at her. The music is written about secondary to the sex, almost as an afterthought.

By making it known that she's not having sex she has turned herself into a sex symbol.

It is not that the blogger

It is not that the blogger is an idiot. It is just that she likes to feel self-important because she is bitter that no one cares about her views on sexuality.

Seems like you're being a

Seems like you're being a little hypocritical...for someone who thinks the writer was out of line and overly angry about a "19-year-old doing what she loves," you sure have no reservations about telling her she's "insecure," "obnoxious" and "pathetic," and implying that she doesn't have a life and her writing is "retarded." Oh, and I almost forgot the part about the writer being a...how did you so eloquently put it? Ohh, that's right, a "stupid idiot." Good one.

pathetic

TAYLORSWIFTROCKS _IM WITH YOU LETS PROVE THEM THEY ALL SOOO WRONG ABOUT TAYLOR SHES THE BEST THING THAT HAPPEN TO ALL OF US THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE BECAUSE OF HER:)LOVETAY SOOO MUCH
_STUPID WRITERS I DONT EVEN KNOW WHY I WASTE MY TIME READING THIS AND COMMENTING ON YOU..YOUR SOOO PATHETIC AND MYBE BORED ON YOUR LIFE THAT U SAY STUPID THINGS ABOUT SOMEONE WHO JUST DO WHAT SHE LOVE BEST WROTE A SONG AND MAKE BEAUTIFUL MUSIC OF IT...ARE U THAT DUMB STUPID JERK?WHERE U STUDY?WHAT KIND OF SCHOOL U GO THAT THEY TEACH STUPID PEOPLE LIKE YOU..OH,ALMOST FORGOT THIS IS BITCH.COM SO U CAN BE BITCHY ALL U WANT..BUT MAKE SURE U KNOW WHO U BITCHING FOR..U DONT KNOW TAYLOR WELL ENOUGH TO SAY STUPID THINGS LIKE THAT..DONT QUOTE HER SONG LYRICS BY MEANING..AS IF U CAN WROTE A SONG???U CANT EVEN WRITE GOOD STUFF..JUST SHUT YOUR MOUNTH AND EAT YOUR TONGUE OUT..YOU JERK..SORRY FOR BEING BITCHY IM JUST SO PISS ON WHAT U SAID ABOUT TAYLOR..CANT U BE JUST HAPPY THAT SOMEONE IS DIFFERENT FROM ALL THIS TRASHY NEW ARTIST??GET A LIFE...HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS& HOPE HAPPY NEW YEAR:) MY YOUR SOUL HAVE A REST IN PEACE:) PEACE MAN:) LOVELIFE..LOVETAYTCTC

Oh, I love this comment : "I

Oh, I love this comment : "I hate you, you're stupid x 1000, by the way, peace be with you! Hugs and kisses!" Such a reasonable, thought-out opinion. Although, at the end, the commentor says "May your soul have a rest in peace" ... is that a death threat?

I feel like the biggest problem with Taylor Swift

are the videos, not necessarily the songs. They're incredibly cheesy, as Bitch as described. It's obvious that they're true stories, written by Taylor, but how they come across in video is just a bit overtly innocent and immature.

Did it ever occur to you

Did it ever occur to you that there ia a reason the cartoonishly innocent and pure Tayor Swift is so popular? Personally I think she is kind of silly, but I can understand why so many people like her. Especially teen girls. She tells girls that its okay to wear "T-shirts and sneakers" instead of "High heals and short skirts". She is an alternative to the super pornified world we live in. As a blogger for Bitch which is a feminist critique on pop culture surely you must know what kind of culture young peole are living in today.

Um, except that the model of

Um, except that the model of female sexuality and behavior touted by Taylor Swift is no more attainable and no less harmful than the "pornified" version, actually? Yeah, it's fine to wear t-shirts and sneakers (doing it right now, actually!) and to be a strong, adult woman in them. And yeah, it's also fine to wear high heels and short skirts and be a strong, adult woman in those too. Taylor Swift's whole model of being, though, is about a desexualized, non-assertive, fragile, semi-self-loathing femininity that's more Betty Draper than anything else. Her whole brand is about being a weak soft frail sweet cute widdle thing, but she is NINETEEN: by her age, I'd voted in my first Presidential election, moved away from home for the first time, lived in my own apartment for the first time, started drinking, started having sex, and entered into the first long-term relationship of my adult life. She's not a child. She just insists on being seen as or treated like one. Which is creepy, anti-feminist, and gross. We used to protest dudes infantilizing us; now, some of us (ahem, TAYLOR) are going right on ahead and infantilizing ourselves.

Oh, remember when we all needed to protect her from the scary black man who stole her microphone and wrecked her Pretty Pretty Princess moment? And then Beyonce had to hand over her speech to the woman as though she were LITERALLY A CHILD? Jesus H. Christ, Taylor: If you don't want anyone stealing your microphone, HOLD ONTO IT. And TAKE IT BACK if it gets out of your hands. The fact that people think she's "classy" or whatever for standing there with a "poor me, don't you feel bad for me" expression on her face rather than asserting herself like a grown woman with a multi-million career should realistically be able to says volumes about how we fetishize female helplessness, weakness, and passivity.

Oh, and can we PLEASE stop using "pornified" as if it's a legitimate critique? It's not. It contains elements of legitimate critique within itself - like, girls being pressured to perform sexuality rather than inhabit their own sexualities and bodies with authenticity and confidence - but it's also got some Victorian elements of "girls don't actually like sex and if they do they're broken inside" bullshit, and has been used to critique everything from girls presenting their bodies in ways we don't like to girls doing sexual things that we don't approve of to girls posing for MAXIM or taking jobs in the sex industry to the existence of trans men and bois (!!!). And it doesn't ever address the ways in which women are pressured to desexualize themselves, or the ways their sexual behaviors are always subject to outside authority, shaming, and judgment - perhaps because it engages in a substantial amount of that itself. There's some sort of Cult of True Femininity element in there, and a more than trace amount of slut-shaming, intermingling with and contaminating the legitimately good points. The fact that the "pornified" or "raunch culture" folks want to trace The Real And Only Acceptable Face of Womanhood back to '70s standards of feminist gender performance rather than '50s standards makes it no less limiting, judgmental, and confused.

Did you just victim blame

Did you just victim blame Taylor Swift for what happened at the music video award ceremony? Not cool.

No, she pointed out that

No, she pointed out that there are other ways Taylor Swift could have responded to Kanye's behavior, and that no one is discussing whether passively standing by while some grandstanding asshole takes your microphone was the best choice. In fact, people are fetishing how adorable it is that she just stood by and did nothing, which is a bit problematic if you want to advocate for female agency. So no, she wasn't "victim blaming", and trying to shut down a productive conversation with that melodramatic claims is the uncool thing.

"Victim blaming" is normally

"Victim blaming" is normally used to denote the blaming of people who are actual victims, of actual crimes; usually, rape. The hoo-ha over the VMAs thing may lead some people to believe it was EQUIVALENT to a crime, but it wasn't. It was garden-variety rudeness. And part of life is learning to deal with other people's rudeness. To insist that Taylor's behavior should be beyond reproach by likening Kanye's behavior to rape is... well. Symptomatic of how the whole event was spun. It's not "victim-blaming" to object to the press casting Taylor Smith as a victim and working themselves into a frenzy about it based substantially upon an idea of her as a helpless princess in need of defending; nor is it victim-blaming to say that she could have responded more assertively; nor is it victim-blaming to object to the way that Taylor Swift ends up benefiting by behaving as if she is too fragile and passive to deal with a situation such as the one that arose. The message that gets sent is as follows: just deal with rudeness by making Sad Puppy Faces and waiting for someone else to come with your rescue, and you'll be a GOOD girl, as opposed to dealing with it yourself and risking being called a "bitch." And dealing with it as if it were an incident that happened to a normal, private, uncoached girl, rather than a savvy media professional who has benefited financially and reputation-wise by presenting the public with a regressive, limiting, infantilizing vision of femininity that will invariably be met with more praise than the real deal is a bit naive.

Also - just to add a bit,

Also - just to add a bit, here - "victim-blaming" usually places sole and entire responsibility on the victim, and has undertones of excusing the attacker or blaming the victim for enticing him into making the attack in the first place. No-one's saying that Kanye was right to do what he did, or that Swift made him do it. What I'm saying is that response was possible, and that the positive feedback that accompanied her lack of response or self-assertion is telling about what sorts of "good" behavior we expect from women. As was Beyonce's choice to cede her own moment to another woman.

You Stepped on a Kitten!!!

I'm still trying to figure out why Kanye West being a big meanie to Taylor Swift was deemed worthier of a three-day nation-wide freak-out than Russell Brand's rape joke.

Swift/Brand/West, etc.

I think it's important to differentiate between Swift's response (or lack thereof) and the media portrayal of it. Honestly, if some guy showed up on stage and snatched my microphone when I was about to accept an award, who knows how I would react? There is a good chance I would just stand there dumbfounded because I really DID NOT EXPECT THAT TO HAPPEN. And I think it's a little unnecessary to spend a lot of time attacking someone for just reacting naturally to a weird situation.

However, I think it's extremely important to analyze the media portrayal of the event and What It's Saying To Women. And I think this is an amazing article, which I will be sharing with others so they can enjoy its awesomeness.

And yes, WTF Russell Brand? I didn't actually watch the VMS (I guess I just didn't give a shit) but the only place I heard about the Russell Brand rape joke was here. Which is, obviously, incredibly messed up. Where's the media coverage for that crap?

Oooh, heyyyy, good points

Oooh, heyyyy, good points there, Chelsea, re: differentiating between the event and the spin of it. I will take those points under advisement! Posthaste!

Yeah, you should. Because

Yeah, you should. Because the whole "she should have stood up for herself!" thing is just so much crap. People always have exaggeratedly brave ideas of how they would react when someone else breaches social norms in a flagrant and unexpected way. Those ideas are usually bullshit. It's perfect natural and normal and human to freeze when someone randomly comes up to you on stage and snatches a microphone out of your hand.

Wow. Just from reading this

Wow. Just from reading this one article and your comments on it I am amazed. Is it difficult to jump to so many conclusion at one time or does it come naturally to you? Seriously, you do have a lot of really good points in there. You really do. But your tripped out logic and disturbing hatred for this pop starlet detracts from your message.

"Yeah, it's fine to wear

"Yeah, it's fine to wear t-shirts and sneakers (doing it right now, actually!) and to be a strong, adult woman in them. And yeah, it's also fine to wear high heels and short skirts and be a strong, adult woman in those too"

Except Taylor Swift is singing about and to *teenage girls.* NOT adult women.

"Her whole brand is about being a weak soft frail sweet cute widdle thing, but she is NINETEEN: by her age, I'd voted in my first Presidential election, moved away from home for the first time, lived in my own apartment for the first time, started drinking, started having sex, and entered into the first long-term relationship of my adult life"

Well that makes you so fucking special. And did you have a hit record and an MTV award? She's not pretending to be a child, she is being a teenager. Just because she doesn't have sex and doesn't drink and doesn't live away from home yet doesn't make you better than her.

"She's not a child. She just insists on being seen as or treated like one. Which is creepy, anti-feminist, and gross. We used to protest dudes infantilizing us; now, some of us (ahem, TAYLOR) are going right on ahead and infantilizing ourselves."

Homegirl *just* graduated from high school, and you expect her to be just like you are? I'm 24 and every now and then I feel like I'm still a child.

Your whole second paragraph was just fucking mean. Disgustingly mean. And victim-blaming. No, she's not as strong of a woman as you are, and yes, it was VERY classy that she didn't steal the microphone away from him. And Beyonce CHOSE to let Taylor finish her speech because SHE'S also very classy. You just apparently can't handle it when another woman isn't like you or doesn't make the same choices as you would. She got her first MTV award and was rudely interrupted and you have the gall to criticize HER for it.

You are so annoying. Just

You are so annoying. Just because you were sexually active doesn't mean that it is beneficial or that everyone has to have sex to be considered a feminist. The life she talks about IS attainable. I lived it. I am married to the only man I have ever had sex with and that was only after our wedding. We are happy, healthy, and carry no baggage. Sing on Swift, you can do it too!!

wow

you only had sex with one man? now i feel bad for you.

hey come on now. Having sex

hey come on now. Having sex with one man, with 2000 men, and anywhere in between are all equally valid ways of going about one's life -- the important thing is what works for each person in question, individually. Value judging on someone who's made different choices, especially in the context of this thread, doesn't seem very progressive.

Just to add a few things...

Popular media is one of extremes, whether we like it or not. So of course the good girl / whore complex is going to be emphasized. Short of obviously wanting to tear down that dichotomy, girls are going to constantly be faced with those two images. I grew up trying to achieve that good girl persona so I have mixed feelings about figures like Taylor Swift. I think someone above me said something about how the videos are more destructive than the songs themselves which I have to agree with. The concepts of "winning" the boy while still being true to yourself and seeing that there's more to life than just boys, which I think are at the core of each song, aren't really that bad. But when you see the video for You Belong with Me and see Taylor in her t-shirt and glasses but still absolutely beautiful according to Western ideals with her blonde hair and perfect body, you know girls are being sent mixed messages. They don't get why they don't look like that, despite being the girl Taylor describes. If the boys aren't noticing them, they must be doing something wrong, and hence the beauty aspect is obviously still there along with the need to conform despite the glasses and t-shirts.

The sexuality implications of the second video are a lot more complex, because while I think girls should be allowed to *gasp* want to have sex and even enjoy it too, they also shouldn't feel they have to offer it up as a way to be popular or keep a boyfriend. I guess this is where the polar extremes gets really tricky, and all I can really say to that is that I'm glad girls are at least given models for both those options, although of course it's the vast middle ground we wish they were being shown.

The biggest problem I have is the competition between girls, usually fostered by relationships with boys. That, unfortunately, exists on both ends of the spectrum, and I don't think there are any popular positive images for girls in that regard. To me that just epitomizes the concept of keeping a group fighting within itself so that they don't realize who the real oppressors are.

Fuckin' a...

You're right! Goddamn, I KNEW something bothered me about Taylor Swift!!

No, really, I'm not being sarcastic. I had JUST gotten to the point of shrugging my shoulders and saying, "Well, ok, I GUESS she's all right" when I read this. Thanks for making me even MORE alienated from my generation's pop culture, Sady!

Ah well, I do agree with you. I hate that whole "Sex can wait, your future can't" thing (I've seen it on billboards on the highway). Because HAVING SEX WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER, AND/OR RUIN YOUR LIFE. And obviously you can only have sex with your ONE TRUE LOVE who will NEVER "change his mind" and leave you all alone! Not that you'd ever change YOUR mind, by the way... men dictate everything in the relationship! I mean, DUH.

Man, I'm kind of surprised at the level of negative reactions you've been getting from this article. Apparently a lot of Bitch readers like Taylor Swift? That surprises me, somehow.

I agree. On the surface it

I agree.
On the surface it seems like a good message, but it's been simplified into something a bit cruel. It's a bit slut-shaming instead of just encouraging to girls who don't do what they're comfortable with.

i love that

Hahaha i just love that part where you said "And obviously you can only have sex with your ONE TRUE LOVE who will NEVER "change his mind" and leave you all alone" it reminds me of Jessica Simpson, who made a big deal about being a virgin, only to end up divorcing her husband and sleeping with every other male celebrity she could find. I am not saying that's going to happen to Taylor, but she might want to stop throwing her virgin status in everyone's face because once is gone who is to say that you'll always be with that one man who took it.

Except Taylor Swift has

Except Taylor Swift has never said that she's a virgin and is waiting for her "one true love."

you JUST made my day with this article.

FINALLY someone who agrees with me! Can you please write Ch. 2 with the focus on this new "masterpiece" she has put out..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPOiqtf2FTE

I could only imagine the amazing insight you would have on this! Keep up the good work, I'm a fan!"

OK, so Taylor Swift's movies blow

I will admit, I have, on occasion, been scanning the radio and stopped on Taylor Swift's "You Belong To Me." I thought it was amusing, kind of how I think "If You Seek Amy" is amusing. In a detached, 'I don't want to admit I am enjoying this song right now' kind of way. But really, when I listened to the song, the music video I imagined was much different than the one I just watched. In my head, Taylor Swift was the dude's best friend, a cool girl that didn't wear glasses but instead rocked baggy jeans or whatever cool tom boys do these days, and she was sick of hearing him complain about his bitchy girlfriend, and wondered when he would realize that she's not a boy, but didn't want to lose their friendship over the awkwardness that might ensue. I mean, every girl with attractive guy friends has wondered, for at least a second, if he ever thought she was attractive. OK, maybe not enough to warrant a song...

I mean really, maybe the girlfriend was bitchy. I have lots of guy friends who have bitchy girlfriends. Sucks for them. So maybe I am 'slamming' another girl. Yeah, I'm not going to pretend that I like every girl I meet, but I'm not going to pretend I like every guy I meet either. That's just human nature. And while I'm on that tangent, Ms. Doyle's entire article (while thoroughly entertaining) was 'slamming' Taylor Swift (female) for 'slamming' another girl. Hypocritical? A little bit...

I don't know what to say about the second video. I hadn't heard the song before, but the video did kind of make me want to puke. And laugh. And puking and laughing at the same time just doesn't work out. I mean, each to her own, if you like going to high school in a white dress every day, that's your deal. Just don't wonder why you don't have any friends except for the slutty red head who wants you as a wing man. Sorry, wing-woman. I've got to stay PC for all you feminists.

But I digress. (Anyone still reading this has to be as bored/drunk as I am). I think that everyone is missing the point. One or two of Swift's songs might be OK, if you ignored the video and listened to the lyrics and thought maybe she is telling girls to be independent and think for themselves... but if she's so independent then WHY ARE ALL HER SONGS ABOUT GUYS? In which case, despite the fact that I kind of enjoy "You Belong to Me" on occasion, I'll agree with Ms. Doyle. Taylor Swift is just another woman bowing down to the chauvinistic ideals of the 'pure woman' AKA subservient, and dedicated to finding the right man and being his perfect girl. I mean, really, a strong woman is not one who sings songs about how she's in love with a guy, or isn't going to have sex with a guy, or has gotten over a guy. A strong woman is a girl who sings and talks and thinks about things OTHER than guys. At least sometimes. Like "Redneck Woman" by Gretchen Wilson, or "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse, or that Brittany Spears song where she shits on everyone for shitting on her. Don't judge me, I dig those songs.

And yes, I am aware that guys write a shit ton of love songs too. And to that I say, can't we think of other things to sing about? I mean, love is great but so is pizza and beer, right? For instance, "Alcohol" by Brad Paisley.

Okay I can in part see what

Okay I can in part see what you are saying but i think your taking that "15" song out of context first of all. And even besides that at least taylor doesnt cater to some stupid male fantasy where you can only have sex for mens fantasies. What about the Katy Perry's and the Megan Fox's who are only sexual for the pleasure of men. "I love sex, I like it 24/7, but only with a MAN that i love, one noght stands make me sick, they're gross, unless its with a girl while my man watches!". Perpetuating sexist girl on girl male fantasies and marketing them as objects to sell, the girl on girl thing is a way of life for some people and they are objectifying it. Not to mention that girls like Megan get huge amounts of Plastic Surgery have a career based on their looks and then call themselves feminists. I think that false empowerment is slightly more dangerous at least Taylor Swift just says that what she does is only empowering to her. Megan and Katy try and say that they are "rebeling" and being "individual" with their behavior when all they are doing is further perpetuating ridiculous and degrading male fantasies. While I think that you are on to something her I think that you are slightly missing the bigger problems in our society, but keep questioning though, obviously there are some people who also feel your pain, but personally I have been alot more bothered by they other more disguised forms of slut shaming, particularly the "i love sex but not one night stands" kind of thing in our society lately, but thats just because it is a criticism of something that I believe in in my own life. But again, dont stop talking about it because portrayal of sexuality in our society today is so UNBELIEVABLY fucked up!!!! Thanks for the hard and good writing!

what about them?

What about the Katy Perry's and the Megan Fox's who are only sexual for the pleasure of men.

One person can't write about everything all at once. Maybe she'll get to the other side of the virgin/whore dichotomy next week. I've seen her go to town on Katy Perry.

the girl on girl thing is a

the girl on girl thing is a way of life for some people and they are objectifying it

Um, also objectifying: referring to lesbians' sexuality as "the girl on girl thing."

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I've seen that phrase in non-porn contexts exactly zero times. When describing my "way of life" I usually call it "being gay." Also acceptable: "being a lesbian," "being bisexual," "being queer," "homosexuality." Being gay is a "way of life for me" (though I usually prefer "part of my life" or just "factually true about me," what with me having other characteristics and so on). "The girl on girl thing"... not so much.

Uhhhh...so I am a

Uhhhh...so I am a lesbian/queer, I don't hate Katy Perry, and the queer women who do annoy the HELL outta me. Straight girls with bi tendencies who want to explore that, have just as much a right to their sexuality (and a right to explore that sexuality) as anyone else. Who the fuck cares? I even think that "I Kissed a Girl" song is kinda cute.

The Katy Perry-hate gets way outta hand.

What about some of the even worse sexual role models for girls

Okay I can in part see what you are saying but i think your taking that "15" song out of context first of all. And even besides that at least taylor doesnt cater to some stupid male fantasy where you can only have sex for mens fantasies. What about the Katy Perry's and the Megan Fox's who are only sexual for the pleasure of men. "I love sex, I like it 24/7, but only with a MAN that i love, one noght stands make me sick, they're gross, unless its with a girl while my man watches!". Perpetuating sexist girl on girl male fantasies and marketing them as objects to sell, the girl on girl thing is a way of life for some people and they are objectifying it. Not to mention that girls like Megan get huge amounts of Plastic Surgery have a career based on their looks and then call themselves feminists. I think that false empowerment is slightly more dangerous at least Taylor Swift just says that what she does is only empowering to her. Megan and Katy try and say that they are "rebeling" and being "individual" with their behavior when all they are doing is further perpetuating ridiculous and degrading male fantasies. While I think that you are on to something her I think that you are slightly missing the bigger problems in our society, but keep questioning though, obviously there are some people who also feel your pain, but personally I have been alot more bothered by they other more disguised forms of slut shaming, particularly the "i love sex but not one night stands" kind of thing in our society lately, but thats just because it is a criticism of something that I believe in in my own life. But again, dont stop talking about it because portrayal of sexuality in our society today is so UNBELIEVABLY fucked up!!!! Thanks for the hard and good writing!

what about them?

It's not possible for one blogger to write about everything all at once. Besides, I don't see how Katy Perry is any "worse" that Taylor Swift. She's just the flip-side of the same boy-pleasing coin.

SadyDoyle needs to take a deep breath

This article makes me wonder what Taylor Swift ever personally did to you, because you seem to have a lot of rage against her. Your frantic writing makes it difficult to respond. Truthfully, this article's tone is a bit disturbing. Also, the amount of conclusions you jump to is utterly astounding. While I do not have time to sit here and point out each gap in your reasoning, there are a few statements I feel should be shared.

What we have in the video for "You Belong With Me" is two Taylors. One is brunette Taylor, the one you called "that slutty mean POPULAR girl." She has a different sense of humor, which does not automatically mean the guy's humor is offensive. Brunette Taylor also happens to toy with his feelings and hurt him before, during, and after the breakup. You claim that blonde Taylor's only goal in life is "obsessively working to please this one dude." If that were true, then she probably would have chosen to stick with one of the various styles she tries on, instead of staying true to her own personal style. Also, blonde Taylor probably would have been getting ready for the dance before the guy asked her, jumping for the chance to "please this one dude." That is not the case in the video.

I agree that hating on others in order to make yourself feel better is despicable. In "You Belong With Me," I believe Taylor is simply stating contrasts, not hating. Brunette Taylor happens to have a more conventionally attractive appearance, but blonde Taylor has the personality which is more compatible. At the end of the video, blonde Taylor gets the guy by being herself. The video may be a bit cliché, but who doesn't want to be loved just the way they are?

"Fifteen" is basically a paraphrase of Taylor Swift's high school diaries with an open letter to herself at fifteen. The song and video is only going to address what actually happened. You cannot change that just because YOU wish HER narrative to be different.
When she states the stories of herself and Abigail, she doesn't put values on the choices made. One girl chose to have sex while one girl chose not to. Both are valid choices, and BOTH of them cried. Neither is held up on a pedestal or thrown in the gutter. YOU are the one who created the message of "being too sexual will make them broken hollow sluts." You are putting hateful words in other people's mouths.

Taylor Swift, like every other person on the planet, is a product of the society in which she was raised. As a young songwriter, she is going to write about what she knows: teenage emotions. I think she does that job quite well, and many people can relate to her songs. Just because you do not personally relate, does not mean you are allowed to rip her apart online.

Bitch Magazine has a reputation for quality, which is why I am extremely disappointed in this article.
It cites only a few select lines and two videos, lacks background research, makes unfounded assumptions, and is generally hateful.
For someone who wants less slamming of girls, you've done an awful lot of it in this article.

To other readers, I urge you to take this article with a grain of salt. Well, maybe a salt shaker.

I second this.

I second this.

Completely agree.

Completely agree.

Thirded. 100%.

Thirded. 100%.

Thank you!

I suppose doing enough research to even, I don't know...maybe get the name of the song she's railing against right would cut into the RAGE time.

Okay, maybe Taylor isn't the epitome of your ideal of feminism. So what? She writes songs about her own life. One of the great accomplishments of feminism is that women can now tell their own stories, without changing them just because someone else might not like those stories for whatever reason. Even if the people not liking the story are other feminists. Deal with your success.

Hi, first that was a great

Hi, first that was a great rant and good analysis of the song.

Secondly, my opinion on the matter.
Taylor Swift is a prime example of the polar opposite female artist. On the one hand we have idols like Britney Spears and Beyonce, woman with a blatant sexual agenda and on the other, girls like Taylor Swift, the embodiment of innocence. I know that people are always concerned with which is the better role model, but I believe that both present a damaging image of woman because there simply isn't a middle ground. How confusing it must be for young girls to be shown two extreme female role models and be expected to be both.

The Swift role model enhances traditional female values - sweet, delicate, pure & not interested in sex. That's what guys like, not girls. Girls must only endure the horrific realm of sex for the needs of procreation only. Okay, a tad extreme assumption, but the song does deny girls and guys are on the same page.

I definitely see a lot of

I definitely see a lot of the points you're making about Taylor Swift, but I think you're being a bit hard on her. Yes: as a 19 year old woman, she's not acting how most girls at 19 are understood to act. But I don't think virgin-shaming is quite the way to respond either-- like, why should Miley be protected from sketchy dudes fetishing her expressions of sexuality, and Taylor shouldn't be protected from people doing the same thing, i.e. fetishing her lack of expressed sexuality. As a teen girl who wasn't very sexual, all the way up until college, I appreciate the idea that there's a space in popular culture for a girl to be girly and stupid and teenage in ways that don't involve fooling around with a stripper poll-- in ways that involve dweebily pining away for that guy who's with the popular girl even if you know to the core of your 15-year old being that he's meant for you. Is either action strictly feminist? No, of course not. Both are problematic. But both things are also things teenage girls, for better or worse, do.

Is Taylor's identity more performative than Miley's? Yes. She's more successful at marketing herself as a product, probably because she's older. But not everything about that product is abhorent.

Really?

I really think that you only saw what you wanted to see in this video. Sure there are some instances where one could perhaps interpret Taylor Swifts appearance or whatever as sort of smug, but honestly I think this video is more about going through high school and how everything does feel so immediate and true when it might not be. Regardless of politics, I think everyone goes through that first love phase where you are experiencing a lot of feelings that are so wonderful and it doesn't always work out because, yes, you are still a child. In my opinion this post just tears down the real message of the video, which I seriously doubt to be so blatantly anti-feminist, anti-sexual freedom and choice and anti-progressive thought and attitude, all for the sake of an over-the-top argument.

virgin vs. whore 2009

Bitch magazine, where we argue over which female pop artist is worse.

Hmm... I think maybe we're missing the boat here. I've already said that this is a great article, and I think it is. It's extremely important to analyze the messages being sold to us by the media. BUT I also think taking a leap to "Taylor's only virginal to please guys" and "Megan Fox and Katy Perry are only sexual to please guys" is not only ridiculous, but dangerous and childish. Don't we, in making these claims, become those fictional girls in Taylor's video talking about how lame the other girls are? Yikes. It's not really US against THEM, is it? And as a magazine touting feminist response to pop culture, are we spending as much time deconstructing dudes' videos are we are talking about how lame it is that ALL women in the media, whether on the virgin or whore side of the dichotomy, are behaving the way they do to please men?

I think it's possible that Taylor really is just trying to say: don't put out if you don't WANT to, and that Megan and Katy are being open about their sexuality because it's what they want to do. I think it's incredibly important to make the distinction between how these women act and how their actions are being sold to us. Personally attacking them really doesn't seem to be the answer - and that's not specifically directed at Sady, but at anyone commenting who thinks the answer is attacking Taylor (or whoever) personally.

Yes, promoting no-sex-ever! is problematic, just like promoting all-orgies-all-the-time! is problematic. But so is a bunch of women getting together and criticizing a bunch of other women. Just sayin.

P.s. I totally agree that it's ridiculous for people to call Taylor a good role model, just like it's ridiculous to call Britney a bad role model. To these people who rely on POP STARS to be role models: STOP LETTING THE TV RAISE YOUR KIDS.

You got a good head on you, girl!

I read many, many responses to this post just now, and yours are the ones that is in between what seems to be going on here: either your hate Taylor for her virginal innocence because she needs to grow up and have sex or you simply adore her for her white-as-sugar-sweetness. Ya, I personally think it's kind of annoying that just because you're a "nerd" because you wear glasses and such, that you can't get a guy. But that's just me! But in the other video, I also think she's just saying, as you did, don't put it out if you don't want to, and that's her thing.
And I personally think it's very healthy that female pop stars express their sexuality because they are comfortable in their skin and they won't care about other people who judge them for it; and that's great, independent strength! AND so it Taylor's p.o.v: she's not ready to have sex yet, is probably figuring out her sexual needs, and she doesn't care what other people think either! Whatever "side" you're on, as long as you support YOURSELF for who you are, comfortable in your own skin, and don't let other people's harsh judgment try to re-think who you are, then you are one hell of a strong-ass role model.

Talk about a low blow

This was a really, really mean post. I am incredibly disappointed with Bitch for posting this. Low fucking blows.

I hope you realize you are practicing exactly what you condemn Taylor Swift for (in a freaking song, no less): girl on girl sexism. You are ripping into her for writing songs about issues high school girls face? Seriously? Take a step back and remember what it was like to be that girl with the glasses who wore weird clothes.

You know what? I hated other girls in high school too. Yes, they were pretty, but I didn't hate them for it, I hated them because they were mean and afraid of things that were different than them, aka, me. And yes, there was a guy I was pretty much in love with and he did have a girlfriend who treated him like shit, and who was a bitch, but he couldn't see it.

And you know what, too? When I was in high school I too did things I regretted sexually and wrote poems about them and got them published, does that make me a bad feminist now? God, get it through your brain that she's writing songs for girls who are going through EXACTLY the same things she's writing about. Girls in high school. Don't sit there and pretend that it's OK for girls (and guys) 14-17 to be having sex. I will absolutely be telling my future kids to be abstinent.

Further, I lost my virginity to a guy who turned around and cheated on me. And yes, at the time, it was the worst thing that I could have ever experienced. It was awful and it still hurts. And I still regret it and I'm 24. And yes, it was avoidable and there is NOTHING wrong with talking about the consequences of having sex at a young age. I wish my mom had talked to me about it.

You know what? This whole "criticism" (or rather, as I call it, a total shit-fest on Taylor Swift because her being a virgin is so fucking offensive) makes me sick and it's very disgusting. I have also NEVER heard her talk about being a virgin either. And who fucking cares if she is? She's 19 for Christ's sake! I had friends who were virgins until they were 20.

And I'm sorry, but I do think it's important to tell girls that having sex at a young age is risky and that their hearts might get broken. Mine was, and if I can help other girls in avoiding going through what I am, then I will. You, on the other hand, have the audacity to criticize a woman for her choices. Her choice to remain a virgin.

Your whole post just reeks of bitterness and anger. I'm just appalled by it. Oh and yes, so now being a virgin means that you're just so totally anti-sex and want to ban it.

Lastly: Taylor Swift is not overtly sexual. She's just her. if she dressed up in the kinds of things Britney Spears wore and gyrated around on stage half-dressed (and pole-danced), you'd have an argument. But she doesn't, so your argument falls apart. There is no madonna/whore complex because there is no whoriness coming from her. If you want to criticize someone for it, have it be warranted. So she wears a white dress in her video, so fucking what? Take a chill pill, please.

Not really about virginity.

Whitney, I am sorry if you're disappointed by this post (as the web editor for Bitch I never like to hear that we're disappointing anyone) but I think Sady's criticism of Taylor Swift is not about her virginity (heck, I was a virgin at 19 and I don't regret it one bit) but rather the way in which she paints virginity as the only acceptable route for teenage girls. In the song, Swift remains abstinent while her friend doesn't, and her friend ends up shamed and vilified while Swift brags about her good decision-making skills. While being smart about sex and not having it with someone if you don't feel right about it is a good message to send to all teenagers, feeling good about yourself at the expense of your (promiscuous) friend's actions really isn't.

So in short, I'd hate for anyone to think that we're anti-virgin or all-sex-for-all-teens-all-the-time here, but the girl vs. girl sexism (and the virginity-as-a-badge-of-honor attitude) being criticized in this post deserves a discussion, which is why it's good we're having one.

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

Then what on earth was up

Then what on earth was up with all of the hatred? Why even mention it?

"rather the way in which she paints virginity as the only acceptable route for teenage girls."

Honestly, I kinda think it is. In a lot of states, it's even illegal to have sex under 17 or 18. And the consequences outweigh the benefits. I think it's good she's promoting not having sex. That's also her opinion, and she's entitled to it. She's sending a different message, and no, I don't think she's saying that it's the ONLY acceptable route, she's saying that it's HER route.

"Swift remains abstinent while her friend doesn't, and her friend ends up shamed and vilified while Swift brags about her good decision-making skills"

What's with the hyperbole? Brags about her decision-making skills?

"While being smart about sex and not having it with someone if you don't feel right about it is a good message to send to all teenagers, feeling good about yourself at the expense of your (promiscuous) friend's actions really isn't."

I can't believe you honestly think that's what she's saying.

"So in short, I'd hate for anyone to think that we're anti-virgin or all-sex-for-all-teens-all-the-time here, but the girl vs. girl sexism (and the virginity-as-a-badge-of-honor attitude) being criticized in this post deserves a discussion, which is why it's good we're having one."

Once again, the hypocrisy rears its ugly head. Do you realize that the whole of Sady's posts are direct examples of girl vs girl sexism? I've never read a post that just reeks of hatred for another woman. It was just downright mean. And it really saddens me that Bitch thinks it's acceptable for a grown woman to write a rant completely and totally chastising a 19-year-old girl.

Taylor Swift is a TEENAGER. She writes about things teenagers relate to, not grown women. We remember what it was like to be hurt by men, but we've all grown up and moved beyond that phase of letting boys rule our lives. So to sit there and criticize her for writing about those things is just stupid. It's not a warranted criticism. I don't see anything to criticize her about. And then to rant about how she stood up there speechless at the MTV VMA awards when Kanye West stole her mic was also just mean. To expect her to react how Sady wanted her to react is also stupid.

And there is NOTHING wrong with treating one's virginity as a badge of honor. It takes a LOT of guts and a lot of self-esteem to remain a virgin and be proud of it. People get tormented for it, and what does that say? Obviously, girls who are virgins are treated poorly as judging from this post, so it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't. If she has sex and is proud of it, she's a slut, and if she chooses not to have sex and is proud of it, she's a sexist bitch. Let the girl be a virgin and be proud of it. I would hope that my future kids take the same attitude about sex.

I disagree with you. I don't

I disagree with you. I don't believe virginity should be a mark of honor. I'm 22 and I'm still a virgin. I'm neither ashamed nor proud of that because I do feel awkward and naive at times. Furthermore, to be proud of myself for 'not giving it up' - in reality I just didn't get asked out till I was 21 - would mean looking down my nose at friends who did. My silly friends who let the bad men take advantage of them.

Sex is a natural act, girls should celebrate their sexual liberation. I'm not say running around with every Tom, Dick or Harry, I'm saying girls should not be forced into abstinence because its the role society imposed on them.

Then that's you. Other

Then that's you. Other people are proud of the fact that they waited to have sex, and it doesn't include just sex. My fiance, for example, has never smoked marijuana, and probably never will, and he's proud of himself that he never did it. Does that mean that he looks down on me, who has smoked pot, or other people including his friends? Certainly not. He's just happy that he never gave in and did it.

"I'm saying girls should not be forced into abstinence because its the role society imposed on them."

And how exactly is Taylor Swift *forcing* girls into abstinence? All I am saying is that I think it's about time that being abstinent should be viewed as another choice, and people shouldn't be looked down upon it for that choice. No one is forcing anyone to be abstinent, and saying that you're happy you waited or that you're proud of yourself that you waited isn't forcing anyone to be abstinent too.

I wish I had waited, and if you've been in that tempting situation where you can have sex and you choose not to, I do think that's something to be proud of. Sex is a HUGE deal, and frankly, I'm tired of it being treated as "liberation." It's not liberating to get an STD at 15, or get pregnant at 15 or get HIV at 15.

Sex is a natural act and

Sex is a natural act and people should not be afraid of it.
STD, Aids & pregnancy are the result of unprotected sex, which is something I would never advocate. Drugs and sex are too separate entities, as far as I am aware weed is illegal, sex (after a certain age) is not.

Swift is a marketed role model, there is always an agenda in the media, like in advertising nothing in the video is there accidentally. Every inch, right down to the colour of Swifts dress is part of a careful planning. Abstinence is the underlining theme. I find it such a traditional view taken, sex is something bad, something to afraid of, you'll end up crying, its better to wait. But what exactly are girls suppose to be waiting for? Love, commitment, marriage? Its never really specified, they are just asked to wait.

My real problem is that the target audience is young girls. The message of abstinence is directed wholehearted at females. I mean the music industry would never market a male to dress in white and sing about how much his friend regretted sex with an older woman. Nope, he would giving his friend a high five! I feel like we've fallen back on stereotypes, girls must be meek and submissive in their sexual agenda and boys must be assertive. Girls are the virgins, boys are players.

Sex is fine when one is an

Sex is fine when one is an adult. We're talking about non-adults here.

"STD, Aids & pregnancy are the result of unprotected sex, which is something I would never advocate."

That's not true. Herpes can be spread even when a condom is used, and birth control fails, or people don't use it properly, and condoms break, so yes, people can still get a STD, contract HIV, and get pregnant if they use protection. We need to stop fooling ourselves into believing that if you use protection during sex, you're going to be 100% OK. That's not the case, and it's a blatant lie.

"Drugs and sex are too separate entities, as far as I am aware weed is illegal, sex (after a certain age) is not."

You missed my point about bringing up my fiance not smoking weed and being proud of himself for not. My point was is that there is nothing wrong with being proud of abstaining from something, and if you do abstain from it, then it doesn't necessarily mean that you look down on others who partake in that particular activity. Mormons abstain from alcohol and caffeine, but does that mean that they think that people who drink alcohol and caffeine are bad people? Not in the least bit.

"Abstinence is the underlining theme."

You assume that it is, and you don't know for sure, so don't make an argument you can't back up. Wearing a white dress =/= abstinence.

"I find it such a traditional view taken, sex is something bad, something to afraid of, you'll end up crying, its better to wait."

Once again, your interpretation. I interpreted it that female friendships are stronger than boyfriends and that boys may come and go, but you'll be friends forever as cheesy as that is.

And yes, when one is 15, sex IS bad.

"But what exactly are girls suppose to be waiting for? Love, commitment, marriage? Its never really specified, they are just asked to wait."

That's because you don't know if she's singing about abstinence or not. Once again, assumptions.

"My real problem is that the target audience is young girls. The message of abstinence is directed wholehearted at females."

That's because females listen to her music. Duh. Young girls also listen to her music. Duh.

And what's wrong with promoting abstinence to young girls?

"I mean the music industry would never market a male to dress in white and sing about how much his friend regretted sex with an older woman."

You assume that she's being forced to wear what she wore, and that she's singing about sex. You don't know, stop assuming.

I think its time to stop

I think its time to stop having a conversation with you. You're too defensive with your views, and unwilling to see the other side of the fence. Also I don't like the 'Then thats you' comment. I feel like you're implying I'm on my own with my opinions.

I will say this, when it comes to analysis, the argument presented does depend on the viewpoint of the writer. A good writer always has agenda, quite often this means they are bias towards one idea, and others might disagree with them. This doesn't not mean one is wrong and the other right, but that two people can look at the same music video and come up with two separate intrepretations.

For example, while you see nothing symbolic about the colour white, others have, and have linked this with the theme of sex. White stands for purity and so connections have been made to virginity and then onto the wider issue of attitudes towards female's and sex. That's how critical analysis works, by taking something simple like a pop video and looking at how it reflects the greater society. As I've stated prior, nothing is ever left to chance in the media.

As for Swift, no one put a gun to her head sure, but did she design the dress, did she direct the video? Of course not! I don't know what degree of input she had but I doubt the entire concept was her idea.

Anyone is welcome to

Anyone is welcome to critique and criticize Taylor Swift, what I have a problem with is the blatant mean-ness of the entire post, basically pinning it all on her, the virgin-shaming, putting things that aren't there into her videos and her mouth, and basically ripping into her based on an INTERPRETATION and a personal view.

There's no need to call her names, there's no need to say that because she's 19, she should be expected to act a certain way and "grow up" and act like a "woman." Like I asked above, what ever happened to choice? I mean, she just graduated from high school, and people are expecting her to not be girly or something? I just think the whole criticism is ridiculous and incredibly hypocritical.

Sady would have an argument if Swift were dressing provocatively and gyrating around on the floor and keeping up with the virgin shtick, but she's not.

I have yet to hear how singing about waiting to have sex is damaging to young girls. It's as if people here are saying she should be someone she's not so she'll appeal to their feminist ideas of what a woman should and should not do. It's so hypocritical, it's maddening to me.

Dude, I have listened to

Dude, I have listened to this song a lot and yes I am a 23 year old feminist and YES its sort of embarrassing. But I never really thought it was a virgin/whore thing. I always thought THEY both had sex with guys. And they both cried. And that's why she swore she'd marry him someday--because that's how she justified it. The song is about learning. And going back, and trying to tell yourself what you know now. Not "don't have sex," but just that your first heartbreak is really bad. And it is. So what.

I've also watched the video

I've also watched the video a couple of times now, and I have no idea what you're talking about when you say she brags that she remained a virgin and became successful because of said virginity, and that she's criticizing her friend for giving it up. Unless you and Sady are projecting your own beliefs and opinions on her.

I read the lyrics, ands she's talking about what it's like to be 15 (obviously) and how you think that your first boyfriend will be the one you marry, how the most important thing in the world is dating a football player, and how much "I love you means". Maybe you and Sady don't remember what it was like to be 15, but I do (even though it was almost 10 years ago) and how fitting in meant so much, and how getting that guy to like you meant so much.

Her lyrics about Abigail giving it all to a boy could mean a multitude of things, and you're choosing to think it's ONLY about sex. You assume "everything she had" means sex, and it might, but it also might not. It might mean that she gave her love to her and he rejected her because she wouldn't sleep with him so he dumped her. It has happened before, you know.

You and Sady may think these things are childish to write and sing about, but it speaks to teenagers. It's actually a great song that has a great message that you don't know who you're supposed to be at 15, and it's words of wisdom to someone who is 15. Everyone tried too hard to fit in back then so I just don't get why she's being criticized for it.

And regarding the "virginal white dress": Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

but....

I think it's better that Taylor "paints virginity as the only acceptable route for teenage girls" because it'll be the only way to get us to listen and slow half of us down.
We're kind of malleable, naive, and stupid.

Seriously?

Shamed and vilified? No, she got her heart broken and her friend had empathy for her emotional pain. Just like a lot of other teenage girls who have sex with boys who them dump or cheat on them. I see no shaming or vilifying. I do see a whole lot of Bitch staffers projecting whatever they really *want* Taylor to be saying in her songs so they can make a point, even though they're having to seriously stretch to do it. I used to read every issue of Bitch, and shit like this is the reason I almost never bother anymore.

Chill Pills and WASPS

Handsome, wealthy, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male here. I just thought I would chime in on this debate so you would all know the correct answers to the questions you have been debating. Before we get to that however, I would like to announce that I have recently acquired a majority shareholder status for Chill-Pill Inc. and will therefore be dispensing chill pills to anyone who thinks Taylor Swift is a slut. Since that includes none of you I have spoken with the good people of the internet police and they will be detaining you in an insane asylum as you all go through withdrawal from lack of chill pills.
Whitney, you write about Taylor's "choice to remain a virgin." How do you know it was a "choice?" How do you know she has turned down sexual advances? Is it not possible that Taylor Swift could be considered by men to be extremly physically unnatractive and therefore completely undesirable as a sexual partner? How dare you assume just by looking at that woman that she is good-looking. What's worse you did it without my permission. I am reminded of an old quote. A wise man once said "if I break my pact with Stalin I can obtain additional oil reserves necessary to subdue England by continuing my airial bombardment of their cities." Point being sometimes you have to break an alliance with a maniac in order to subdue England. We might admire Stalin's mustache and attempt to pull off a similarly outrageous, allbeit differently styled, mustache ourselves, but we cannot deny the fact oil lubricates the gears and such in engines and therefore large quantities of oil are necessary to carry out large scale war. Similarly Taylor Swift's nether regions most likely get lubricated from time to time by her own natural resources. Despite this she has, apparently never had her homeland invaded. We are then left with the question how ARE Stalin and Swift alike? Let me count the ways.
1.both are human.
2.both have names that begin with the letter "S."
3.both make rap music
4.both are 9 feet 8 inches tall (it is a little known fact taht Taylor Swift is actually the world's tallest woman).
5.both have authored hundreds of thousands of Shakespearian plays.
6.both speak Russian fluently (in fact Swifts songs themselves are in Russian...but only if you spin the MP3 backwards)
7.both are from the south (Stalin lived in the southern part of Moscow, while Taylor lives in the Southern part of the united states)
8.neither have ever purchased a time-machine without first checking to make sure it could reach 88 MPH (miles per hour to the clergy person) on a trial run.
there are 61 othehr ways they are alike but these are by far the most important, historically.
My question to you Whitney is this. How many times have you subdued France? I would wager my penthouse in NYC that you have subdued England fewer times than I (I have subdued France on at least 314159 ocassions).

The FEMINIST Lens

I think some readers forgot that we are analyzing Taylor through Bitch's feminist lens-- not as theologists, sociologists, psychiatrists, or teeny boppers. However one feels about Taylor's music, Bitch is asking us to examine Taylor from the perspective of the madonna/whore complex, and how, while perhaps more "moral" or "appropriate" than Katy Perry or Britney, Taylor's IMAGE (i.e., as one reader put it, what the media is selling us) is equally damaging to young women. One of the most significant problems-- and one that has not yet been addressed in the comments-- is that Taylor is not likely in charge of how she is branded. Essentially, this article is challenging her handlers, not the fragile little girl I'm shocked so many readers of a magazine called Bitch would defend.

The fact that so many women only write songs about letting men trample them (not just Taylor, and not just the cowering virgins) sends the wrong message. Although I find Miley Cirus equally vapid, at least Miley seems to have a few songs about having fun and being young without mentioning how much she loves some unattainable boy. If we're trying to create safe space for "girls to be girls," let's start with letting that space be about girls, not boys.

As a feminist, this article echoes my own sentiments about the images of young women and in particular the images of young female musicians. The article raised issues about which we all had something to say in a safe, feminist forum. That's the point, no?

"Taylor's IMAGE (i.e., as

"Taylor's IMAGE (i.e., as one reader put it, what the media is selling us) is equally damaging to young women."

What image? When does she constantly talk about being a virgin in her songs? And how is it damaging to say that it's OK to be a virgin or wait to have sex? She's definitely not representative of a madonna, she's representative of a normal teenage girl. I was kind of like her when I was in high school. A lot of girls were and are. And so now she's not allowed to be herself because you think she's representative of the "madonna" complex? Come on. Whatever happened to choice?

"Although I find Miley Cirus equally vapid, at least Miley seems to have a few songs about having fun and being young without mentioning how much she loves some unattainable boy."

The point of music is to reach out to people and relate to them. I related to that song because I was that girl in high school. A lot of girls are like that in high school, and *shock and awe* when girls are in high school, a LOT of their lives revolve around *shock* boys. I know mine did, as independent I would have liked to think I was, I was still very interested in guys. So how is it so horrible that she writes and sings about relationships with boys? It's a huge part of a teenage girl's life. People here are forgetting what it was like to be in high school and be a teenager because most of us are grown women, some college graduates, some with full-time jobs and husbands and wives and fiances and boyfriends and girlfriends.

I would have a problem if the relationships she sang about were problematic, like if she sang about how it's OK to be in an abusive relationship, or that it's OK to dress slutty to get a guy's attention, or some creepy Twilight stalker obsession, but her message is clear: be yourself and that guy you like might notice you. So I think it's bullshit to criticize a teenage girl for singing about what teenage girls like.

"Essentially, this article is challenging her handlers, not the fragile little girl I'm shocked so many readers of a magazine called Bitch would defend."

No, it's not, it's blatantly and unnecessarily attacking HER.

"So how is it so horrible

"So how is it so horrible that she writes and sings about relationships with boys? It's a huge part of a teenage girl's life."

As a 17-year-old girl I feel pretty qualified to say that it's not a huge part of EVERY teenager's life. There are some of us out here who have basically abandoned the pursuit of boyfriends and relationships - not because we're savin' it for marriage, but just because we aren't really considered attractive or good "girlfriend material." And actually, Taylor's music tends to have a negative effect on me - the whole "I AM THE EVERYGIRL! You can all relate to me and my myriad boy problems!!! Oh,anddon'thavesexoryouwillgetpregnantanddie." image just seems so belittling. I'm a virgin and I don't date, but that's not really a personal choice - I just can't get a guy to look twice at me, particularly compared to my more conventionally attractive friends. I SHOULD by all means relate to "You Belong With Me." But that doesn't change the fact that I find Taylor's messages of purity being the ultimate virtue kind of disgusting.

Also, I'm surprised that this article doesn't mention my ultimate problem with the song, which is that it basically advocates stealing another girl's boyfriend - but that's another story.

And since when does Taylor

And since when does Taylor Swift speak to and about EVERY SINGLE TEENAGE GIRL? Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking, relationships and guys are a large part of a teenage girl's life. In fact, men remain a central part of a straight woman's life. The only thing about Swift is the drama of it all. Once you reach college, the drama fades.

I didn't date in high school much, but that doesn't mean I didn't think about guys a lot or wasn't interested in them at all.

If Taylor Swift's music has a "negative effect" on you, it's as simple as *not listening to her music*.

"I'm a virgin and I don't date, but that's not really a personal choice - I just can't get a guy to look twice at me, particularly compared to my more conventionally attractive friends."

I'll let you in on a little secret.... It's all about confidence. If you're not confident, any guy won't think twice about you. I don't think I was that particularly beautiful in high school and I got plenty of male attention and it was mostly because I wasn't shy, I was myself, and I was confident about who I was and I owned it.

"But that doesn't change the fact that I find Taylor's messages of purity being the ultimate virtue kind of disgusting."

I've asked again and again and again, and people have yet to tell me what and where exactly the message of purity and virtue is.

I'm starting to believe it's merely a perception.

"Also, I'm surprised that this article doesn't mention my ultimate problem with the song, which is that it basically advocates stealing another girl's boyfriend - but that's another story."

So it's blonde Taylor Swift's fault that the GUY realized he didn't really like his gf anymore and realized he liked blonde Taylor Swift more... interesting.

No wonder I Hadn't Heard of Her

Taylor who? I tend to change the channel when I hear things that equate a woman's lack of virginity with being a slut or bad things happening. I've heard and seen just too many hurtful things done and said to good people by finger wagging gender biased hypocrites. Maybe that's why I had no idea who she was before reading this post. Hopefully she didn't intentionally go for that kind of role and maybe then, eventually, I figure out who she is.

how sad is it

So how sad is it that the main thing I feel the need to point out in this blog post is that Taylor Swift plays both the "goodie" and the "baddie" characters in the video for "You Belong With Me"? I'm not really sure it affects the argument you're making in this post, but I felt that it should be said (and it may already have been said, but I couldn't make my way through the longer rants already left here).

I've never bought a Taylor Swift album, but I do like that she writes her own songs. They may not be the most amazingly lyrical things ever, but I do respect her for that.

Even though I disagree with some of your thoughts about this young female artist, I did enjoy the humor used in this post. Very. much.

PS I can't bring myself to watch the "Abigail" video after reading your comments. Hoo boy.

relationships between women

The thing I find really interesting about this video is that, unlike in the video for You Belong With Me, relationships between women are actually placed above relationships with men. Taylor and Abigail have a strong bond, whereas Abigail and her boyfriend have something temporary and meaningless. And at the end of the video, Taylor makes eye contact with a new girl when she's heading to her first day of college, which hints at the beginning of a new meaningful friendship. I think it would be interesting to discuss this aspect of the story, because it seems to be saying that real, emotional connections will lie with women, while boys may come and go in a more superficial, physical way. Thoughts?

Big News!

It'll certainly be big news when this girl loses her virginity. The horror.

The fact that you made an

The fact that you made an allusion to The Last Unicorn makes you the most awesome person in the world.

Plenty of folks have already

Plenty of folks have already told you that "Abigail gave everything she had" is not necessarily sexual, so I'll leave that be.

What it is truly bizarre, though, is that your post ignored that Swift's very first single was a song about, in part, burgeoning sexuality. That track, "Tim McGraw," referred to "a boy in a Chevy truck/That had a tendency of getting stuck/on back roads at night" -- a far more obvious sexual allusion than "giving everything" one has. (Really, what else can we assume this couple did in that truck? Played canasta?) And, just to really make sure the song's sexuality hits home, Swift sings: "When you think happiness/I hope you think that little black dress." Ain't nothing not hot about a little black dress. The tune clearly presents the then-sixteen year old singer as a sexual being.

Look, I get it. A a country (read, has to be conservative) singer, an artist who appeals to people whose opinions supposedly don't matter (like teenage girls) -- of course you had to do your best to stick the boot in. But it's a bit silly when the artist's own catalogue rebuts your assumptions. Please: More research, less condescension.

Actually, she sings "little

Actually, she sings "little white dress," not little black dress.

That's a "bl" sound.

Relistened. She definitely sings "little black dress." Lyrics here.

No, she really, really doesn't.

You might try actually *listening* to the song.

Holy shista I read the blog post...

and it gave me some great insight: don't put anyone up on a pedestal, they'll only fall off and disappoint ya. Sometimes my friends and I will crank up the radio, blast one of her songs and screech (I didn't even think about saying 'sing' =).....) out the windows. Other times her songs don't fit my mood and I change the channel to something a bit more fitting like jimmy eat world or the beatles. I think it all depends on how you think about a song and how it makes you feel. If you think she's insinuating sex then so be it, but if you think she's a positive role model then enjoy. What we all have to realize is that by idealizing these pop stars/actors/what have you, we're idolizing them, casting them in gold and leaving ourselves to battle it out. My point is, don't fight! For the sake of all that is real and true don't give into the Team Taylor vs. Team Shut-the-fuck-up. In the end, we lose and they make millions of dollars.

THIS.

Why is this topic still active?

Your comment

because this was the first time i'd ever read the blog post and i wanted to comment

Really?! You're gunna take a hit on a 19 year old?!

Wow. That is all I have to say to you my feminist friend.

You really just took a hit on a 19 year old girl who chooses to buy into the fantasy that many girls in America want, whether they be straight, bisexual, or lesbian?! You are so AWESOME!! I just hope one day I can be that awesome. Sorry lady, some of wish and PRAY to not be as cynical as you in our daily lives. Taylor Swift isn't a baby momma to 12 different children, she isn't doped up on drugs in rehab, clubbing all the time, or dancing on a pole (not that there is anything particularly "wrong" with those lovely alternatives), so yea, I would say she is a pretty darn good role model. No, pre-marital sex isn't wrong but her staying abstinent this long is still a pretty darn good goal; obviously YOU couldn't due since you are rejecting the choice she has made.
And aren't feminist supposed to be Pro-Choice?! Okay. So stop hatin' on her. She is just making life choices that she agrees with and can deal with, and just because they aren't the choices you would make doesn't mean she is wrong or stupid in anyway.

Oh...and b-tee-dub, it's not that she couldn't be with the guy because she had freaking GLASSES, it's because she would chose to NOT be like the slutty, popular girl and be a slut and cheat with some guy who was already TAKEN!

Keep Bitchin,
Ashley

Let's Move This Topic

Can we please change the subject from the rather beige Taylor Swift to the absolutely repulsive Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas?

hmm.

I really like how much discussion this inspired.

I personally think that the villification of Taylor Swift is genuinely silly and anti-feminist in itself. She is a teenage girl's alternative to lollipop-sucking pop stars that bare boobies and emphasize ass.

Her songs are infinitely silly and simple. She has a very pleasant voice, and her videos appeal to many young girls. A friend of mine has complained that she encourages "whore-shaming", but I really didn't get that from the video. She was really diggin' her next door neighbor. His girlfriend was a jerk, and she could tell he wasn't happy with her. HOW MANY SONGS HAVE MEN SANG THAT EASILY PARALLEL THIS?

Can some girl genuinely be portrayed as a jerk in a song without someone jumping on it with a passionate proclamation of anti-feminism? Maybe not, but I can hope.

Also, seriously? Criticizing Taylor for standing there as Kanye was a jerk? It was clearly in shock. She was clearly upset. Would it have been more "feminist" of her to yell and get angry? Who are YOU to define what feminism IS and if this girl embodied it by her reaction to a surprising and terrible situation?

I understand critiquing some of Taylor's songs - but why not do the same to the sexy singers like Christina A. and even Gwen Stefani? Why not address some of the truly appalling lyrics of male singers that villify women in general and encourage rape and violence against them?

And, as has already been pointed out - she writes from experience. If this did ACTUALLY happen to her, then ... it's her story and her experience. Maybe her experience isn't exactly "feminist-friendly" but, it's her fricken' life.

"Telling girls stories about how being too sexual will make them broken hollow sluts who can never succeed at life isn't new, and it isn't cute"

She doesn't even mention sexuality. Maybe this girl dated a real loser who dumped her and broke her heart. Up on your feminist high horse, can you muster a little understanding for what was probably a real life experience? If it affected the girl, and she wrote about it - and you're criticizing HER truth and REDUCING this young woman to a "virginal white dress" then maybe you are going against feminist principle by objectifying someone who doesn't fit your specific standards.

I come off as a real Taylor lover here, when I'm truly not.

It was the mocking that made me upset. It came off as pretty ridiculous for someone who writes professionally.

Oh, and ...

The very title of this article appeals to people who adore sensationalism. I actually think this is a total insult to your readers.

Something constructive or more accurate could have been: Is Taylor Swift Feminist Friendly? Or, A Critique of Taylor Swift.

Much better.

Get over it. She rocks and

Get over it. She rocks and looks hot. Everything you ever wished you would be but aren't.

O GOD WHAT DID I JUST READ???????

WTF IS GOING ON IN THIS POST AND IN THIS THREAD????

I always thought I might be thought of as some kind of feminist BUT WHAT THE EVERLIVING HELL is THIS??????

If this blog entry is representative of feminism then I might as well just go down to the adult novelty shop and strap one on. I feel like such a CHAUVINIST PIG now!

SO WHAT if Taylor Swift is "glad" that she is a virgin?

God you people are SICK.

Beyonce must be the paragon of feminism with her song "If you liked IT then you should have put a ring on IT"

Britney too since she outright flaunted her sexuality. What about Katy Perry and Lady Gaga?

Jesus fucking Christ what the fuck is wrong with you people?

WOW.

There are just no words.

"B-b-b-but wont SOMEBODY think of the CHILDREN!???"

PLEASE, just STFU.

It looks like Taylor Swift at least attempted to do something GOOD for young girls.

This is the most deranged blog entry I've ever had the displeasure to read.

The author comes across rather twisted and bitter.

Did she perchance get passed over for some other "sweeter" girl who wasn't out rolling around in the back seats of Volkswagons with the entire hockey team? NTTAWWT

Sometimes the Bear is just a bear.

While assigning image value to every step, pause, and turn of your subject may do well to sell readership I believe it does little justice to the overall picture. Swift has stepped away from the current genre of cotton candy pop by virtue of strong talent and the will to be portrayed more or less as she wishes to be portrayed.

These songs were written while she was 15-17 she WORKED to keep them true to her vision and she demanded high production values in her stage shows. She has exhibited excellent business skills in her contract negoations, all in all she has risen to the top on her own merits not those of some mickey mouse ensamble created for the public consumption.

Bitch should be celebrating the fact that a young woman has been able to take charge of her career in a way that no other teenager male or female in the last 10 years has, and that she has retained control of her property and her image in a business that devours young talent and grinds out the likes of Christine, Britney etc.

The OP should also realize that Taylor is as far removed from pop stardom as Bitch is from any sembelence of narrative journalism. The point you try make in this article is that Taylor isnt all things to all people, she is not telling both sides of the story in a song and that somehow she is less because of the fact.

I contend that the moral ambiguity of the past 10-20 years has done far more harm then good to this generations young women, and that in the day and age where your youngster is likely to spend more time with a Taylor Swift CD then a real live loving parent, there needs to be some balance to the overwhelming amount of "if it walks fuck it" media.

Music is an artform which allows one to convey thoughts and feelings to another. Do we chastice Piccasso when he uses Red instead of Black do we bemoan Renoir for his choice of subject? Does the white dress mean anything, the teardrop on the flower? probably but then again sometimes the bear is just a bear.

I'm late to the game

I'm late to the game commenting because I got here via a recently posted link, but after reading through the discussion, I had to weigh in. One thing I find bewildering is the degree to which the criticism of "Fifteen" ignores the fact that it was written about a specific experience. The red-head in the video is Taylor's best friend, whose name is Abigail. They met in class their first day freshman year of high school. They went through their first boyfriends and first break-ups together. Abigail had a bad experience with a boy, Taylor broke up with her first boyfriend, and together, they cried. Taylor and Abigail are still best friends, and Abigail PLAYS HERSELF IN THE VIDEO.

From this perspective, I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the idea of this song as putting a value judgment on Abigail's actions, or being anti-Abigail in any way (let's see, how did Sady phrase it? "Broken hollow sluts who can never succeed at life"?). The real Abigail certainly doesn't seem to feel judged or like Taylor is smug about anything; the real Abigail just thinks it portrayed her first broken heart AS IT HAPPENED. And if Taylor thought Abigail should be ashamed, or if Abigail was ashamed of the experience having happened, I can't imagine that Taylor would have included that line in the song, or that Abigail would have VOLUNTEERED to portray herself in the video, or to HAVE HER PICTURE included with the CD, on the page where the lyrics for "Fifteen" are written, with the caption "Taylor and Abigail" underneath it.

I get that people can read things in creative works that the authors did not intentionally put in there, but if the song portrays Taylor's feelings and Abigail's, and their experiences as they see/saw them, then what is this article really saying? Sorry, women and girls, unless your sexual experiences and feelings about them line up with what Sady Doyle thinks they should be, you should just keep your mouths closed. There is, after all, only one way to be a strong woman, and that way certainly doesn't involve being open and honest about your experiences with sex and heartbreak if they don't meet some preconceived notion of what the feminist party line should be! Women like Taylor and Abigail- and like those of us who relate to this song- clearly should just not have a voice. We should sit down and shut up, or censor our experiences, in a way that a man would never have to, just because we're women.

I don't see "Fifteen" as advocating only one way to be, or only one view about sexuality- Abigail had sex and broke up with her boyfriend; Taylor did not have sex and broke up with her boyfriend; both Taylor and Abigail cried, and neither of them were permanently scarred by the experience (as evidenced by "I've found time can heal most anything"). Taylor thought someone loved her and then discovered that maybe he didn't; Abigail's boyfriend "changed his mind." And they had to discover who they were "supposed to be" outside of the boundaries of a romantic relationship and that there were bigger goals in life than wanting to be wanted by boys. Because that's just a HORRIBLE message to be sending to young girls.

So no, I don't see this song as saying that sex is bad; I see it as saying that heartache happens, and that even if it feels like the end of the world, even if it feels like you've given everything you had, you'll heal and there are bigger things in the world and some day, this won't feel so important.

In fact, when it comes to sending the message that there is only ONE right answer when it comes to sex and sexuality for women, I think Doyle beats Swift, hands down. Swift sings about her best friend getting her heart broken. Doyle ends her article by attacking the way Taylor looks, dresses, and acts ("I personally can't stand the whole cartoonishly innocent and pure (and white-dress-wearing! Always with the virginal white dress!) blonde blue-eyed white girl thing"), and suggests in the comments that she needs to grow up and stop being so childish. As a woman, I feel devalued by the scorn shown in the post and Doyle's later comments about how Taylor herself is "infantile" (because, Doyle explains, at 19, she herself had "voted in my first Presidential election, moved away from home for the first time, lived in my own apartment for the first time, started drinking, started having sex, and entered into the first long-term relationship of my adult life.").

By middle school, Taylor was working after school as a professional songwriter. At 13, she walked away from a major recording contract on principle, because they would not agree to let her write her own songs. At 19, she is in charge of every creative aspect of her tour, she writes all of her songs, she decides what she sings and what she wears, she travels all over the world, has moved away from home, and... what does that leave again, to justify Doyle calling her infantile? Moved away from home? Check. Voted? No idea (and neither has Doyle). Oh, yes, I suppose that just leaves, of the things Doyle mentioned, drinking and HAVING SEX. So when Doyle says Taylor needs to grow up, what exactly should we infer that she means?

You have to strain to conceive "Fifteen" as demeaning Abigail, or girls like her, for having sex. But you do not have to strain AT ALL to construe Doyle's attitude in this post and the comments as demeaning Swift for not having sex. Taylor is a smart, savvy young businesswoman, but it's okay for Doyle to call her infantile, because she's a blonde-haired, blue-eyed white girl who wears white dresses and doesn't have sex? It's okay for Doyle to reduce Taylor's achievements to "Pretty Pretty Princess" moments?

What the hell kind of feminism is this? As a woman, I feel devalued. I consider myself a feminist, but apparently, Bitch magazine doesn't. Because I'm white and sometimes wear white dresses? Because if someone did something really rude and mean to me, my first reaction might be to be shocked or saddened, rather than get aggressive with them? Because I've actually had the experience of holding one of my friends while she cried after her first time? Because I'm a virgin? Because I have the gall to think that as a woman, I should be able to wear what I goddamn well want to wear, not have to worry if my gut-emotional reactions are Sady Doyle pre-approved, and do whatever the hell I want to do with my body without being dismissed as a Pretty Pretty Princess who needs to grow up?

For someone who talks all high and mighty about girl-on-girl sexism in music, Sady Doyle sure doesn't seem to mind dishing it out in blogs. I disagreed with her analysis of the lyrics of Fifteen, but could chalk that up to different people seeing different things in art, but her scorn and attacks on Taylor as a woman flat-out disgust me.

wow

This is the first time I have ever read anything from this website and I must say that I'm not only disappointed in the author's hateful rant, but also the hateful rants that other people wrote in response! Isn't true feminism about inclusion and education? It seems that people forget that Taylor Swift is not a feminist and probably has no real concept of what the word means. I personally find her music a bit over-the-top sugary sweet at times, but when I listen to the lyrics of "Fifteen", it makes me cry. I was that shy girl and I all I wanted was to be wanted. And I do wish I could go back and tell myself what I know now. And ya know what? Maybe Taylor Swifts would react differently to Kanye West now, considering the fallout. But who are we to judge her reaction? She was on live TV in front of millions of people. Who could ever say how they would react in a very surreal situation like that? It's unfair to judge a person when we have no idea what the truth is.

I like that pop culture analysis clearly takes place on this site, but it just seems to me that the people who are versed in media literacy and feminist theory are forgetting a core value of feminism. They are attacking other women. The author attacks Taylor Swift and then other women attack the author. We are doing exactly what a patriarchal society expects us to do..... bicker amongst ourselves and what do you know.... change never takes place. It's easy to judge others when we believe we know the TRUTH. But let's not forget that truth is rarely black and white, and is almost always something more fluid that. And attacking other women only caters to the 'divide and conquer' society we currently live in.

Yes, let's discuss how her sweet and innocent image can be damaging, just like Britney, Beyonce, and Shakira's images are equally damaging to young girls. But let's discuss the image, not the person. Attacking her and name calling a)doesn't make you look like a credible author, just angry and bitter and b) doesn't get to the crux of what I think the author is really upset about, which is an extreme version of femininity. Any extreme version that doesn't create an authentic space for women to be themselves can be damaging, but is that all Taylor Swift's fault?

I'm not an expert, just a women's studies graduate who is saddened when women would rather attack each other than focus on the bigger problems we face as women. Where is the empathy and compassion in these posts? We should all realize by now that this kind of digression into name calling and judging other women's lives and choices is counter-productive to overcoming oppression and patriarchy.

Being a woman does not exempt you from criticism.

And being a man does not make you an automatic target.

Don't get me wrong—except in the most extreme of cases, "attacking" is never justified, and I am all for sisterhood (something that patriarchal society sees as a THREAT!, and the utterly vile thing is that many women and girls are internalizing that and dumping their girlfriends once they get an SO), but not being allowed to criticize other XX-chromosomed beings? Puh-lease. If I wrote a pointed, rational, emotionally restrained criticism skewering holes in the bile-filled writings of Ann Coulter, would you say the same thing? If not, I find that questionable. If we are to move toward a truly gender-role-free society, we must treat everyone as equals—and that means in criticism as well as praise. Giving anyone "special" treatment is incredibly reactionary. Ms. Doyle's tone was a little inflammatory and jumped to conclusions, but in general, she had every right to write an article criticizing Taylor Swift.

Brava, Ms. Jen

Apparently Sady Doyle thinks the only female role that is correct to play is Tank Grrl.

Seriously, just because you don't have sex, smoke or drink at 19 (the last of which is ILLEGAL, by the way, whether or not we like that fact) doesn't make you immature. Different women have different lifestyles, and other women have no right to degrade them for that. The goal of feminism should be to help women understand the choices that they have, rather than beating them up for not making the choices that we would.

I'm also deeply disturbed by some of the anti-white comments on here. Supporting people of color does NOT mean hating on Caucasians. Kanye's actions at the VMA's were rude and inappropriate, Beyonce's actions were classy and thoughtful, and neither of them should be used as some sort of archetype of blackness. They're individual people.

When someone becomes famous, it doesn't make them less human. You can criticize someone's words and actions if you want to, but please refrain from reducing them to a non-person. Thank you.

Exactly. Swift is being

Exactly. Swift is being criticized because she doesn't uphold Sady Doyle's idea of what feminism is or how women should act.

Isn't that what the whole fucking women's movement is about? Being who you are as a woman, and not having to live up to anyone else's idea of what it means to be a woman?

Back in the 1950s, women were expected to act feminine, have children, be asexual, and be nice little housewives and have sex with their husbands on a whim (and if they didn't live up to this ideal, they were bad women and failures). In the late 1960s, that was reversed (although the hippies didn't quite get it right), and feminism was brought into fruition, women were told that they didn't have to act in a way that others expected them to, and be who they are. What Sady is doing here is exactly what people in the 1950s did to women: tell them how to act in order to be acceptable women. Taylor Swift is acting in a way that she deems unacceptable, so she's chastising her for it.

What she's doing is effectively the opposite of the idea of feminism. She's telling Swift how to act, how to behave, how to dress, who to fuck, and when to fuck. Feminism, as far as I understand it, says that women should not be demonized for choosing to live life how they see fit. It's frankly disgusting and I think your post, Jen, totally hits the nail on the head. Thank you, and I agree 100%.

I don't really think that

I don't really think that this criticism is about Swift acting in one particular way or another. It's more about the way her particular actions are codified with cultural cues in order to reinforce particular real-life actions in young women.

The same criticisms could be leveled at Swift had she been the one to engage in sexual relations in that video, and then had received a negative consequence or been denied something of positive value as a result.

Wholesome, virginal girls

Wholesome, virginal girls like Taylor Swift aren't affected by the rain when they're wearing their white dresses.

Frankly

I believe the real problem is that one singer can achieve or fail based on their sexuality, its presence or absence. I never considered whether Taylor Swift was virginal or not-virginal enough. I think her songs are silly and juvenile as a result of not a lot of deep thought, and her voice (although I think it was noted in this for it's "normalness") is not appealing to me. But she's young and she could be something some day, if people would accept her as she is without dubbing her 'saint' or 'slut' like the world is. Dubbing women = hating women. (That's not really our goal is it?)

I will thank Sady Doyle for

I will thank Sady Doyle for one thing; her cattiness sufficiently enraged me enough for me to write my first real blog post. Check it out here, if you like that kind of thing: http://post-everythinggirl.blogspot.com/2009/12/existential-story-or-wha...

At 19 I didn't have anything insightful to say, either...

While I don't entirely disagree with Doyle's anti-Swift argument, I do think that kind of acid contempt would be better suited for an artist who isn't barely out of braces. Railing against Taylor Swift is like arguing with a toddler over his drawing of the park, so kicking up a storm about the color of the jungle jim is hardly a compelling debate, and neither is the insight of Swift's songwriting. Millions of blonde, blue-eyed, suburban white girls talk about boys, ponies, dreams; most of us just breeze past them in the mall on the way to Panda Express. Taylor Swift just happens to have a microphone when she does it- it doesn't mean it should warrant any more discussion.

Hmm you might be on to

Hmm you might be on to something EXCEPT FOR THE FACT SHE ALREADY LOST HER VIRGINITY.
You are reading way too into this; You Belong To Me may be obnoxious but its more about wondering why a guy you like is dating a mindless girl with no personality rather than trying to steal him away. Don't tell me you've never pined for someone who's in a relationship; we've all had that "you belong with me, not her" type deal.
And 15? You are trying way to hard to twist it into something it's not. Ever thought its a song about her reflecting on being a teenager and all the mistakes shes made, and looking back on it how silly she was to think it was all a big deal? I don't know, maybe instead of taking something that's not even there and making it into a big pile of bull shit, you'd have a nice point. They're songs that many teenagers can relate to, I'm sorry that they're not full of groundbreaking lyrics that are changing society. She's 19, give her a break.
Better luck next time, though.

Sadly, I think this is a

Sadly, I think this is a good example of why many people are turned off by "feminism". This kind of ranting and raving, coupled with hyper-analysis, shames other provoking and well-reasoned feminist pieces. This just makes it look like feminists pick at every detail, see a "woman-hating, woman-subjugating boogeyman" behind every word and concept, and cannot ever loosen up and understand that sometimes in life, it is what it is, not everything is a 007 mission to decode the next great evil of patriarchy.

To Hell with Taylor Swift.

To Hell with Taylor Swift. Her voice quivers too much when she sings, so she sounds like a goat. Plus her music is boooooooring, GOD is it boring. You know, AC/DC made like 40 million different versions of what sounds like the same album but at least they did it with attitude and personality. That "who me" junk drives me outta my skull. Taylor sucks. I said it. Heavy Metal.

You make a great point,

You make a great point, although I think she says /some/ good things. "But in your life, you'll do greater things than date the captain of the football team." But yes, in general, she's being too virginal.

Yes. Thanks!

Hi there:

I said the same thing to myself when I first heard this song. Same with "Skaterboy" by Avril Lavigne, about a girl who wasn't willing to take a chance on a boy who seemed to have a sketchy sense of responsibility.

I *almost* prefer the outright anti-social behavior of the Speers and Lohans to such attitudes as represented in these songs by bubble-gum girls.

Swift and Lavigne are both great entertainers and I don't want to take that away from them. I just think they need to analyze the songs they sing a little more closely in the context of the message they want to convey to girls and young women.

further to

I didn't read the entire article and my comments are referring only to the song "You Belong to Me". After reading, I did find that the rest of the article was infused with exactly what the first paragraphs seemed to be criticizing.

______________________________________

With all the messages out there that demand that girls (and boys too) acquiesce to whatever, wherever, whenever, and however anyone wants them to be, a few offering an alternative is a good thing.

This reply is late,

This reply is late, ridiculously late.
But I found the article, and the discussion that followed, really interesting.

I admit, Taylor's latest video honestly makes me feel sick. I'm a fifteen year old girl. Exactly who the song is targeting. And when I saw this video, I did feel pressured to be like Taylor. To be a lovely little virgin in a white dress.
I also felt pressured to never end up like poor Abigail, who made an obviously WRONG decision and is now paying the Price. How quaint.
I'm not a virgin. I'm about as far from it as a fifteen year old girl gets. Maybe that whore complex is more suitable for my frame of mind,
but in my opinion, the music video is screaming about how much of a terrible person I am. The thing is, a young girl who's been promiscuous, or even been like Abigail, already kind of feels like shit about herself. And this isn't helping.

Not to mention the song lyrics. Being fifteen definitely makes you a naive, boy-crazy little creature that knows nothing about the world. And all the Evil Teenage Boys out in the world are going to compete for your innocence and try to rape you in their cars, right? Wrong. Fact is, yes, boys like sex. But most girls already know this, and it's frankly pathetic to have sex with someone just because they can tell you a pretty lie-"I love you." All in all, the song and video paints teenage girls as mere children who are going to be hurt by Evil Teenage Boys by agreeing to offer up their purity.

I am not a feminist but I

I am not a feminist but I stumbled upon this page because I was interested in seeing if there was any one else out there that has posted any sound negative reviews of Taylor.

Your points are so outstandingly funny and not to mention, true! The first time I heard her song I had a similar reaction and proceeded to try a few more songs out to see what else this girl was about. I was appalled to listen to "Picture to Burn" in which she gives young girls the impression that it is acceptable to get "revenge", lie and be homophobic all at the same time in the line, "So go and tell your friends that I'm obsessive and crazy, that's fine I'll tell mine you're gay."

It's sad that this is what many consider the height of morality. Dressing up dog droppings in a pink bow will not make it stink any less!

JUST PLAIN STUPID.....GET A

JUST PLAIN STUPID.....GET A LIFE....

..or YOU could get a life

..or YOU could get a life and not read blogs that are too smart for you. Go read TigerBeat and get your Jonas Bros fill, Depressing Hollow McAngsty.

Missing the bad influence...

I guess I'm missing something. So, Taylor Swift is recollecting on a time in her life when she witnessed a friend struggling with giving up what she (the friend) felt was too much for her boyfriend. Swift is encouraging young girls to "look before they fall" - i.e., think before you act, in case you might end up getting hurt or regretting your choices. She doesn't say don't do it - just *think* before you do it. Yep, that's pretty awful. So now, telling kids that it might not be the best idea to sleep around at 15 years old is a holier-than-thou attitude to have? Sheesh.

Taylor Swift is one of the

Taylor Swift is one of the worst things I've ever been assaulted by.

Just cutting in as a 14 year

Just cutting in as a 14 year old who has some sort of knowledge of the English language. I really like Taylor Swift. I've liked her since she was a moderately popular singer seemed goofy and had really nice hair. Now, mind you all, I know what music is. I've been a musician since I was five. Most of my music tastes are very different from Taylor Swift. Regina Spektor would probably be my favorite artist. However, I can relate to very little of what she sings about. The drinking, the sex, the adult.

The great appeal of Taylor Swift is that she is relatable. She sings about liking the boy who's going out with the one girl you really do not like (Sorry, is that silly? Are my teenage emotions just too ridiculous? Are they really that less intelligent/important than yours?). She sings about not fitting in and the somewhat unrealistic hope that you'll meet a great guy who you really like who isn't a jerk. She sings about getting your feelings hurt. It could be what your best friend says to you when she calls you late at night. I'm not a social outcast. I don't hate on the "popular girls". In fact, I'm friends with many of them. That doesn't mean I don't think Taylor Swift isn't relatable.

Also, like other people pointed out already, I take "Fifteen" to not mean virgin=good, sex=slut,bad. I think it means that you don't need a boy to be successful, even though, when you're a young teenager, having a boyfriend seems to be the most important thing in the world to many girls. You can, much like Miss Swift, make your own decisions for yourself and come out on top. Which is, in a way, feminism.

(Note: This is coming from the point of view of a very Taylor Swift Brand Teenager, if you will. I haven't had sex. I don't want to. I'm not ready. That's not naivety.)

Tastefully said

As a 15 year old, I know exactly what your talking about. How old are you anyway Sady Doyle? Middle aged and wishing you could do half the things Taylor has already done? Alright, well I agree with this blogger in that Taylor's music is relateable to us silly teenage girls. So if we like it, who are you to judge? No one? Correct. So go blog about your other suppressed feelings in the hopes of feeling the slightest bit better. (You won't.) And I'm sorry for being so rude, but it's really upsetting to see people like you taking down a role model like Taylor.

Relatable to...upper-middle

Relatable to...upper-middle class to wealthy, suburban, white, conservative, non-mentally-ill, skinny, able-bodied non-immigrant USian blond girls with parents who love and support them...yeah those are the only teenagers who matter right? You have the privilege of being part of the "default" and that's why she's relatable to you.

And straight and cis etc.

And straight and cis etc. etc.

Admittedly, I do fit some of

Admittedly, I do fit some of those thing, but I am much more than what you put there. I am certainly not wealthy (truthfully, any middle class is a bit of a stretch), suburban, or conservative. I don't think you don't even realize I have friends who are often the opposite of the traits you listen to above. Many girls my age, not the only "default" teenagers, find Taylor relatable, or if not relatable, a bit of fun. In fact, I know more girls who are the "default" teenager who find Taylor irritating. You're stereotyping, and it's unfair.

Some people here are making Taylor Swift out to be this awful piece of propaganda. She isn't a groundbreaking musician. If you see interviews with her, she is very cutesy and girly. However, give her a little bit of credit. She's making nice music that many girls like or find relatable.

VERY well said!! At 14,

VERY well said!! At 14, you've got a very good head on your shoulders.

From the POV of the target audience..

Oh my goodness! Let's just breathe for a moment! This is obviously a heated debate between taylor lovers and taylor haters. Personally, I love Taylor's music AND her messages. She's 19. She's writing about what teenagers go through because she has been through it. Please, author, tell me you have never had your heart broken by a guy, never looked at the popular girl and thought, "what a bitch. She's so pretty." You honestly are going to sit here and say that you never went through what 100% of other teenage girls do? Your going to say taylor isn't a role model because from hers and millions of others point of view, there are better things to do in life than "dating the boy on the football team"? I'm sorry but you just seem bitter and unhappy if you can honestly type a blog about an innocent girl who writes songs about her emotions. MIGHT AS WELL BASH ON EVERY SINGLE SONGWRITER EVER BORN. Because you don't agree with her, you can destroy her? Well, maybe you should focus on your own issues instead of taking it out on a brilliant singer. Maybe you were unpopular in high school, but everyone goes through something in life they wish they hadn't. So maybe, just maybe, you should get off your WHITE HORSE and realize that Taylor speaks to all of us teenage girls when she tells a story in a song that we can dance to or sing in the car. Songs that can brighten our day, or help us through a tough time. So grow up a little, and get over yourself.

100% huh? Such bullshit.

100% huh? Such bullshit.

ugh just give it another 2

ugh just give it another 2 years she'll be another Gaga, Paris, Lohan.... it's just a matter of time. Remember when Britney was a virgin? That lasted a whole 8 seconds. Role models for girls (for the most part) won't be found in "pop" music. Try folk, like Tracy Chapman (who?) exactly.

Is it just me or was that a

Is it just me or was that a little conceited and envious. People are going to listen to and follow whoever they choose. Obviously Taylor Swift has a large fan base and whatever anyone says she is going to keep it at least for a while. While I am not in love with her or her songs I am not going to deny (nor, I would think, would anyone else) that she is talented; she is also very attractive. She worked hard for her success and she has it. You can complain all you want but I highly doubt that it is going to make an impact on the world. Anyone is entilted to an opinion, but still this just seems a little resentful and, mostly, insignificant -- move on.

stop it

this blog is killing me. first there's an interview with gaga in which she makes herself look uberdumb. now, a point-by-point anaysis of the taylor's little life lesson that women are less valuable after they've been used up by the dirty, aggressive men. you are ruining pop for me....

Interesting

Your article makes a good point, however I really don't think it's that big of a deal to be speaking about it with so much anger, since Taylor Swift-types have been around since the beginning of time and after all, she's just a pop singer.

However, I do think you make a very good point about her fetishized virginity and manufactured infantile "innocence". I would also like to add that while promoting abstinence per se is not a bad idea (especially among teens who are totally irresponsible when it comes to sex), but what bothers me are the connotations she links with virginity: docility, pretty butterflies, cuteness, sharing secrets with your best friend, etc. She equates sexual innocence with emotional/intellectual/whatever innocence. There are other alternatives to being a bimbo, and they don't involve continuing to pretend that you're a little girl after you've reached puberty.

But overall, I think Taylor Swift is harmless. She's just tapping in to stereotypes that are already existing anyway.

One more thing...

Also, I was kind of puzzled by how low-cut and short her white dress is in the second video. Even if she hasn't got cleavage, that neckline shows her entire chest. I'm not a puritan, but even I think that dress looks more like a sexy night gown than a summer dress. It seems a contradictory message to make: you should be a virgin, but you should also be frail, super-skinny, wear lots of make-up, have perfect shiny curls, and wear frilly low-cut dresses.

I mean, I don't mean to be too critical. It's just when I was a teenager, I never really thought of pop-singers (or any singers) as role models. I just thought of them as singers. When I was young, I was into Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and the like, but it never occured to be to model myself after them (and it probably would have ended badly if I had).

This might be totally

This might be totally inappropriate to post a link in a comment and if so I'm sorry. But I happened to have just come across a feminist parody song on Taylor Swift on youtube today and then I saw that arguments over this post were still alive after so many months, I thought some people might enjoy it (or might be further enflamed by it...oh well).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WISkvJOUOe4

Smart commentary -sharply

Smart commentary -sharply written and convincing...and I can see your points. They were dulled however when I actually watched the second video. (Didn't bother watching the first.)
In that particular video I think she is saying that there are other things in life besides this guy and even though he may say he loves you- you should look before you leap. My take on that is at 15 hopefully your intuition is very on point because you life experience with guys in general is nothing compared to what you will consider watching out for when you are older. The upside is teenage boys are as relatively naive. It didn't strike me as being about not having sex. It struck me as being about watching out for one's own best interest- which isn't to have sex without any sense of what it is that you are really after or willing to risk. It depends. I DID have sex when I was 15. That guy was one of the best guys I have ever known. We dated on into college and he is still one of my closest and most cherished friends. We also both grew up and married other people and remember that bond from being young together fondly. It is great when two innocent and well intentioned hearts can come together. That said,
I don't think a lot of stories turn out that way and I do think it is a typical and healthy for a woman to feel like what she does physically she also does emotionally and there is no split there. If that is what Taylor S. is validating or holding the space for for young women then I see no issue with that.
The part below not only cracked me up but I agree. Thank you for putting words to something that was only a vague sense of discomfort that I felt about the message in some of her music but had yet to articulate. Also - I think personally she is probably a lovely human being. There is one thing about an attempt to up awareness -but the girl bashing finger might just be pointing both ways on this one;).

Except, um, not really. Actually, I would argue that "You Belong To Me" song and/or video is a triumph of girl-on-girl sexism. Starting with the first verse ("She's going off about something that you said / She doesn't get your humor like I do") - I mean, a girl EXPRESSING ANGER? To her BOYFRIEND? Because he MADE A JOKE THAT SHE FOUND INSENSITIVE OR MAYBE JUST ANNOYING? How DARE SHE - it put my hair thoroughly on end, with Taylor pleading over and over again for a boy to just go ahead and dump a girl (who apparently has goals in life outside of obsessively working to please this one dude), in favor of Taylor (who doesn't). I mean, I know we're supposed to be rooting for Taylor, because GLASSES, but this whole thing whereby girls who do not conceive of themselves as traditionally attractive deal with this by hating on girls who they think are prettier is just really repulsive to me, and I can't stand it, especially when it's framed as "empowering" rather than just insecure and gross. You have a problem with how limiting the mainstream beauty standard is? Fine. TALK ABOUT THAT. I will agree with you. But slamming "ugly" girls and slamming "pretty" girls both amount to slamming girls. So, you know. Less of that, please

Yes and No

I definitely see your point. She is very naive on the topic of sex, but at the same time, I don't think she's a bad role model. Girls are having sex too early and for the wrong reasons. It should be a thought out choice. I know not everyone shares that opinion, hence it being my opinion. However, I agree that by being so naive and almost holier-than-thou, she is giving girls not only an unrealistic life view, but also an attitude that can make them a bit uppity (sp?) or snobbish. For a fifteen-year-old who doesn't understand these things yet, this song and it's message can be beneficial. For someone who has a few extra years on her, we realize that she has a lot of growing up to do, and her song holds no place in the real world. For now, at least she's not another Britney Spears!

http://www.thefrisky.com/post

I do not think these were

I do not think these were the intentions of Taylor Swift, but it just goes to show the impact society can have on a young woman and how she expresses what society has told her for her entire life. Of course, by Taylor writing lyrics that portray jealous female relationships, only feeds the cycle that women should give up everything for a man and even engage in hate relationships with other women.

Hold on

I am way behind the times, but I am compelled to say something.

First of all- A lot of people are complaining that this is an attack of a young girl. I honestly do not think Taylor Swift feeling's will get hurt from this. She is a large enough figure in mainstream pop culture that people are going to talk about her and the image she projects and they may or may not be nice. Sady's post did not attack Taylor Swift the person. She did not say that Taylor is bad, disgusting, jealous and that is why she is making these songs. Sady, and correct me if I am wrong, takes issue with the message being sent out and the persona that Taylor projects to her fans.

I read all the comments on here- I am fascinated (sp?) by human conflict. I noticed that a lot of people attacked Sady personally and also attacked other users personally. One thing to keep in mind is that the worst way to drive a point home is to attack the person who you disagree with. You are only jealous of Taylor or You must be a middle aged nobody to say these things- they are assumptions with no factual basis and have nothing to do with the argument. Honestly, they undermine it. Just something to think about.

I am not a fan of Taylor Swift myself for many of the same reasons Sady expresses. That does not need anymore dissection on this post though.

I want to address some of

I want to address some of your comments about the second video. Ok. Let's suppose Taylor is really insecure about her very real desires for sexually intimacy. What's wrong with her pretending that she has bigger and better things to worry about? We do that all the time with a host of other things we are insecure about, like our performance at work or school, for example. Why is letting-in to the impulse for sexual gratification necessarily better or more honest? What if afterwards the the guy walks out on me and I wake up alone the next day, which results in my wanting to be alone and chaste and wear a white dress of purity? Can I only be consistent if I indulge my volatile and changing nature? Let's be really honest with ourselves, we often do and should try to hold ourselves to common standards of behavior (we can debate the standard). When we fall short of the standard, we owe it to ourselves to feel guilty for awhile; but we move on. The sorts of rationalizations we use to prevent us from doing potentially dangerous things obviously serve a function. They're only bad when they're taken to be ends in and of themselves. Let's give Taylor's standard a chance. But let's also love our daughters, sisters, and wives despite and perhaps sometimes because they don't meet the standard. If you want to debate a different standard, i.e. that we should all be freely sexual, and not have to worry if that compromises our status in society, let's stop deconstructing and simply debate the relative merits of that view.
Also, you write like yours is the only possible interpretation of the video. I never thought it was the girl's fault her boyfriend forced her to do something she didn't want to. And why should I believe Taylor is using her virginity to cash in? Because some of us would if we had the chance?

The comments here...

I like how a lot of people are angry at the author for criticizing "a girl who is only 19-years old", as if that somehow makes her immune to such criticism. Last time I checked, a 19 year old is an adult, not a child that needs protecting.

I'm not a fan of Taylor

I'm not a fan of Taylor Swift's music (note I said her music, not her--I don't know her personally) but I do think she's talented and I hardly think she's a threat to feminism. She's achieved remarkable success especially considering how young she is and I will always be on the side of someone who writes her own songs which she does. I do think her music (especially that damn Romeo and Juliet song) has been ridiculously overplayed so a lot of people don't like her just because they're sick of hearing about/from her. And, of course, nobody likes a wunderkind. I do think Lady Gaga is a more interesting artist but I'm not a huge fan of hers either so I can't really judge.

We need a little more open-mindedness

with so many ideals to follow in this multi-cultural, globalized world we live in, its very important to keep your head and heart in the right place before following anything. We have developed a tendency to be extra opinionated about matters at hand. and more often than not, our morals are guided because of mass hysteria and vogue. Thus its very important to be clear becoming headstrong, and not act plainly upon bandwagon effect.

Music, unlike most of the things in life, has the power to be a really effective tool of mass communication. Thus the artists have the extra responsibility to be careful with what they say through their songs. It should not just reflect our archetypes, but engage the thoughts of the listener with a new idea, or a creative endeavor. Moral and self righteousness can only serve to uplift the musicians ascetic and puritanical stance. It does not add into the society. I think the writer has very well managed to throw light on the growing rate of people distorting morality and purity with righteousness. I also think that more emphasis should be laid on what we can contribute, rather than what is right and wrong. as the spanish say, "what cures martha, sickens sancho..."

i wonder why all of these

i wonder why all of these people are siting here slamming you lol i mean this is a blog right? meaning it's YOUR opinion. we do live in America and we do have the right to freely state our opinions as we see fit. i am personally a taylor fan but not because of her "musical" fame but because she does put out a positive light to younger girls when it comes to staying a vigrin, but being a virgin untill marrige is YOUR own choice and if you choose to do it, it doesn't make you a slut or an uneducated unsuccsessful idoit; as long as you're doing it with good reasons then you're making a good choice -if its a mistake then you have something to learn from and it's ok we're human, we make mistakes.

as for the girl who sat there saying you were stupid for writting your opinion; which i might add had a lot of very good MIND OPENING points, maybe you should check your own spelling and/or grammar before you tell someone else who's obviously a way better writter than you that they're stupid. she OBVIOUSLY went to school which is exactly what YOU should continue to do especially since you can hardly speak correctly enough to make your insul the slightest bit effective.

btw i love what you had to say, it really opened up new ideas for me and my own blog

I didn't take the

I didn't take the “everything” that Abagail gave to her boyfriend as her virginity. Given the other line about dreams of marriage and then moving on to bigger things, “everything” in this case seems to be devotion, time, and energy. All the input that Abagail gave, besides her virginity, paled against the one thing she held back (in the video, anyway). The song is just a message warning against giving your heart to someone when you're young and don't really know the implications of love.
But once there's a virgin involved, everything becomes anti-feminist. Okay.