Living in the south, only a couple of hours from Nashville, I had no choice but to automatically stan Miss Taylor Swift. When she emerged into the country scene, my little country girl self loved her. I mean, everyone loved her! I was a huge Taylor fan from the get-go. I remember I had her first three albums personally downloaded onto my hot pink iPod Nano. So, you could say I was a Swiftie… at first.
As I got older, I began to fixate on other things (aka boys). In 2011, I fell in love with One Direction, specifically Harry Styles. I was completely and utterly obsessed with him. Note: Not much has changed, I’m just older and slightly saner. However, 2012 arrived and Harry Styles was seen with the one-and-only, Taylor Swift. Haylor happened.
Once Taylor did something I didn’t like because I was overly obsessed with a male celebrity, I immediately hated her. Honestly, I didn’t get upset over Harry dating Taylor, I was mad at Taylor dating Harry. In relevant comparison, this feeling is something we are seeing now from young Harry Styles fans as he dates Olivia Wilde. It’s completely normal as a young girl to feel hurt when your favorite is in a happy relationship. What isn’t okay is hating their significant other, and if not blatantly hating, then discrediting their career, their character, and so on.
One reason I began to be anti-Taylor was that I thought she exploited her relationships for music. A lot of people said this too and I just agreed with them. And how wrong could I have been? It wasn’t her fault Harry broke her heart so she wrote one of the best performing pop albums to exist, 1989. That opinion was almost as harmful as believing Haylor was a PR stunt in which discredits Taylor Swift as a hit-making artist. Saying that she needed a fairly new, boy-band member to increase her fame and success? Not plausible (and I can’t speak on the Larry Stylinson accusations). Recent situations can be compared to the harmful belief that “Holivia” is a PR stunt. Whether it is or isn’t is not my call, but automatically assuming a highly accredited director has to be in a PR relationship for the sake of the box office seems disrespectful to Olivia Wilde. Trust me, she doesn’t need paparazzi pictures of her making out on an Italian yacht with her mega-successful, hot, young new boyfriend to create buzz around her upcoming A-list cast movie. Just like so many young girls do now with Olivia, I created my own opinion on Taylor Swift, a woman I knew nothing about and never took time to learn about. A female musician I loved since I was a young girl immediately became an enemy in my eyes.
From 2012 and onward, my brain only loved the country, early Taylor. The new pop-princess Taylor was associated with Harry Styles, and I couldn’t move past that. Even when the three-month Haylor relationship ended, I wasn’t over it; a lot of fans weren’t. I never even listened to her pop albums and continued to talk down on them. As Taylor was constantly talked about in the media, I listened and believed everything any tabloid said about her. I followed what everyone around me thought and never even gave Taylor the chance. Being in the south, I constantly heard country lovers whine about how “the city got to her” and she “abandoned country music.” And I took it all in, completely agreeing. I thought she should “stick to her roots” and not experiment with her sound or herself. Which all essentially stemmed from my environment and ignorance. But, I refused to reach out and learn any different. During her Reputation era which I now think is fantastic, genius, and bad-ass; I thought at the time she was dramatic and annoying. But, if a man came back with a Reputation-Esque era, it would be hot and cool to probably everyone. My opinion became negative and misogynistic very fast and stayed that way for almost 8 years.
Until I watched her documentary. Until I actually listened to her music. Until I watched her Disney+ special. Until I did some more of my own research.
In college, I began to study the music business by taking a few courses. Becoming completely in tune with music news and giving all new music a listening ear, I finally took a look into Miss Swift once again. When Folklore was released, I only heard praise, even from people I least expected to like Taylor. So, I took a listen. Needless to say, Folklore and Evermore are now in my top favorite albums of all time, my comfort albums. Call me a band-wagon, say you told me so; I explored all of her albums after these, and I love them. I would’ve loved them years ago if I gave her the chance and got out of my pride’s way. If I didn’t let jealousy and misogyny get in the way of listening to a beautiful, talented, female artist I once admired.
I came to the conclusion that whether you like it or not, Taylor Swift is the music industry. She is a big player in this business and always will be. I believe the key to creating genuinely good songs and art is storytelling. No one tells a story better than Taylor Swift. Anytime I watch a movie, TV show or read a book, I can find at least five to ten Taylor Swift songs that work with each storyline. She’s relatable like she reaches into our brains and writes the album for us based on each of our own individual experiences. With her recent work of Folklore and Evermore along with her re-recorded albums, I feel as if Taylor has finally found her voice and herself. The industry swallowed her whole and spit her back out. But, she’s back and better than ever. Now, as I’ve come to my senses, I’ve woken up out of my misogynistic trance to fully support Miss Swift. I guess you can call me a Swiftie… again?
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