Anyone who was alive during the period of time between 2012 and 2014 remembers it well as the dark era where suddenly, everyone hated Taylor Swift — seemingly for no reason. Out of nowhere, the trendy thing to do was call her out for all of the guys she allegedly dated, and the fact that she dared to write songs about her experiences in relationships, and as a longtime fan, I took it on as my personal responsibility to defend her every time someone I knew tried to hate on her. But since the release of 1989 almost two years ago, the dust seems to have settled, and it looks like she learned some pretty important lessons along the way. In a new interview with Vogue, Swift explains how she deals with rumors, and the way she handles the nasty things people have said about her is actually genius.
You've probably already noticed, but when rumors circulate about Swift, her first instinct isn't to air her grievances in a public rant about how unfairly she's been treated — and she'd be totally right to, because it is unfair. Instead, she waits for the right time to release a song like "Shake It Off" that puts the haters in their place... or the perfect opportunity to drop a scathing yet graceful comeback, like she did at the 2016 Grammys in response to Kanye West's claims he made her famous earlier this year. And in other instances, she's still responding, just much more quietly.
Here's how Swift explained how she usually tackles rumors:
You know, I went out on a normal amount of dates in my early 20s, and I got absolutely slaughtered for it. And it took a lot of hard work and altering my decision-making. I didn’t date for two and a half years. Should I have had to do that? No ... I’ve had people say really hurtful things about me, and so I’ve kind of learned how to gauge it: "This is, like, low-to-medium-level hurtful." There are a lot of really easy ways to dispel rumors. If they say you are pregnant, all you have to do is continue to not be pregnant and not have a baby. If the rumor is that you have fake friendships, all you have to do is continue to be there for each other. And when we’re all friends in fifteen years and raising our kids together, maybe somebody will look back and go, "That was kind of ridiculous what we said about Taylor and her friends."
Could you imagine if everyone dealt with criticism that way? I take everything personally, so to ignore what people are saying and hope they realize they're wrong eventually would basically require a triumph of the human spirit for me, and I'm assuming I'm not alone in that. And to be honest, I think people are already saying they were wrong now... or, at the very least, they are thinking it. There have been plenty of times where the rampant rumors about Swift have already proven themselves false, from the insane to the downright insulting. They said Swift doesn't have a bellybutton, but she does. They said she constantly purchases real estate near the guys she's dating, and she doesn't. When a rumor is true — like the ones about Swift and Calvin Harris dating that surfaced at the beginning of their relationship — she always fills everyone in when she's ready. When it isn't, she follows her strategy, and the evidence never materializes. It's pretty simple.
Later in the interview, Swift made yet another important point that highlights why these rumors keep happening, over and over again, especially the mean ones. "It’s going to be difficult if you’re a woman who wants to achieve something in her life — no matter what," she says, and she's absolutely right. The sad reality of the world we live in is that if you're a woman, achieving your goals doesn't come without people trying to knock you down a peg, whether you're Taylor Swift or not. And the reason that I and so many others love her so much is because she's chosen to not let that reality stop her.
Here's hoping Swift keeps proving those rumors wrong for years to come. Unless those rumors say that she's getting a third cat. She should absolutely get a third cat.