In Defense Of Taylor Swift & Tom Hiddleston's Relationship, Because They're Not Fake-Dating
By now, you've seen the pictures, opinions, and memes that accompany summer storm Hiddleswift. It's thanks to them that summer of 2016 will be forever remembered as the summer Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston regularly broke the internet — sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. I'll readily admit that when the news first broke, my jaw dropped, and I didn't believe the couple was real. In fact, up until a week ago, I was regularly decrying the validity of this relationship on Twitter. Now, though, I don't know whether it's because my cynical heart has softened every time I see those goofy, lovey-dovey smiles, or if my views have changed because the 24/7 news cycle has rapidly produced so many different think pieces — but I'm here to say that I genuinely think Swift and Hiddleston are really dating. I'm stanning this couple until my final breath, and I believe I have good reason.
Though some might point to the manicured perfection of every paparazzi shot of them (as well as the fact that every paparazzi shot of them is coming from the same photo agency, Goff Photos) as proof this relationship is a bamboozle, I think their portrayal in the media is instead a controlled window into a legitimate, living, breathing entity. Sure, it's possible the relationship is being maneuvered in such a way that, publicly, Hiddleswift appears to be both the perfectly real romance and a work of celebrity PR genius — but considering Swift and Hiddleston are both celebrities, this would not be abnormal and would not mean they're any less in love.
Yeah, initially, I smelled a fake. I was ready to join the snarky chorus that was not ready to eat what Hiddleswift was serving up. It seemed to good to be true, right? Two of the hottest celebrities of the moment, engaging in what appeared to be a very public, very romantic relationship — and so accessible to the media? Was Swift really expecting us to believe she had moved on so quickly after breaking off her 15-month relationship with Calvin Harris? Hiddleston and Swift's paths had never crossed before the Met Gala earlier in 2016 — and suddenly they're canoodling on a jetty? Since those first leaked paparazzi pictures, I think it's safe to say we've all been a little more than perplexed.
But I don't think any of that means they're fake. I think, instead, it means Hiddleswift is low-key subverting our expectations by keeping their relationship so public. Swift and Hiddleston could have taken steps to secure their status as the most-talked about couple (now that's a smart move) by hiring a regular photographer to capture their every move, while still being able to indulge in their fantasy. Sure, the pictures are the definition of saccharine, schmaltz, and everything in between — but isn't that what we expected, nay, wanted? Weren't we clamoring from the word "Go" for more photographic evidence of whether their romance was legitimate? This is where our shared celebrity obsession has driven us; Hiddleswift may merely be capitalizing on it. Their very public romance is not negated because of the publicity, Swift's recent breakup, or any other such reasons that get conflated with their pairing up. Instead, they could be re-tooling the unspoken rules of the celebrity game for their own benefit.
Just because this couple has been seen regularly in public and seemingly moving through the relationship paces (meeting the parents, taking trips together, meeting mutual friends, etc.) at a startlingly quick rate does not mean it's not genuine. If anything, it would seem to me that these two beautiful humans know exactly what the heck they want in a partner, have found it, and aren't letting go. There's a lot of guff being thrown their way in regard to the realness of their romance that I'd like to try and clear up once and for all. So, in defense of Hiddleswift, let's discuss:
It's Not For The Career Boost
Believe you me, neither Hiddleston nor Swift needs a career boost from dating one another. Hiddleston has been a bona fide celebrity for a long time now. While his breakthrough was in Thor, he has cemented his star status in films like War Horse, High-Rise, and Crimson Peak since then. Hiddleston has also gained considerable buzz for his role in the televised mini-series The Night Manager, a role that could garner Emmy attention later this year.
Swift is, of course, no newbie either. She is currently one of the most powerful and beloved pop stars of the moment, of her generation, and the world over. She's consistently at the top of the charts and is regularly lauded for her musical work. Swift is, by all accounts, doing pretty damn well for herself.
So, there's no reason that I can discern that either of these two would go searching for an extra dollop of notoriety by engaging in a staged romance. Nobody's career is hurting. Nobody is facing exile to the D-list dregs because of an public incident. Rather, these are two people who happen to be celebrities in different —but not dissimilar — lines of work that bonded together quickly. Is that really so weird?
It's Not For A Music Video Off 1989
This is one of the leading conspiracy theories behind their very public romance. It's believed that the reason Hiddleswift is so brazenly public and camera-ready is because they are either filming a music video for a new 1989 single or are creating a Lemonade -esque video that reflects on her celebrity and romantic history (see below for further discussion). To this, I say, "Nah." Swift is long overdue for dropping a new album, sure. But to use a relationship to gain leverage or notoriety ahead of its release is without precedent or merit. Again, Swift is doing just fine where her career is concerned. There's no need for her to keep combing 1989 for new singles or create a prop relationship for new music.
It's Not A Meta-Commentary On The Nature Of Celebrity And Romance
Hiddleswift is comprised of two smart cookies. To speculate that perhaps they're doing something performative or meta-textual (in the vein of Joaquin Phoenix's I'm Still Here ) seems contrary not only to their public personas, but also paints them as extra-crafty people. Are we saying they're legitimately two Lokis in disguise? I think not. It would be an awful lot of wasted time and trouble for two very well-regarded celebrities to go through. My one caveat is that Hiddleswift may not be consciously making meta-textual comment but they are certainly creating one through their actions.
At the end of the day, I hope these two crazy kids go in for the long haul. There's been more joy bursting from those paparazzi photos than I've seen come from any celebrity couple in quite a while. Considering these two are an unlikely pairing with incredibly likable personalities, I'm ready to follow them wherever they will lead me. It's simply not good enough to denigrate the validity of a romance on theory or speculation, especially when the "proof" being used is carefully curated by the subjects in question. Do you really think Hiddleswift would so capriciously pull the wool over our eyes?
Images: Giphy (4)