We Really Need to Talk About Taylor Swift

by Kadeen Griffiths

If I had the money, I would hire a chorus of angels to sing Taylor Swift's praises right now. It appears that when the former-country singer commits to a course of action then she really commits to a course of action. Her current course is a little movement I like to call Feminism and ever since Swift awakened as a feminist she has been killing it so far — in a good way, of course. She has long been a role model to many young women who felt like she was singing their life story in every single one of her songs, but now she is making a point of living up to that. In her interview with Esquire, Swift discussed her dating hiatus and illuminated a new aspect to it that she hadn't before. She wasn't just thinking about herself and her own happiness with her commitment to the single life. She was also sending an amazing message to her fans.

"The only thing I can't control is the spin in the press," said Swift in the interview. "And so if I know I can't control that, I have to let it go. In some ways, though, you can control it. I really didn't like the whole serial-dater thing. I thought it was a really sexist angle on my life. And so I just stopped dating people, because it meant a lot to me to set the record straight—that I do not need some guy around in order to get inspiration, in order to make a great record, in order to live my life, in order to feel okay about myself. And I wanted to show my fans the same thing."

Sorry, I have something in my eye. Tears of joy. Swift has given a lot of reasons for why she has spent the last year doing nothing but enjoying the single life, hanging out with friends, and baking cookies in the world's cutest apron. She's given a lot of reasons because people keep asking her why she's been single all this time, as if their entire world has been rocked by the sheer concept of Swift without a man in her life. And it's not just Swift. Apparently, women can't be happy if they're single and this is an idea that is reinforced by everything from pop culture to well-meaning friends and relatives asking how a girl as great as you could possibly not have a boyfriend yet. Being single isn't a state of being; apparently if you're a woman it's a debilitating social disorder that you're incredibly lucky to be surviving through.

It's exactly that kind of attitude that Swift was hoping to dismantle. Am I saying that the other reasons she has given for her dating hiatus weren't true? No. I'm sure that they're all true, because there are many reasons why a woman might enjoy being single, reasons that might change over time, reasons that might come together to make up one larger reason, and so on and so forth. But the fact that she is making it clear that it was important to her that her fans know that she and they do not need a man for inspiration, for confidence, or even to get through the day is also important to me. It's so, so important to me that she said that because it's just one more way that Swift is proving that she is taking a stand and sending a message — a feminist message.

The fact that it doubles as a message to her critics is just icing on the cake. I've already discussed at length how Swift is accused of writing about romance and exes more often than any male artists who do the exact same thing and the fact that 1989 was largely written and definitely released while she wasn't, as the first single says, "[going] on too many dates," is something that I think her critics really did need to see from her. She didn't have to prove anything to them, not really, but every song and teaser that has been released from 1989 so far has been some of the best work that she's ever done and completely defeats the sexist notion that Swift only draws her inspiration from the men in her life.

Ultimately, her dating hiatus was done for herself. It was Swift's choice to spend a year getting to know herself and having a good, low-pressure time with her friends and her family and her fans. But considering how often she had to explain why she wasn't in a relationship, it's good to know that Swift has no problem using her dating hiatus to call people out on their sexism and show her fans that they don't have to stand for it either. There is nothing wrong with being single and nothing wrong with you if you are single. Men are nice, but you don't need one for your personal happiness. And neither does Swift, thank you very much.

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