“You Need To Calm Down” and Watch Miss Americana.

Mary Kelley, Scarlett Staff

I must first confess to being a Taylor Swift fan. I know all the words to all her songs, without a conscious effort to do so. While she is not my favorite artist, she is a constant in my life. Her journey in the limelight has been detailed in the Netflix documentary “Miss Americana,” shedding light on the scandals, heartbreaks, and missteps of her career. Her music is sometimes cliche, overly dramatic, but whole-heartedly honest. 

I am of the belief that she is allowed to be a flawed human being. This week I also wrote an article about Kobe Bryant. I stated that he was an accused rapist and a great philanthropist, that both those truths can exist together. Why can more people get behind a man who was accused of rape and not behind a woman who told Kanye West off for calling her a “bitch” in his song? As Swift said in her documentary, “because they [male artists] get to call us that.” She was demonized for standing up for herself, a short recording of the tail end of a phone call was all that was needed for Taylor Swift to be “canceled.” She was demonized for remaining silent about her political beliefs, having a “quasi-conservative” label placed on her, and then attacked for sharing her political beliefs. Beliefs, by the way, that were just against a single representative, who in Swift’s words had an “appall[ing]” track record voting against acts to protect equal rights. She was attacked for standing up against the man who sexually assaulted her.
Even without caring for her music, the injustice that she has faced for being a young woman in the music industry should be seen as, to use her own word, appalling. That is something that should have been made clear in 2009 when Kanye West was able to take the microphone from the then 19-year-old’s hand to state on national television that she didn’t deserve the award. Now, Beyoncé probably deserved that award and the judges voting for the white candidate is an unfortunate reality, but that does not justify tearing down the young woman that had nothing to do with the decision.
Taylor Swift has always been extremely eloquent. She is the best person to hear her story from, with the help of director Lana Wilson. Watch the documentary, let Swift tell her side of all the rumors and slander that have plagued her career. Let her apologize for her shortcomings, reveal her internal fears, her harmful habits, her incomparable loneliness, and her desire to always do better. Just make sure that if you don’t like her, that you don’t like her for a real reason and not just because she is too girly or opinionated or something that you would applaud a male artist for.
Swift, toward the end of the documentary, speaks to the person behind the camera, detailing her efforts to grow, to learn how to better respect those around her and how to better respect herself. She is working to “deprogram the misogyny” in her own mind. Swift catches herself apologizing for her “soap-box” rant, but clarifies that she should be allowed to speak her mind in the house that her career and her talent has paid for. Her influence led to a seven fold increase in people showing up to vote in Tennessee. She has been public in her support and contributions to dozens of charities. She has also released seven hugely successful albums, toured across the world, and changed our culture completely. Taylor Swift is successful, generous, and talented. She is learning to cope with being so widely hated and criticized, focusing on the good that she has, and will continue to foster into existence.