My love affair with Taylor Swift started back in 2012 after she released her album RED. With songs like “All Too Well” and “I Knew You Were Trouble,” I not only realized we’d shared a similar experience, but it was even possible we’d shared that experience with the same troubled asshole. The album itself became the inspiration behind “How Bitches Are Made.”
The boy I’d recklessly handed my heart to proceeded to throw it down the very shower drain we, at the time, were showering over. I kept my emotions to myself and my mouth closed as he cited his fear of cheating on me as the cause for the breakup. Then, he concluded the discussion with a rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” before breaking down and sobbing in my arms. As I held his naked body, somehow consoling him, I remember looking to the shower head as if it were a camera documenting the absurdity of the whole thing. While it didn’t make things any less painful - for the first time, I was able to see my love life from a removed and clear perspective, and I decided I had to do something about it.
As every girl knows, no matter how calm, level headed, and honest you are, it’s nearly impossible to stand up for yourself mid break-up without being dubbed a “psycho” later. So, ala Taylor’s poised example and fueled by frustration, confusion, and pain, I used my broken heart to churn out some art. It was a safe way to speak my piece without it being refuted or used against me in an argument regarding my level of sanity. It didn’t hurt either that the idea of exposing the facts surrounding our break-up gave me great joy to share with the public.
Smugness aside, I knew just as Taylor’s album had affect on me, so lie the potential for my words to affect someone else suffering through the same pains of getting older. I quickly discovered it wasn’t just romantic relationships testing my patience and giving me grief, either. It was friendships, business associates, people driving in the lane beside me, bicyclists who can’t make up their mind whether they want to be a vehicle or a pedestrian. Everywhere I looked, it seemed I was silencing myself in fear of being disliked or thought of as a bitch. I was a good girl who needed to mind my Ps and Qs for the comfort of everyone else but myself, no matter how inconvenient that may directly be.
Over a long period, I, like you, have been watching someone five years my junior publicly endure the same bullshit every other woman has. For year, Taylor’s actions, from how she dresses and who hangs out with, to the way she treats her fans and runs a business, have been admired, praised, and even awarded. Now, after seemingly deciding to share her voice outside of a song, an entirely different song is being sung in mainstream media.
I first noticed it during her sexual harassment case. While many were quick to support her, others seemed far quicker to attack. Coverage focused on how many times she used the word “ass,” and articles recounted “a snarky attitude” in the courtroom. Follow that with the release of her single “Look What You Made Me Do” -aka the anthem for How Bitches Are Made. Her iTunes album page describes the song as “a sinister track fueled by thundering bass and a thirst for revenge.” Everyone else describes it as “a color that does not look good on Taylor.” And, if people weren’t already criticizing the song enough, the video certainly didn’t help.
The internet and media wasted no time dissecting the images and connecting the dots to pinpoint the already obvious references in the video, adding fuel to the same fire to which they’re implying Taylor never should have struck the match to start in the first place. Why? Because the hard truth is, the world prefers an eager to please woman over a woman who is “hard to please.” For years, Taylor was criticized for being a “whiney victim,” but it pales in comparison to how she’s judged for being her own hero in standing up to anyone and everyone who ever so much as attempted to victimize her. “We don’t like this version of you, Taylor” - all in an effort to bully a young woman back into submission by playing on the assumed fear every woman has of being disliked. Everyone knows fear is the only thing that holds anyone back, and when you no longer have it, especially as a woman, you evoke a power you never knew you could elicit. A message clearly echoed in her most recent video release of “…Ready for it?”
Once again, I find myself sharing a similar experience with Taylor. While others may find her new found respect for herself objectionable, unappealing, or “not a good look on her,” I find it incredibly refreshing, empowering, validating, and not at all surprising or unexpected. Y’know, you can only push a girl so far… To me, this is just another example of how bitches are made.
What do you think of Taylor’s new image and videos? Comment below: