Tag Archives: Taylor Swift

Violence And The Feminine Mystique (This Is Why We Can’t Have Terrible Things)

Well, readers, it’s another sweltering day in June, and here in the trenches of the culture war accusations of “misogyny” and “political correctness” are being fired back and forth. And what’s that out there in the middle of the no-man’s land? Well, it’s the photo that started this latest skirmish:

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Image retrieved via Telegraph.com, fair use

That right there folks is a billboard for X-Men: Apocalypse, and it’s got more than a few people upset. So much so, in fact, it’s being reported that Fox has issued an apology for the ad– caving to arguments made by some that the advertisement promotes misogyny.

And in all fairness, they are some compelling arguments.

Now ads featuring violence towards women exist, as evidenced in Jean Kilbourne’s famous documentary Killing Us Softly. Critics of this ad have cited (though I am paraphrasing for the sake of space) that the inundation of these images in our society leads to the normalization of violence. Show enough ads featuring women getting choked out and people will start assuming that it’s the natural way of the world.

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Image retrieved via BusinessInsider.com, fair use

Even if the person doing the choking is the bad guy (and Apocalypse is), the simple fact that it’s a yet another man committing an act of force on a women should be enough to elicit outrage from us all.

Like I said- a compelling argument.

Let me tell you why it’s bull****. Continue reading

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We’re Fighting For Our Rights, Not Yours: Suffragette and the Persistence of White Feminism

This month I got to go out and cast my vote in the Canadian federal election. I owe this privilege to women who came before me. Women who sacrificed their time, energy, and sometimes their lives because they believed that we deserved the same privileges as men. Because I’m thankful for the sacrifices those women made, I’m ecstatic to see a film coming out this month that celebrates those women and explores what they went through in order to win us the freedoms we have today.

However, if you have been paying attention to the way the film has been publicized, you may have heard about the controversy surrounding one of its marketing campaigns:

By wearing this particular quote on their shirts, these successful white actresses have demonstrated another instance of what many activists and bloggers have begun to call “white feminism”.  In her article, “This is What I Mean When I Say ‘White Feminism'”, Cate Young explains that

“White feminism is a set of beliefs that allows for the exclusion of issues that specifically affect women of colour. It is “one size-fits all” feminism, where middle class white women are the mould that others must fit.  It is a method of practicing feminism, not an indictment of every individual white feminist, everywhere, always.”

We have seen several recent examples of white feminism play out in our pop culture, like the recent “feud” between Taylor Swift and Nicky Minaj or Patricia Arquette’s Oscar acceptance speech. However, white feminism has negatively affected the lives of women of colour in more than just the pop culture arena. Consider our right to vote, for example. Continue reading

Taylor Swift: History’s Greatest Monster

When I first heard that pop star Taylor Swift had paid off a fan’s student loans, I was honestly and truly impressed. The average student loan debt is around 30 thousand dollars, and can easily pass six digits for some folks, and knowing that struggle all too well myself, that kind of spontaneous kindness struck me as really neat. When Evan wrote about that on Friday, reporting the payment was less than 2 grand, it kinda took the wind out of my sails. Don’t get me wrong- I think Evan hit the nail on the dead in saying that anything good is good, but I still couldn’t help thinking:

“Is that it?”

Still, I decided to suspend my hostilities towards the woman and actually do some more research into her- fully prepared to be proven wrong, or to admit that my dislike stems purely from taste in music.

Still, it seemed the deeper I dug, the more I’d keep returning to that same question.

“Is that it?”

Now back in November, Evan had written another post trying to defend Swift, arguing that her music isn’t for everyone (no argument), plenty of other singers have cashed in on lost-love themes (also true), and at the end of the day, she’s just being herself.

Problem is- I believe that.

While it’s entirely possible that Swift’s just another interchangeable, committee-designed pop figure, I’m completely willing to believe that she’s being who she is. Only who she is isn’t all that good.

Let me break it down here. Continue reading

When Is A Good Deed Not A Good Deed? [When Taylor Swift Does It]

Post four about Taylor Swift. How on earth did we get here? I suppose it’s because, for better or for worse, she’s managed to attain the kind of pop culture prevalence and staying power which has resulted in my writing:

Which brings us to this Friday, three days after the artist donated $1,989 to a fan to help her pay off her student loans.

Click the image to be linked to the tumblr post cataloguing the full gift-opening.

The fan in question, Rebekah Bortnicker, created a video which she posted to tumblr, and which I’m half-watching as I write this. It’s actually pretty great. You know what else is actually pretty great, though? The way that some people have been reacting to this news, like nicole and Angela in the comments section of the People article I linked to up above:

thanksnicole

thanksangela

Continue reading

A Short Post on Taylor Swift as Feminist Musician Jilted Lover Person

First thing’s first, normally I have Fridays off, and therefore write and/or finish up these posts then. My co-worker took a trip south of the 49th parallel for some American holiday or other leaving me to cover for her. Such is life, and also why this post may be shorter than most. Second thing’s second, which is that I have, improbably, actually blogged about Taylor Swift on two prior occasions.

In December of 2012 I spent some time discussing the interpretation of her work, particularly in light of those championing her hit “Mean” as an anthem for the myriad forms of persecution they were facing. Over half a year later I did my best to shame those who thought that voting for a 39-year-old to win a contest and thereby smell her hair would be funny [because it’s not]. One topic has continued to be so very, very relevant while the other has more or less turned out to be a one-time thing. Here’s a hint, it’s the one that has to do with how she’s perceived in the public eye-

Continue reading

“The Sincerity Wars” or “Hitler Did Nothing Wrong”

Not too long ago, Evan did a Shame Day about 4chan’s semi-joking attempt to wreck a Taylor Swift radio contest by getting some random 39-year-old voted rated as Swifts “biggest fan”. The original post declaring 4Chan’s intentions stated that “Charles Z.” was only in it for a chance to “sniff Swift’s hair” (I can’t speculate on whether or not that’s meant to be a joke) and that it was a chance to crush the dreams of thousands of “whiny teeny boppers.” The campaign was overwhelmingly successful. Charles Z. shot to the first place with a mile-wide margin and the radio station wound up cancelling the whole event.

In spite of Evan’s comments that this was generally a lousy move and a tacit endorsement of sexual harassment, I’m going to have to disagree with him. Firstly, I’m not taking the whole “hair-sniffing” thing as being all that serious, and secondly, I don’t think this really had much of anything to do with Charles Z. or even Taylor Swift for that matter.

It was about sincerity. Continue reading

Shame Day: Taylor Swift, Charles Z., and The Internet

Exactly one week ago I was browsing imgur and saw that 4chan was up to its old tricks again. To break this down and provide some context as quickly as possible, 4chan, as defined by Urban Dictionary:

you have just entered the very heart, soul, and life force of the internet. this is a place beyond sanity, wild and untamed. there is nothing new here. “new” content on 4chan is not found; it is created from old material. every interesting, offensive, shocking, or debate inspiring topic youve seen elsewhere has been posted here ad infinitum. we are the reason for “not safe for work”. we are the anonymous army. cross us and you will fail. anonymous is everywhere. you depend on us every day. we bag your groceries, we fix your computers. anonymous sees you before you see him. sitting at desks around the world right now is a nameless, faceless, unforgiving mafia composed of the best of the best.

For anyone who doubts the ability of the users of this site to get things done, allow me to direct you to the winner of TIME Magazine‘s  2009 Most Influential Person of the Year, Christopher Poole, a.k.a. moot, a.k.a. the founder of 4chan. As a little icing on the cake, you can check out what happened to nominees 2 to 21. Continue reading