90swomen G-Chat Taylor Swift

So, Ada, the other night was a FAIRYTALE (sorry–so feeling it right now!) when we got to see Taylor Swift in concert. And not just in concert! In concert on Long Island for the Fearless Tour.

We didn’t sit together, but it didn’t matter, because we spent the evening texting. Yours say things like: “I’m so happy for all these girls whose first concert it is” and “She should have cuter boys in her band.” (Srsly, Taylor. Work on that, please.)

Anyway, Taylor’s two-hour performance was amazing and even better was watching girls in sparkles and pink tutus screaming and singing along and waving their glowsticks. Pure joy. But let’s get to the analyzing.

Ada: feminism is alive and well. taylor swift is angry. girls today are awesome.

Kara: taylor swift is pissed! and you might not know it from just listening to her music on the radio. but the whole show was, as i think neal said, a revenge fantasy.

Ada: and he said it’s the best way to get revenge. by being smart and successful. and having friends. and making art.

Kara: she had that part where she is like “there are 2 kinds of love: fairy tale love and real love and real love doesn’t always turn out so well.” DARK.


Ada: totally! she is LEVELING with those eight year olds. listen kid. life kind of sucks. and boys kind of suck. don’t let them get away with anything. THEY SHOULDN’T DO BAD THINGS.

Kara: i had always thought the music was all romeo and juliet. but its kinda like: romeo and juliet die in the end.

Ada: i think this may be 2010: don’t let anyone get away with anything. don’t put up with it. no wallowing. just fuck them, move on. we are post-wallow.

Kara: we are definitely post-wallow. even beyonce. with “why dont you love me?” is still, like, “dude, im awesome, whats your prob?”

Ada: “be a dick to me? go for it. i will humiliate you in front of TEN MILLION tweens and their moms.”

Kara: also, at the same time as post-wallow, neal was like “this is like alanis’ ‘jagged little pill,'” which i get too. confrontational.

Ada: taylor is the savvier alanis morissette. she knows how to sugar coat. and THEN throw the chair. also i related to the ‘i can’t play 12 string guitar huh? go fuck yourself.’

Kara: the whole story about the older man telling the younger girl she cant do something and the girl being all “fuck you” and doing it.

Taylor's main message of the evening

Ada: you totally show up the condescender and then you tell everyone about it. totally riot grrrl.

Kara: i guess i should say, for the record, i have some reservations as far as that goes. i mean, im totally into taylor. but i also think she is super-normative. and her desires are super-normative.

Ada: yes. a boy, success, romance. but she wants to do things bigger than dating the boy from the football team! she’s got ambition! did the 90s girls have ambition? i feel like they whined a lot. they didn’t have tons of self-direction. whereas taylor has crazy amounts of drive.

Kara: hmmm, i dont know…. they were singing about stuff that is very unpopular i mean, taylor is singing stuff that white male record execs can get behind.

Ada: but what did they want? the 90s girls like Alannis. i feel like i never knew.

Kara: they wanted guys to not be assholes. they wanted to be in control of their sex lives.

Ada: taylor wants the boy and the zillions of fans and for people who wronged her to suffer. and she wants people to clap for 20 minutes while she just stands there in between songs and looks cute.

Teen girl love.

Kara: those are pretty normative desires. im not saying i dont have them. but she doesnt exactly go super deep. (except for on white horse! that is deep.) also, she is like 20, but she sings about being 15. and the way she sings about being 15 is part of how i felt at 15. but also my 15 was darker.

Ada: mine too. but i really like “fifteen.” i relate. and not in a nostalgia way. it’s about not getting distracted by what other other people want. you need to figure out what you want. and who doesn’t need to think about that sometimes?

Kara: i was telling someone last night about taylor. and he was like “but how can you like her with your politics, she is so normal, i thought she stands for the stuff you hate.” i guess part of it is that her songs describe this experience we are all having even as we all know there is another layer she isnt describing?

Ada: yes i think so. pop music is general so everyone can relate. and she is ultimate pop. but she basically acknowledges in her concert that she really fucking means it. she wants a fucking guy to be nice to her. (i love how even though taylor never curses we feel we must curse to describe how intense she was.)

Kara: YES. and we all feel that way.

Ada: taylor = perfect pop star. totally relatable to everyone, everywhere. possibly too normative.

Kara: we all have normative desires sometimes.


Filed under Ada, Kara

9 responses to “90swomen G-Chat Taylor Swift

  1. Pingback: feminism is alive and well. taylor swift is angry. « The Nut Shop Where It's Fun

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  3. I love Taylor. I was a much darker 15, and yet I remember wanting someone to love me and how my best friend let some guy take advantage of her because her parents were getting divorced, life falling apart, yada-yada, and then really regretted it.

    And what I think is amazing is that SHE ACTUALLY WROTE THE SONG. I picked up George Strait’s 2008 “Troubadour” album at the library the other day and to this day, the man isn’t writing his own material. The album went to NUMBER ONE on the country charts, and he didn’t write a single song! In an industry (country music) when practically no one writes their own material, Taylor is out there conveying her own experiences to listeners. So if her stuff is kind of normative, at least it is actually HER DESIRES and that gives me hope that talent and tenacity can sometimes win out in the end.

    So yay for Taylor. And yay for you for going to support her.

  4. That is such a good point. Neal says Taylor is totally Dolly Parton 2.0, and I think that’s right. Dolly also is a writer and means what she sings. – Ada

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  8. Giulia

    I’m with Kara on this one. Also, I find that too much ambition to reach success has a drawback: It can easily cause you to accept (even seek) unsavoury faustian compromises. So, while it is desirable to have some sense of direction (which we lacked) from an early age, too much ambition to obtain success often leads to conformism, blandness and being a sell-out. Note that the ambition to become successful is radically different from the ambition to do a “job well done”, to be good and creative at what one does. But today the emphasis is all on success, on that sort of commercialised business-world ambition. All on the rewards and not on the process.

  9. charzard

    Sorry to break it to you, but Taylor Swift is no feminist. And I cringe to hear her compared to Riot Grrrl. Sure, she tells little girls that heartbreak is real and that love isn’t a Disney-esque fairy tale, but what she’s really saying is “brace yourselves because if you pursue that fairy tale enough you get it in the end” which is just totally wrong. She isn’t teaching independence, self-pride, etc. It’s the exact same argument I have against Beyonce brand feminism: “ok, so you don’t think I’m good enough for you? I’ll find a hotter guy and prove you wrong…”
    Revenge isn’t feminism. Revenge isn’t productive. Humiliation is not a solution. Being pissed with a boy for breaking your heart isn’t feminism. There’s no self-reflection in any of her songs. Where did she go wrong? Didn’t she think 19 was too young? Didn’t she think chasing boy after boy after boy would cause her some problems? Did she ever wonder that her life might be worth something compared to her own self-worth and not that of a man? My tween-aged years were “dark” but, for the love of god, never measured in male-interest.
    Maybe it’s easy to relate to her songs because she sings about those shared “experiences” but are those experiences not shaped by the patriarchal demands and expectations of society? Shouldn’t we be working to change those? And it’s for that reason that I refuse to call her work “art.” She doesn’t challenge the status-quo, she maintains it.
    And that one song where she sings about ruining some guys wedding only because he should be with her and not that pastry-dressed woman yelling at her bridesmaids. Excuse me? As feminists, as women in general, should we not strive to see other women not as competitors but as neighbors, friends, collaborators and supporters?

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