This past fall, I eagerly reviewed Taylor Swift’s latest album, Red, for Psych Central, and now I’m writing about the singer again, while attempting to come to her defense –bear with me folks. Lately, a whole cloud of criticism has surrounded one of pop culture’s icons (and someone who may have once been thought of as “America’s Sweetheart”). Swift is now being berated for her constant ebb and flow in the dating world, and it’s to the point where there’s musings about her mental state.
Yes, she may fall hard and feel deeply within her short-term relationships, and that’s expressed in her music, but I don’t sit well with the back-talk that she’s become an unstable serial dater or a “man eater.” She’s 23 years-old; isn’t she supposed to explore her options and learn what works for her and what doesn’t?
Reed Tucker’s article, “The Ultimate Player,” published in the NY Post last month, defined Swift as “the black widow of pop.” Dr. Dennis Lin, director of the psychosexual medicine program at the Beth Israel Medical Center is featured in the piece, assessing the ‘situation.’ “There’s two ways to look at it,” he said. “The less cynical way is that she may become infatuated very easily, but doesn’t have the tools or maturity to maintain a relationship.” (That may be valid, though it usually takes two people to make a relationship work, I presume).“The more cynical point of view, as a sex therapist, is that maybe she’s doing this for publicity,” he added. “I do believe she’s acting in good faith, but if she’s doing this for publicity, that’s someone with antisocial, sociopathic traits.” I’m a little fuzzy as to how we got to the point of labeling the girl with “sociopathic” traits, and surely, her reputation has been spiraling downward lately.
At this year’s Golden Globe Awards, hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler playfully jabbed at Swift, with Fey warning her to stay away from Michael J. Fox’s son since she “needs some ‘me time’ to learn about herself.”
I finally found a little enlightenment in a recent piece by April Daniels Hussar, published by The Stir. In “Taylor Swift Shouldn’t Be Judged for Dating a Lot of Men,” she references the Golden Globe’s moment and highlights a commendable point about the mockery.
“It’s bad enough that she’s on the cover of magazines that question why she can’t find love or why she always gets ‘dumped,’ Hussar noted. “Shouldn’t more experienced women like Fey and Poehler offer a little more support, rather than playing into the bizarre amount of ridicule directed Swift’s way over her romantic escapades?”
Hussar suggests that the infamous dating double standard may be in the works here, and I can certainly see why. She’s right that we don’t always hear about Justin Bieber’s constant and desperate “search for love.” Plus, Jennifer Aniston was depicted as a sad and pathetic victim when Brad left her for Angelina Jolie, despite her independence and success.
Swift spoke out against the critiques that she’s “boy crazy” (even though since 2010, she’s only dated two guys), and I’m proud of her for doing so.
“For a female to write about her feelings, and then be portrayed as some clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend in need of making you marry her and have kids with her, I think that’s taking something that potentially should be celebrated – a woman writing about her feelings in a confessional way – that’s taking it and turning it and twisting it into something that’s frankly a little sexist,” Swift said in the April Issue of Vanity Fair.
Taylor Swift’s public image has gone from “sweet girl who plays guitar” to “serial dater on the loose,” and I find it disheartening that she’s in the midst of a media frenzy for doing what girls her age do, and admirably disclosing her personal feelings on top of it all. Would she be getting this much attention if she was a 23-year- old male? Just food for thought.