Dear Taylor Swift,
I write this letter to you regarding the recent release of your “Bad Blood” music video. I can write nothing but praise. Strong women kicking butt is truly what I aspire to surround myself with in life, and here you have created a world where that dream is reality. However, I find it very telling that a single four-minute music video has employed more women than any Hollywood major motion picture ever will. You’ve shown that a female led “movie” can be done and can be well-received.
Also, through the music video, you imply that women don’t have to give up their femininity in order to show they are not subservient to men. Too often are women taught that in order to gain autonomy in society, they must shed traditional feminine qualities. Within the first thirty seconds of the music video, you prove that doesn’t have to happen.
The video also challenges the idea that women have to be competitive with each other. Yes, the video follows a growing battle between Selena Gomez (Arsyn) and yourself (Catastrophe); but, for the most part, the music video shows you training and working together with other women. I have often heard blanket statements about women that say, “Girls are just naturally competitive with each other.” But as a woman — and one who has attended an all-girls school for the last six years — I can say that’s not true, and it truly baffles me that people think that it is. Women can be friends, and this weird idea that we are naturally at odds with one another inhibits us from gaining equality in society. Girls should support girls and shouldn’t see one another being successful as a personal challenge.
I think that 1989 as a whole shows the transition in your mentality, Taylor, which I can only appreciate and praise, as you are a role model for so many young women. You are not a celebrity who avoids the word “feminist” like it’s the plague. No, you’ve embraced the dreaded f-word. You wear it as armor, and because you do, other girls will, too.
This transition is even evident in your songs. You go from Red‘s “Holy Ground,” which says, “I don’t want to dance if I’m not dancing with you,” to 1989‘s “Shake It Off,” saying, “I’m dancing on my own. I make the moves up as I go.”
It’s so important that female celebrities dispel these rumors that to be powerful you can’t be a woman and that women must always be in competition with one another. The media has such an influence on our society that seeing female empowerment in something as seemingly nominal as a music video actually makes a world of difference. That supposedly meaningless music video has 160 million plus views; now imagine the impact of a movie or a television show portraying the same messages. One can wield fame for good or evil, and too often do people choose the latter. Taylor, continue doing what you are doing by spreading positive messages that help empower young girls.