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Things That Make You Go Hmm: Taylor Swift and the Rest of Us Sluts

Taylor Swift by David Shankbone

Okay, okay, okay, before you flip out on me, I’m not the one calling us all sluts.

Well, no one’s actually calling us sluts out loud, I don’t think, but there have been some mighty interesting articles lately about Taylor Swift and possible gender-based stereotypes in her music.

A few weeks ago, BuzzFeed’s Ryan Broderick published “Does Taylor Swift Hate Women?”, an article that suggests there’s a growing feminine backlash against Taylor Swift and citing several magazine and online community sources that, frankly, confirm there’s at least some backlash.

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For example, one article claims, “Part of Taylor Swift’s shtick is to slut-shame in her lyrics,” while Bitch magazine asserts Taylor’s lyrics teach teen girls that “sexuality should never be an end in and of itself; it should be something you strategically employ to get what you want.”

“Because obviously, a woman’s worth is based purely on the amount of sex she has had.” – Sherlocks

(There’s also this whole thing about all the mean, bad, popular girls being brunettes, but I can’t even get into that now.)

Up front, I’ve never dug Taylor Swift, for really no other reason than her you-were-my-boyfriend-once-and-we-were-so-in-love-but-then-you-loved-someone-else-and-one-day-you’ll-see-you-should-still-love-me-but-when-you-realize-that-it’ll-be-too-late-because-we-are-never-ever-ever-getting-back-together style of music just doesn’t appeal to me at this point in my life, and when it did, I had Alanis Morrisette and Sarah McLachlan taking care of me.

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However, I have heard some of her songs and I have read lyrics, and honestly, I see more teenage drama than anything. Sure, there’s some “slut shaming,” but that sort of falls under the Teenage Drama category (not saying it’s right; just saying it does).

That being said, Swift isn’t a teen girl anymore. She’s 23, and while I’m all for creative expression and getting a little angry and sad before getting better, maybe it’s also important to point out that – especially because her songs have such an impact on more impressionable younger ladies – that breakups don’t always happen because some other woman (who may or may not be sexually active) “stole” the boyfriend.

Maybe he genuinely liked the other girl more. Maybe the two of you weren’t a good fit. Maybe he did get lured away, but doesn’t that say a little something about him, too?

Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out.

What do YOU think, readers? Does Taylor Swift’s music “slut-shame” women? Do her lyrics promote gender-based stereotypes? Or is the feminine backlash reading too much into a scorned (former) teen girl’s heartache?

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Things That Make You Go Hmm: Taylor Swift and the Rest of Us Sluts

Alicia Sparks

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APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2013). Things That Make You Go Hmm: Taylor Swift and the Rest of Us Sluts. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2018, from


Last updated: 5 Mar 2013
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Mar 2013
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