Right now, Taylor Swift is oh so popular on Twitter. But she is not controlling the message. A rapidly growing number of people have joined in on the fun of rewriting the pop star’s song lyrics to make them less, well, matrimaniacal.
The new trend isn’t described as having anything to do with matrimania or singlism. Instead, it is called “Feminist Taylor Swift,” @feministtswift. When matrimania and singlism are aimed at women, though, they have a lot in common with sexism, and a good dose of feminism would go a long way toward deflating the singlism and matrimania, as well as the sexism.
The Feminst Taylor Swift Twitter account was the brainchild of Clara Beyer, a student at Brown University. As the Washington Post explained:
“Beyer likes listening to Swift’s music but said, as a general rule, “a lot of the songs are either ‘I used to have a boy and I was happy, and now I don’t and now I’m sad’ or ‘if I had this boy, I would be happy.’ ”
“Beyer gave a rundown of what she considers some of the worst offenders in Swift’s song catalogue. There’s “Better Than Revenge,” wherein Swift bashes her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend for what Swift perceives to be her promiscuous behavior. In “You Belong With Me,” Swift mocks the girl her crush is dating for her outfits and popularity. The most problematic might be “Fifteen,” in which Swift laments that her best friend Abigail “gave everything she had to a boy.” “Everything,” for those of you playing along at home, isn’t Abigail’s intellect, courage, integrity or compassion.”
You can check out the various contributions to the Twitter topic here. My favorite examples are the ones that take on matrimania. They include:
- I’m not a princess / This ain’t a fairytale / I’m writing my own story / With a strong female hero
- I lose myself in a daydream / Where I stand and say / “I’m happy for you, but do you realize how many wedding traditions are deeply sexist?”
- Of all the girls throwin’ rocks at your window / I’m the only one who’s actually a protester
- You walk around here thinking you’re not pretty / But that’s not true / And anyway your worth as a person is based on so much more than that
- Hoping one of those senior boys will wink at you and say / “You know, I think we need to take more serious steps to eliminate the wage gap”
Here I’ll confess that although I like the sound of Taylor Swift’s music, I’ve never been one to pay too much attention to lyrics. I had to look up a few of them to see what they really did say. Most did seem to be as advertised: I so want some boy. Boo-hoo, he got away. And so forth.
But then I also found these lyrics in “Fifteen”:
“Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday/
But I realized some bigger dreams of mine”
So, my question to those of you who know Taylor Swift’s lyrics a lot better than I do: What do you think? Does she ever push back against matrimania beyond those two lines quoted just above?
The Rachel Maddow Show has an occasional feature called “the best new thing in the world.” I’m going to appropriate the idea today for this Single-at-Heart blog, and call the trending Twitter topic telling Taylor Swift not to be so boy crazy “the best new thing” in single world.
Taylor Swift image is available from Shutterstock.