Last week, pop sensation Taylor Swift’s return to social media and the music business sparked an web avalanche and impressed a wave of assume items each criticizing and celebrating her. All proof from the artist’s social media, in addition to the lyrics and music video of her newly launched single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” point out that the album will inform the story of a lady empowered by her “haters” — who vary from celebrities like actuality star Kim Kardashian West and her husband Kanye West, to a media that’s been obsessed together with her because the 2000s. The new Taylor Swift of fame is one who reclaims the hateful, misogyny-laced narrative that’s adopted her for near a decade — a Taylor Swift who slashes earlier female, starry-eyed variations of herself to items.

Since the second the only dropped final Friday, popular culture pundits have been zealous of their hyper-evaluation of Swift and her lyrics, and have come to some very totally different conclusions. Where BuzzFeed is celebrating Swift as a feminist hero, Slate is blasting her new type for being grudge-fueled and melodramatic.

Both of those arguments are ridden with their very own units of flaws: In criticizing Swift for having the audacity to precise her feelings, Slate is, nevertheless inadvertently, enjoying into the societal narrative of sexism that Swift is criticizing in her music. But in the identical vein, within the age of Ivanka Trump — a time when phrases and verbal declarations of feminism from rich, privileged white ladies more and more ring hole — BuzzFeed’s appraisal of Swift as a rising feminist phoenix is equally irritating.

At a time when ladies within the United States are affected by the very best maternal mortality charges within the industrialized world, when our elected political leaders appear decided to inform Muslim, undocumented and trans ladies that this isn’t their America, superstar feminism can not exist merely as a marketing ploy. Affluent white ladies who determine as feminists and put on the motion as a label to promote every little thing from clothes strains to, in Swift’s case, music can’t simply converse out solely when feminism considerations them as people and may be used to advertise their manufacturers.

Deena Baum | Daily Trojan

Feminism is an intersectional motion for the equality of all teams. It can’t be selectively deployed to advance wealthy, married white ladies like Ivanka Trump’s maternal depart plan does, or, like Swift’s social media and music, to defend oneself from criticism and imply feedback whereas turning a blind eye to the racism, misogyny and intolerance that different, much less privileged Americans face daily.

To be positive, Swift and her followers are proper about one factor — a lot of the criticism she faces is sexist. For years, Swift has been trolled and attacked for being a younger lady and having the nerve up to now males. Feminists can each sympathize with Swift for the misogyny she’s confronted, and in addition criticize her for being silent and apathetic at a time when silence and apathy solely serve to normalize and embolden bigotry. Where pop artist Katy Perry actively campaigned for former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and R&B artist Rihanna referred to as for younger individuals to vote — and vote for Clinton, at that — Swift maintained an unapologetic radio silence on politics.

Few Americans have platforms as far-reaching as Swift’s. That’s exactly why silence from “feminists” like her doesn’t simply converse volumes — it additionally reverberates all through social media. She has profited immensely from sporting the “feminist” label, as this specific second in our nation’s historical past is one by which tens of millions of millennial ladies have made the as soon as extensively stigmatized feminist motion their residence. Interviews with Swift previous to 2014 reveal she definitely wasn’t within the motion earlier than recognizing that aligning herself with it was economically advantageous.

At the top of the day, it’s one factor to not care about right now’s political dialogue — already a disappointing stance at a time when challenges to well being care, if profitable, might value hundreds of poor, previous and sick Americans their lives. But it’s a darker, more innocuous feat completely to say to care about and be a part of a motion to empower the marginalized and market your model by means of doing so, after which be silent at a political second when your star and affect are wanted most.

Among each liberals and conservatives, many have all the time agreed that music, sports activities and leisure ought to be politics-free zones to keep away from desecrating artwork with battle and petty squabbles. Following this argument, celebrities like Swift haven’t any obligation to talk out and be activists, and shouldn’t be criticized for silence.

But this line of considering emerges from a totally different period. Today, the road between politics and human decency is turning into more and more blurred. It’s unimaginable to acknowledge politics as simply politics when our nationwide political dialogue is discussing whether or not the state ought to be allowed to pressure low-revenue ladies to provide delivery, and whether or not minorities and LGBTQ individuals have a proper to equal remedy. Silence on “politics” from individuals with extensive-reaching platforms has turn into nearly unattainable to justify — least of all from individuals who revenue from claiming to be feminist.

Kylie Cheung is a sophomore majoring in journalism and political science. She can also be the editorial director of the Daily Trojan. Her column,“You Do Uterus,” runs each Thursday.


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