I have never been a big Taylor Swift fan. I find her bland and annoying for the most part. When I saw all the controversy surrounding her newest release I became curious in a way that I had never been about her as a person or her music. I watched the teaser video with the lyrics and the animation and was underwhelmed, but the damn song stuck in my head. Then I saw the video release at the MTV VMA’s last night and I was like, damn. You brought it, girl. Sorry KatyCats, I think I might have just switched alliances.
OMG Taylor, look what you just made me do!
Props to Taylor for owning her image and laying out some clear boundaries. Her recent victory in court over being groped has earned praise for being sharp and gutsy, and yet the same people who have praised her for standing up for herself in court have been slamming her newest music video for playing into the hands of the patriarchy. I think if there is any question where Taylor Swift stands with her ‘narrative’ of ‘playing the victim’ to garner record sales, as some have been arguing, it is answered loud and clear in the final seconds of her video where all the Taylor Swift self-created and media projected personas are arguing with each other.
I think there is a severe disconnect in the minds of many people when it comes to art. We expect artists to be perfect people. We expect their art to be a perfect reflection of who they are. We forget that to be an artist is to be an entertainer. People say Taylor Swift is always changing so how can you trust her. In what way is she different from Madonna or Britney Spears in that respect? What part of this being a job do you people not understand?
In this new video, Taylor Swift seems to be channeling everyone from Britney Spears, to Katy Perry, to Peaches & even Paris Hilton. You gotta admit, LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO does sound quite a bit like OPERATE by Peaches. Check it out.
Paris Hilton’s JEALOUSY was about her very public falling out with her once Simple Life co-star & BFF Nicole Ritchie.
In this case, Taylor Swift is supposedly taking jabs at Katy Perry and there is some visual evidence to prove it. In LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO Taylor Swift takes off a white cat head mask at one point. Katy Perry’s DARK HORSE is replete with a very similar cat head throughout. Also, OBV, her followers call themselves KatyCats.
There is something deliciously evil about the new Taylor Swift. If this is her emo phase, I am all over it. There is a double standard for throwing shade. When male rappers throw shade it’s just part of the game, but when female singers do it then everyone starts to scrutinize their motivation. Who knows if Taylor Swift even cares about Katy Perry stealing her backup dancers or dating her ex John Meyers, or if she’s mad that Kim Kardashian threw shade about her feud with Kanye West on Keeping Up With The Kardashians or if she even cares anymore about the things that he did or said to make her look bad. No one will ever know and honestly it is totally irrelevant.
This video is a pop music reference mudpie, starting off with a Michael Jackson Thriller vibe, throwing in some Beyonce, even some of that Lana Del Rey dark queen energy. When Taylor Swift steals, she steals from the best. In this case, thievery is the greatest form of flattery.
Leza Cantoral is the editor in chief of CLASH Books. She is the author of Cartoons in the Suicide Forest and the editor of the upcoming CLASH Books anthology, Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana Del Rey and Sylvia Plath. She is the host of Get Lit With Leza where she talks to cool ass writers, filmmakers, and pop culture fanatics. She also slays cyber- trolls with her bare hands and spends way too much time on Facebook. Find her there or on Twitter & Instagram @lezacantoral