Why Are We Still Making Sexist Jokes About Taylor Swift?
Over the fifteen years she has been releasing music, many have said that Taylor Swift is the music industry. She has received 32 grammy nominations and is the youngest person to ever win album of the year. In 2019, she was named Billboard's Woman of the Decade. However, all of this success has not come without its fair share of backlash. The latest example of this is a line from the Netflix show Ginny & Georgia that went viral on twitter where one of the characters says, “You go through men faster than Taylor Swift”. Swift responded to the comments on Twitter calling the line “deeply sexist” and “degrading”. Unfortunately, this line from Ginny and Georgia is hardly the first time Taylor Swift’s dating history has made its way into headlines.
In her twenties, Swift was often characterized by the media as a serial dater, and some of her songs including Blank Space satirically address this with lyrics like “Got a long list of ex-lovers/ They’ll tell you I’m insane”. So, let's really get down to the numbers. Over the course of her career Taylor Swift has dated a whopping (please note the sarcasm) nine men, including her current boyfriend of over two years. When she was still a teenager she dated three others, leading to a total of twelve men over 31 years.
If you look up “Taylor Swift Ex-Boyfriends” on google, hundreds of results come up with articles ranging from lists of all the famous men she’s ever been connected to, to articles criticizing her for dating too much. Her dating life has always been the subject of constant public scrutiny, but her exes do not face the same level of scrutiny. One of her exes, Jake Gyllenhaal has had ten girlfriends since he got famous, but you do not read articles about his serial dating. Her famous musical ex John Mayer stated that he has slept with “[around] 500” women over the course of his career, but his dating tendencies are considered something to joke about rather than a weakness in character.
So, in 2021 why is it still common to see sexist jokes about Taylor Swift in the mainstream media? She answered that question in her own words in her Billboard Music Awards speech, stating that “people love to explain away a woman’s success in the music industry” by picking at “their bodies, their romantics lives, [and] their fashion” rather than focusing on their music. Taylor Swift has been cast in a role as a ‘crazy ex’ for most of her career. This doesn’t change the fact that Swift is one of the most influential artists of the last two decades, in terms of album sales and concert tickets sold. Taylor Swift and other female artists are more than the stereotypes critics seek to place on them. Female artists are the music industry, and Taylor Swift is the music industry.