Taylor Swift became something of a teen girl hero after weathering Kanye West’s “Imma Let You Finish, But... ” storm, championing over vapidity as the nerdy girl who gets the guy in the “You Belong With Me” video, and spreading her girl power all over the teen-skewing music industry like pixie dust. A dude breaks her heart? He becomes persona-non-grata to her millions of fans come time for her next album. Who needs him? In doing so, Swift has built a mini-empire on concert tickets, number-one-selling albums, merchandise, and anything she can put a picture of her face on.
There was a time in which Swift was the ultimate poster child for crushing all that boy drama into tiny, ground-up pieces and re-purposing it as fuel for her career and her seemingly endless success. Swift, while still the girliest of girls, was upheld as someone who was all about turning her experiences into industry. It was an admirable feat. It was mature. It was independent.
Now, as Swift's fiercest, angriest album yet sells big in stores all over the country, Harper’s Bazaar releases her most docile interview to date. Where Swift was previously concerned with making a name for herself and being a self-professed over-achiever, she now talks about letting her boyfriend “take the wheel,” touts a huge wardrobe dilemma (she can never wear the same dress twice, so she has to buy so, so many pretty dresses, you guys!), and gives us an idea of the only topic upstanding young ladies should talk about with their friends: boys!
Yes, girls love dresses. Yes, all girls have boy problems and need to turn to their friends to air them. Yes, relationships should have give and take. But that’s not what Swift is saying here, and the fact of the matter is that the Fearless singer occupies a very sacred and important celebrity space: that of a powerful young girl who other young girls emulate and idolize. In this interview, she takes a mere second to say that’s she’s in control of her own financial destiny and descends immediately into a series of silly schoolgirl chats. Swift is given the chance to speak her mind and instead spends most of her time gushing over boys and pretty things — it puts a bit of a halt on her status as a role model. Although we know Swift is a dynamic young woman (or at least we hope that part of her still exists deep down), her interview reads more like a 1950s etiquette manual than that of a symbol of girl power.
It’s a little dramatic, we know, but just take a look for yourself. Here’s a teen etiquette video from 1947 followed by a few choice quotes from Swift’s interview. They go together like sweetheart necklines and subservient housewives. Really.
'50s Etiquette Says: Boys like a girl because "she always looks nice ... especially when you compare her to some of the weird characters" out there.
Swifty Says: "Whether it's a summertime dress that makes me feel carefree, an evening cocktail dress that makes me feel fancy, or a vintage dress that makes me feel like a '50s housewife—which I enjoy feeling like, for some reason—I just really like dresses."
'50s Etiquette Says:Pretend you don't know anything about something a boy is interested in. Take Clara in the video, for instance. She says she knows nothing about gathering props for a play when she's actually way better at it than Wally. You're just a silly girl, who needs all this thinking?
Swifty Says:When she's with her friends, "We never talk about fashion, about career, about our ambitions or our projects ... We just talk about relationships, feelings, love, and boys." Yes, she does as all titans of of the music industry do: giggle about boys.
'50s Etiquette Says: Boys should make plans. "It's doing the girl no favor to leave it entirely up to her."
Swifty Says: "Relationships are the ultimate collaboration but it’s wonderful to hand over the reins to your boyfriend when you control so much of these big, high-pressure decisions, you know?"
'50s Etiquette Says: Bad boyfriends expect their girlfriends to have date ideas or take the initiative to call them.
Swifty Says: "If I feel too much like I’m wearing the pants, I start to feel uncomfortable and then we break up."
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