Taylor Swift

October 1, 2010

Taylor Swift, the 20 year old country/pop singer, songwriter, and actress, released her debut song “Tim McGraw” in 2006 and after “Our Song” hit the radio that same year, I didn’t know a single person who had never heard her name.

In 2006, she was a 16 year old young lady, and so was I.
I’ve always been a bit ashamed to admit it, but I have always felt I could relate to her songs when they were first released.
She and I are mere months apart in age and her songs always seem to explain the events occurring in my life.
When I heard “Our Song“, it told the story of the relationship I was in at the time very well.
When “Love Story” hit the airways, I couldn’t help but love this new hit, too.
My Daddy said stay away from Juliet,” was easily my favorite line.
My Daddy didn’t say those same words, but my father certainly didn’t approve of the guy I was dating when I first heard this song.

Now Taylor has presented me with a new song and, once again, she did an amazing job of telling the world how I feel.
The relationship I am in currently has not reached the level described in the song, but I would love to see it do so.
I don’t come from the broken home and I don’t fear if I fall in love, it will eventually end, but everyone knows no relationship is perfect and Taylor tells us this.
She also tells us that just because the relationship isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it wont work.
There will always be ups and downs and you two will disagree from time to time, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel!

Feminists seem to disagree.
How dare Swift tell a story about a healthy, normal, and traditional relationship?

Before I quote a few Femi-Nazi’s, I would like to quote Taylor Swift herself. These are the lyrics to “Mine“:

You were in college working part time waiting tables
Left a small town, never looked back
I was a flight risk with the fear of fallin’
Wonderin’ why we bother with love if it never lasts

I say “Can you believe it?”
As we’re lyin’ on the couch
The moment I can see it
Yes, yes I can see it now

Do you remember we were sittin’ there by the water?
You put your arm around me for the first time
You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter
You are the best thing that’s ever been mine

Flash forward and we’re taking on the world together
And there’s a drawer of my things at your place
You learned my secrets and you figure out why I’m guarded
You say we’ll never make my parents’ mistakes

But we’ve got bills to pay
We’ve got nothing figured out
When it was hard to take yes, yes
This is what I thought about

Do you remember we were sitting there by the water?
You put your arm around me for the first time
You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter
You are the best thing that’s ever been mine

Do you remember all the city lights on the water
You saw me start to believe for the first time
You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter
You are the best thing that’s ever been mine

And I remember that fight 2:30 AM
You said everything was slippin’ right out of our hands
I ran out crying and you followed me out into the street

Brace myself for the goodbye
Cause that’s all I’ve ever known
Then you took me by surprise
You said “I’ll never leave you alone”

You said:
“I remember how we felt sittin’ by the water
And every time I look at you it’s like the first time
I fell in love with a careless man’s careful daughter
She is the best thing that’s ever been mine”

The video shows random flashbacks of her parents fighting when she was a child, and the longer you watch the video, the older Taylor and the man she marries become.
They go from meeting at a restaurant, to moving in together, to him proposing on a boat in a lake, to their wedding, to the fight, to them with their children.
I can only hope that the life I share with the man I love goes as beautifully as the life portrayed in the video.

Jamie Keilies of Teenagerie seems to disagree with me:

This song is rife with freaky-deaky, weirdo language that frames Swift as someone perpetually under the ownership, or at least care, of a male authority. The lyrics describe her as not a woman, but as a “careless man’s careful daughter” that her new boyfriend has “made a rebel of.” This is problematic to me, in the sense that it implies a transfer of her ownership from one man to another. I think it’s weird in this song that she doesn’t seem to have any sense of her own identity away from the love interest, or her father. I do, however, give her props for the use of the line “we got bills to pay.” Though grammatically incorrect, it implies that Taylor will be helping to pay the bills though some means of gainful employment. Let’s go back in time 50 years so that I can congratulate her on being progressive!

Jamie, like most feminists, is disgusted by the idea of a woman wanting to be in a traditional relationship.
It seems if women decide they would rather fall in love, get married, and start a family instead of getting a college education, landing a killer job, and focusing completely on their career, there is something wrong with them.

Shahida Arabi said, in a comment left on a blog post by CHLOE on Feministing.org:

I think it’s important to note the fact that Swift’s song is about mutual ownership– the man in question is “mine” or hers, and she is “his” — let’s be careful about labelling everything in a black-and-white fashion–her intention was probably not to imply that she is the sole property of a man but to document a love story (what else is new?) and a sense of belonging to each other. Swift does emphasize love a lot in her songs, and it is true that this detracts from a sense of personal identity and places the focus on her object of romantic fascination. Even “Fifteen,” a song about the loss of innocence and naivety deals directly with the loss through the medium of a romantic relationship–thus one could argue that Swift is always defined by her relationship to another male figure. However, I initially saw the line about being the “careful daughter” of a “careless man” in “Mine” as more of a juxtaposing technique in the song rather than an intended reinforcement of patriarchial constructs.

But now, I would challenge why is it that she is never a “daughter” of her mother, of course, and I would also look at some of her other songs which threaten a cheating male with her father’s violent payback (e.g. “And if you come around saying sorry to me/My daddy’s gonna show you how sorry you’ll be”) and this is a common dose of “Daddy’s little girl” and Daddy as the aggressive protector of his daughter. Even “Love Story” draws on this motif, saying, “My daddy said stay away from Juliet” and “I talked to your Dad go pick out a white dress”…I think contextually, this is personal to Swift and her relationship with her Dad, but I can see how it can be interpreted within a framework of misogny–after all, why does ‘Dad’ get to decide everything? Why is ‘Dad’ the angry defender against male predators?

I understand where these women are coming from… kind of.
I do not, by any means, agree with them.
The song “Mine” is a beautiful one that even my 19 year old brother, being a Taylor Swift hater, loves.

In the end, I guess this is all just my way of venting.
When I first read about an attack on Taylor Swift due to this song receiving radio play, I was appalled.
I had yet to hear it, so I jumped on YouTube to learn more.
After the first verse, I was in love with “Mine“.
The idea of a woman not wanting what is portrayed in this song is almost impossible for me to wrap my mind around, as that is a chapter of my life that I can’t wait to start.


One Response to “Taylor Swift”

  1. Shanee Baumgartner Says:

    I love Taylor Swift. Thank you for your post.

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