I have a love-hate relationship with Taylor Swift and have done for the past decade or so. When I was younger, I loved her music and used to shamelessly have it all over my iPod. In my teenage years, I used to listen to her love-struck songs and pretended to relate to them (tragic I know). Then I got a bit older and paid attention to her lyrics and started to get a bit irritated. Flash-forward to me in my mid-twenties and despite my housemate decorating our flat (rather than just his bedroom) with Tay-Swift memorabilia, I quite frankly thought all of her music was a bit pathetic. Then she dropped a new album and along with a music video that glorified colonial Africa (it was by no means glorious) and sang lyrics depicting why women should wear red lipstick and short skirts, I was done. I deleted her songs, and moved on, ignoring the numerous articles about her fake white feminism and the infamous ‘HiddleSwift’ affair. And I’ve happily stayed away – until now.
If you have looked at the news recently, then I am sure that you will have seen that Swift has been in the headlines again, although this time it’s not because she has a new song, new boyfriend or worn something outrageous to a party. No, this time it was because she has been in court, countersuing a man who sexually harassed her.
David Mueller, an ex-radio DJ sued Taylor Swift for $3million stating that her accusations of sexual harassment cost him his job. The DJ groped Swift, putting his hand up her skirt as they posed for a photograph whilst on tour.
Swift countersued Mueller for a symbolic $1 (77p) for damages and won. Yay!! It takes courage to stand up to your abusers, and as demonstrated by Amber Heard last year, there is a huge amount of risk involved if you are a woman in the public eye. Like Heard, Swift took on this case knowing that it was never about the money hence the symbolic $1. Instead, Swift wanted to show that women can and should stand up to harassment, a sentiment she echoed by saying:
“My hope is to help those whose voices should be heard”
Although Swift has been public about women’s empowerment before, this time it’s a bit different as this time it’s relatable. Not many women in the world will find themselves on the receiving end of a sexual comment in one of Kanye West’s songs, but countless women will have to deal with sexual harassment at some point in their lives. This trial could have been humiliating for Swift. It could have gone very differently, and during the trial, she echoed the fears of every woman who has undergone something like this, by turning to Muller’s lawyer and saying:
“I’m not going to let you or your client try and make be believe that this was my fault”
Although I’m not happy that she was harassed, I am happy that she fought it in the public eye and won. Swift gave a voice to those who don’t have one by showing them that it can be done and that you don’t have to suffer in silence. So yes, despite my earlier protestations about the singer, I am firmly back on her side now and might even go so far as to download some of her songs.
*image from photoforclass.com – some rights reserved