Thursday, June 20, 2013

014 : Jezebel is anti-feminist

Have you heard about Feminist Taylor Swift on Twitter? Good. But this isn't about that. This is about an article by Jezebel, mocking Taylor Swift for not being a feminist.

Oh wow, there is so much wrong with this article.

For starters "The bubbly blonde is expected to sell millions of copies with her now-standard girlish, diary-like lyrics." Right in the second sentence, I have a problem. They're calling her "bubbly" which is a descriptor of a personality you can't really see in a performer, since you don't actually know her. Also, I dislike calling her lyrics "girlish". Since when are someone's feelings meant to be demeaned to such a loaded, gendered word? Apparently, Jezebel thinks the feelings expressed in Swift's songs can only be held by girls, so boys are out...and that ain't a feminist sentiment.

But then it gets worse, "Swift has stuck to a formula and carefully curated image: The patriarchy-friendly, virginal, good, pure, feminine, pretty blonde girl that has been an American ideal for decades." Who says it's a carefully curated image? Maybe that's just who Swift is? Also, why is it ok to qualify her by her physical features. Would it be more acceptable for Swift to be black or Asian or had brown hair or brown eyes (because Zooey Deschanel is also often insulted due to her physical features)? Furthermore, who has called herself a virgin? Taylor Swift has not once commented on being a virgin. She has alluded to sex on occasion and did comment on a friend's virginity (which was lost at 15, on her first album), but never her own. Who is Jezebel to make that call? As for patriarchy-friendly? I challenge the fuck out of that. Swift has broken records previously held only by men by writing about her feelings and gaining a nearly all female audience. So, you know, becoming a powerful celebrity by writing about a female experience and then sharing that with hoards of other females...doesn't seem so patriarchy-friendly to me.

Then of course, we have to pick apart the intent of her songs. As Swift says, "When people say things about me empowering women, that's an amazing compliment. It's not necessarily what I thought I was doing, because I write songs about what I feel." Jezebel, of course, insults her and sums her up with this last line, "But do we need another photogenic cisgendered carefree white girl singing heteronormative songs about mooning over boys? Again, we have the physical features attack. Also an attack on her sexual preferences.

How about this : I call Jezebel anti-feminist.

I haven't ever been a fan of Jezebel because of their combative nature. The very idea behind this blog, attacking Taylor Swift for not labeling herself as something that Jezebel feels she should, is anti-feminist. So Taylor is a pretty, white, blonde girl who has had massive amounts of success because she writes songs about her feelings? But instead of talking about her writing her own music, her decision to ditch RCA when they didn't want to give her a recording deal (an unheard of decision, especially for a young girl to make), and maintaining a private life in our celebrity-obsessed culture, how she maintains autonomy in her career, that she makes her own managerial decisions, makes her own financial decisions, makes her own creative decisions, she has to be belittled and categorized by the lowest common denominator : white, pretty, blonde, straight. These things are patently wrong with Taylor, according to Jezebel...but this type of argument is anti-feminist.

Look, not every female has to politically align herself with feminism. Not all people see feminism as an equality movement. Taylor Swift has a right to be who she wants to be, write about her feelings without political motivations, and sell the fuck out of her records if she wants.

In fact, it's also ok for you to like her music (or not). It's ok to relate to what she says or choose to listen to someone else. It's ok to like one of her songs or all of them or none of them. It's also ok for you to be white, thin, and pretty. It's ok for you to be a girl who likes boys. Because feminism is about equality. But according to Jezebel, success and feminism are only about...I don't know...not being white, blonde, straight, not liking boys, not expressing your feelings without political alignment. Oh right, Jezebel isn't actually feminist, and those writers aren't feminists, because they believe in only a certain standard of equality, and some of us just don't fit.

2 comments:

  1. "Swift has stuck to a formula and carefully curated image: The patriarchy-friendly, virginal, good, pure, feminine, pretty blonde girl that has been an American ideal for decades." Yeah, Jezebel just described me. I'm a freaking threat to all feminists. Look out!!!!

    Also, I can assume from these descriptions that Jezebel only classifies butch lesbians as feminists.

    Count me out then, I suppose.

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  2. @TK Woo : I think there is so much wrong with that post, and it saddens me that Taylor Swift is a target, largely because of her looks. I have never read anything negative about her that didn't qualify her by her looks. So she's pretty and blonde? What's the big deal?

    And yeah, you and I are totally out...being blonde, fair, blue-eyed, and pretty means we're just fucked and can't possibly have any stake in equal rights!

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