I am and have been a fan of Taylor Swift ever since hearing Love Story ages ago, when I was barely a fresh-faced teenager worrying about the big bad wolf of the world. The stages of becoming a fan of her was slightly slow but growing up, I felt like she was the older sister I never had; giving advice on love, finding a place in the world and learning the highs and lows of it.
I'm normally a very critical fan of things, people, etc. I hardly feel like defending things/people I like but with Tay it has not only become difficult, but times it's just impossible not to. How big she has grown as a brand in the music industry is no news to anyone, and on the way she has collected many a fan, and also ultimately many a "hater". I'm not generally a fan of the word hater, it seems too vague and too broad.
|image from GQ|
Most of the time, I am very biased towards whatever Taylor does because it all seems so nice and "inspirational". Examples of this are her sending Christmas presents to her fans, learning the ways of Tumblr and replying back to people, donating money to charities, lifting up spirits, etc etc. As a celebrity, she has amassed the critical eye of too many people, and everyone seems to have an opinion on everything she does. Damned if she does, damned if she doesn't
From fashion critics who used to talk about how her curls were her signature and how they were getting tired of her sparkly dresses, some people accusing her of only dating people to write songs about them and all the drama about her love life is excruciating. Most recently, there has been a LOT of articles about her labeling herself as a feminist and about her "squad" of thin, mostly white celebrity girlfriends and her use of feminism to fend herself against other women or to start a twitter fight between other artists; and ofcourse we can't forget her continuous "fights" with celebrities such as Kanye or Katy Perry. The power of Taylor Swift is evident. You can't escape her.
Being on the public eye makes it easy for people to expect so much from her, to pick and dissect every single thing she does and to place accusations on where her intentions lie with every single decision she takes.
I've seen a lot of her fans dwindle overtime, perhaps because she is no longer the all-American-dream-girl country singer with her guitar, blonde curls and cow-boy boots. I've seen her growth as seeing someone I know grow; leaving behind things she no longer likes and moving on to things. I see it as a human feature. Haven't we all moved on from things, developed better values and learnt how ignorant our younger selves were?
Ofcourse, I personally do not agree with all the decisions she makes; in fact I'm very actively against her pitting women against other women (eg: The whole Amy/Tina fiasco) and as her using the analogy of coming from humble beginnings and being the underdog, and her using feminism when it seems relevant to her. I'm not going to decrease the negativity of any of this by saying she's human. As part of being the public eyes, there is a huge responsibility to carefully analyze your actions before you do something; it's the ultimate price of fame.
What I'm most proud of is that she's growing and learning from her mistakes and she's trying to do the right thing. From the gloss-wearing bright eyed teenager singing about Drew not noticing her to the music sensation who can get Apple to change their policy, to the girl who despite all her fame still manages to stay best friends with her freshman classmate, she's an inspiration.
Her music has been a very important part of my life, and I feel like it will be in future too. I'm not idolizing her. I accept her as who she is, with flaws and all. She's merely one of the many inspirations for me to be a better person, inside and out.