Are You a Phony Feminist?

Instagram / Taylor SwiftTaylor, where are you? Are you okay?! Are you hurt? Legs broken? Vocal chord surgery? Brain transplant?! Where could you possibly be that you weren’t marching with your fellow women on Saturday? Taylor, you have a voice and platform. You have millions of followers on social media— everything you do or say…

via Dear Taylor Swift, When Will You Stop Being A Phony Feminist? — Thought Catalog

Last Saturday, I “marched” on my state capitol. I think Trump will suck as a president for lots of reasons, including his stance toward reproductive rights. I showed my support at our local protest, then went about my day. Pizza, bloody mary, sex, gym. Taylor Swift wasn’t even on my radar screen, but this post caught my attention for calling out the singer on her absence from the protests. My thoughts about feminism have shifted over the past few months. I don’t quite know what it means to be a feminist right now.

Do celebrities like Swift appropriate feminism for self gain? I’m not sure. If Taylor never said a word about women’s rights, I suspect she’d sell just as many albums. She’s talented. I don’t feel comfortable ridiculing an artist, telling her what to do. Isn’t that the opposite of feminism? On the other hand, the writer of this piece makes some fair points. If nothing else, I agree that celebrities need to think carefully about the influence the exert on people.

Taylor Swift has thought carefully, it seems to me. She’s explained before why she’s less politically active than other celebrities. She told Time Magazine in 2012, “I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people. And I don’t think that I know enough yet in life to be telling people who to vote for.”

And you know what? I respect that. In fact, I respect it a lot. Taylor Swift knows her fans. So do I. Some of them would follow her into a burning building. So she wants people to make up their own minds. That sounds pretty feminist to me. Just like we want reproductive and marriage rights, Taylor wants the right to do and say what she wants. Her status obligates her to nothing, especially if she has reasons.

I’ve never been one to demonstrate. I see it as valuable, but I think I’m more suited to activism in the classroom. I’ve already devoted my life to educating people about the world and showing them the importance of knowledge, facts, and level-headed discourse. As a teacher, I appreciate Taylor’s point about influence. I’m not even really allowed to share my political views with my students. It’s unethical, because I have power over them through the grade book. I might even have more sway with teenagers than Taylor Swift herself. Gasp.

On Twitter, I’m more vocal about what I think. If nothing else, I know one thing–lots of people other have a passionate opinion about what Taylor Swift should or shouldn’t be doing on a Saturday.

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2 thoughts on “Are You a Phony Feminist?

  1. Mathew Timms (@VampireMat)

    This deviates from feminism a bit, but the quote you used from her made me think of Alice Cooper. He’s been against using his platform for politics for decades. While he does express his opinion in interviews, he makes it plain that he thinks entertainment should be kept separate from politics and for the most part I tend to agree. Unless your art/entertainment already has politics woven in (Rage Against The Machine, for instance) I tend to find political digressions onstage a bit awkward. I could list a half dozen shows were a musician started spouting off and it got awkward for everyone. Now that I’ve said that, Hardy Fox (former Residents rep) recently made the point that electing a television host with no prior experience has erased the line between politics and entertainment. His point makes a lot of sense as well. Since I am at present not a public person, the question has little practical value to me personally. I do wonder your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. That Wilder Girl Post author

      I agree with you. In fact, great point about Rage. Btw, I love Alice Cooper’s radio show. It would be pretty awkward if he paused to talk about Trump. It just wouldn’t fit. Taylor Swift would’ve been equally open to using the march for photo ops if she’d gone. You can’t win with some people.

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