Taylor Swift recently quoted something she heard from Katie Couric in her Vanity Fair cover story, saying, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” I have to say I agree with Swift and Couric and Madeleine Albright (the Secretary of State who first spoke those words).
No one knows the exact context or question that prompted TayTay to reference the quote. The cover story suggests she was talking about ‘mean girls,’ yet makes mention of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Golden Globe pokes at Taylor dating Michael J. Fox’s young son. This is where it gets interesting.
Several gossip blogs and magazines have spun the whole situation to say: “Swift thinks Amy and Tina should go to hell.” I’ve never met Taylor Swift (although I’d love to), but I can’t believe that is what she meant. I don’t think we’ll ever know unless the interview tape gets released, but that seems far too serious for something this silly.
I decided to make a sort of pro and con list because I couldn’t quite figure out how I felt about Taylor’s reaction. Here’s what I came up with:
Amy and Tina made harmless jokes about Taylor’s ‘serial dating’ habits. Maybe she tries to remain secretive about relationships, but anyone who’s ever listened to her album knows about all of them. She has made her money by being the voice of every heart-broken girl in this world. With that persona, comes a lot of room for jokes and criticism. I’m not saying it is right, but so is our celebrity culture.
Tina and Amy are feminists. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a truly hurtful thing come out of either one of their mouths. Amy didn’t even fire back when she heard about Swift’s supposed comments. She laughed, agreed and turned it into a joke on herself. Tina also responded, making it clear that it was a lighthearted joke. So looking at it like this, Taylor is overreacting in saying they should go to hell. They weren’t bashing her. They were there to entertain and made a harmless joke about her public persona, like they did about most other guests at The Golden Globes.
But, she’s kind of right.
I couldn’t help but defend my dear T Swifty and a certain Mean Girls quote came to mind.
“You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.”
Michael J. Fox took what Tina and Amy said about Taylor dating his son and made it personal in several interviews following the Golden Globes. Michael ended up apologizing to Taylor for the hurtful backlash, but I can’t help saying, “See you what you did?” to my favorite SNL duo.
They gave guys the okay to call us sluts and whores. OK. Well maybe nothing that dramatic. But when a woman starts bashing another woman, it gives men the OK to get in on the joke. Take Anne Hathaway. Did she kill a baby or something else I never heard of? Maybe she overdid it in her acceptance speech, but let’s not forget there have always been worse speeches. Does that really warrant the awful attacks on twitter and blogs and most other social media?
Taylor and Anne aren’t the only ones. How about Demi Lovato, who bravely came back to the spotlight after seeking treatment for an eating disorder, only to be called ‘fat’ by her critics. And then there’s Lena Dunham, who faces countless critics for showing her ‘less than perfect’ naked body on tv.
I think we are all guilty of this in one way or another. It’s easy to say hurtful things about these people you have never met and think, “That’s what they signed up for by being famous.” But whether or not Taylor is overreacting, she has a point, just like Katie Couric and Madeleine Albright. Women need to decide to stand up for one another and not tear each other down.
Some might say Taylor can’t take criticism, I say she’s standing up for herself. She made one little comment, probably taken out of context, and look how the Internet has exploded already. We are so quick to judge without knowing the situation. Is Taylor Swift the face of feminism? No. But she is a face lot of little girls look up to and a girl that refuses to change no matter what people say. Aside from her dating life, she’s never had a DUI, stolen a necklace or been photographed smoking a joint in her car. Shouldn’t that be something to commend?
Featured Image via VanityFair.com