Thursday, 7 March 2013

Frankly a little sexist: Taylor Swift vs. Tina Fey

Taylor Swift is one of those young women who people are so adamantly trying to find flaws in, people love to hate her. When Taylor Swift quoted one of Katie Couric's favourite quotes in response to the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler joke at this year's Golden Globes she opened herself up to an onslaught of hostility. She discussed the issue in Vanity Fair by saying:

"For a female to write about her feelings, and then be portrayed as some clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend in need of making you marry her and have kids with her, I think that's taking something that potentially should be celebrated-a woman writing about her feelings in a confessional way-that's taking it and turning it and twisting it into something that is frankly a little sexist."
She then continued by repeating a quote that Katie Couric had given her, which was, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."

Who doesn't understand that quote to some extent? Obviously not the hell part, that's rather dramatic - but the general idea of those words. As women we continually look for reasons to tear other women down, solidarity in our gender is rare. Women possess a vicious quality as we live in a competitive world, and we need that streak in order to survive and succeed, we understand that as women we don't necessarily need to support other women purely because they share our gender. In daily life, we rarely encourage success in other females we dislike, and when we don't see them fail we use their success as a tool for our resentment. I don't see the Fey/Poehler joke as fuelled by venom or as an extreme attack on the singer, but I do understand the problems with it.

As a 22 year old, I get it. We're all still finding out who we are and what we can and can't say, and like toddlers sometimes we test the boundaries to see if anyone stops us from doing it. If you were never perfect at 23, if you ever bitterly said anything about an ex and if you ever got angry when someone took a dig at your expense, then your argument is invalid. Show me a perfect and well balanced young woman in their early twenties, and I'll buy you lattes for the rest of your life.

To put this in basic terms - everybody says things about other people, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler poked fun at Taylor Swift's expense, Taylor Swift pokes fun at Harry Styles - but that's based on her own past experience and, she's not poking around in the lives of other starlets by making fun of them. The luxury of her career is she can (and does) discuss her personal life, but that's her decision. Who hasn't discussed their relationships with their friends? But wouldn't you be slightly ruffled if these friends then discussed it with their friends? Exactly. Basic. Come on Tina Fey, you wrote Mean Girls- Remember this? "Hey, that's only okay when I say it."

You don't have to like Taylor Swift, but you do have to jump off your high horse. What fun would it be if we never did anything stupid? We'd never have any stories to tell, and songs would never get written to make millions of young girls feel like they're not alone in this world. Taylor Swift is doing her part to help other women and young girls, she's erasing the possibility of the solitude of heartache, and she's giving them anthems to sing in the car so let it be.