“I never chase boys” is the newest, dumbest thing Taylor Swift said, and, before we get into it, let us first ask … so how’s that working out for you? (In a Dr. Phil voice.)
That Taylor Swift said “I never chase boys” in and of itself is no shock — the singer who made a name for herself writing ballads of bitterness and longing would, one might assume, be focused strongly on her love life to the extent that strategy is paramount. But for a role model to young women, on purpose or accidentally, is this really the sort of message we want to send to girls, that they’re honey traps and prey?
Swift said she will “never chase boys” when speaking to Elle, and, we will note for the record, this phrase was uttered by a 23-year-old woman. Woman. At that age I myself was a married mom of two, and the only “boys” I chased were my son, to change his diaper. That women have been infantilized to that stage is upsetting, but add to that a woman in her mid-20s is still promoting the idea women have a place and stepping out of that sanctioned zone is … ew. For sluts.
What Swift said when she said “I never chase boys” was prefaced by:
“I don’t think I’ve ever yelled at an ex-boyfriend. Ever … I’m not a yeller. I’m not a fit thrower. If something is done, it’s done.”
In slight fairness to Swift, who really should think harder about what she’s saying, the “never chase boys” part was in response to her public image — she adds:
“I’m sure if I looked up the latest Google Alerts rumor it would say I’m chasing somebody who doesn’t like me as much as I like him — people love that angle on me … They’re like ‘Oh Taylor, coming on too strong again, chasing boys.’ I never chase boys. They don’t like it!”
What Swift’s “I never chase boys” statement is also what feminists call “slut shaming.” Swift is distancing herself from perceived unattractive behavior by not only denying she engages in it, but also casting blame among “girls” (or, we assume, mid-twenties women) who do the unthinkable and actually voice grievances and honestly speak their desires to men.
The tired idea that women must sit silently and await male interest leads to all manner of terrible outcomes, not the least of which is a toxic dating culture filled with resentment — you know, the type Taylor Swift makes millions singing about.
Taylor Swift shouldn’t be saying “I don’t chase boys,” certainly not with her reach — she should be saying with the number of Grammys she has and zeros in her bank account, she chases whatever the hell she pleases.