Is Taylor Swift Really The New Face For Feminism?

It seems like everyone is calling Taylor Swift a feminist these days. She’s been applauded for having hundreds of female friends and for supporting other women in the music industry. But not everyone agrees that Taylor Swift should be applauded for her newfound feminist ideals. So, why should she become the new face for feminism?

Swift, 25, wasn’t always a feminist. When asked if she believed in equality in a 2012 interview with The Daily Beast, she said that she doesn’t like the word. Swift believed that feminism was “too strong” of a word — and a bad strong word, at that. The singer didn’t want to refer to herself as a feminist.

“I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.”

Now it looks like Taylor has embraced feminism. Was it because of her new friendships with outspoken feminists Lena Dunham, Lorde, or Tavi Gevinson? Since Taylor has topped the new Maxim “Hot 100” list, she decided to speak out on her thoughts about feminism. She also explained why she didn’t understand the concept three years ago.

“Honestly, I didn’t have an accurate definition of feminism when I was younger. I didn’t see myself being held back until I was a woman. Or the double standards in headlines, the double standards in the way stories are told, the double standards in the way things are perceived… Misogyny is ingrained in people from the time they are born. So to me, feminism is probably the most important movement that you could embrace, because it’s just basically another word for equality.”

It could be that Taylor Swift has grown and matured over the years. It does happen to people. Some would say that the issue with Swift’s newfound feminism is that she gave her thoughts to Maxim Magazine and continues to slam other women in the media.

Her new music video for “Bad Blood” was slammed by the media for not supporting women and for going against the grain of feminism. Not only is it the worst track on her 1989 album, but it also takes a direct hit at Katy Perry. Their alleged feud started when Katy reportedly “stole” some of Taylor’s backup dancers from her Red tour. It also doesn’t help matters when they both dated John Mayer. Taylor’s BFF, Selena Gomez, also wears a wig that’s similar to Katy Perry’s signature hairstyle.

It appears that the message behind Swift’s music video is that she will rally as many famous women as she can in order to publicly bash another woman. Much like feminism, “Bad Blood” has different interpretations for different types of people.

“The troubling, underlying takeaway from this video is that Swift wants her fans to know that she’s the most important of all the important kids and that she’s become somewhat untouchable as a result. And that’s the worst kind of way to tout your championing of women (and celebrity hashtag-feminism)—to wrap it up in a blanket of cool and use it as a weapon! When Swift went up to accept one of the eight Billboard Music Awards awards she won later that night, she took the stage as some sort of matriarch for the future of teen babies everywhere, telling her fans she ‘loved all girls.'”

DeadSpin seems to agree. Feminist writer Roxanne Gay says that although Taylor is wise to jump on the feminist movement, she still should receive her share of criticism.

“With the back-to-back release of “Bad Blood,” on a branded platform that recently declared her Woman of the Year, and her new cover of Maxim, her attempts to position herself as the Modern Feminist of the Future feel awfully cynical.”

Meanwhile, Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic disagrees. He thoroughly enjoyed the “Bad Blood” music video and his interpretation of it.

“This is a fun imagining of an action-movie universe where women rule, a corrective to the Smurfette syndrome that, for example, forces Black Widow into being defined almost entirely by her gender while the men of The Avengers enjoy a diverse set of storylines. All the “Bad Blood” women have their own signature powers, gear, and personas, imagine that!”

Is Taylor Swift really a feminist? It’s hard to say since it’s such a loaded concept. Feminism and its ideology are multi-faceted, like Swift herself. There isn’t one thing to say about feminism or Taylor Swift. Both have their own interpretations for the public to decide.

Do you think Taylor Swift should become the new face for feminism while she’s still learning about the concept? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.

[Image: Ethan Miller/Getty Images]