Ann Wilson Of Heart In Defense Of Taylor Swift, 'Equality,' 'Rage,' And Women In The Music Industry

Kim McLendon

Ann Wilson of the classic rock band Heart expressed solidarity with Taylor Swift over Taylor's recent lawsuit against a man who groped her. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Ann sounded off about a woman's right to be respected in the course of her daily work as a musician.

Ann Wilson spoke of her own situation as well as Taylor Swift's when she told Rolling Stone it all amounted to the right of a musician to be respected. It isn't about gender, it's about the right of any human being not to be exploited, groped, or molested.

"We have to redefine that which we haven't even touched. This is not a gender problem. It's a power issue. It's a problem of respect. When we are able to strip off the gender thing, then we'll get somewhere."

Taylor Swift is coming along decades after Ann and Nancy Wilson formed Heart. The genre is different and the voice is different, but the rage is still there. Taylor Swift and Ann Wilson express nothing but contempt in both "Barracuda" and "Look What You Made Me Do."

Many people are uncomfortable with Taylor Swift's controlled rage. Vox said Taylor Swift had two distinct identities. The writer seems to find it strange a strong woman could expect both intimacy and control, or both power and love.

"Swift's celebrity image has been caught in a tug-of-war between intimacy and control, one characterized by two distinct identities: Taylor Swift, nerdy teen, and girl next door… and Taylor Swift, micromanaging CEO of a billion-dollar business whose marquee product is her own public image."
"Both sides are fundamental to Swift's appeal — but they are also antithetical to each other. When the two sides of her persona clash, they cancel each other out, resulting in a Swift backlash like the one that's formed heading into Reputation."

"Look at someone like Taylor Swift and what she's gone through. She put herself on the line about this guy groping her and took it all the way to court. There was a lot of eye-rolling about that, but she's making a point."

Ann Wilson continued to discuss Taylor Swift's claim against the defendant in her court case.

"Somebody thinks that they have the right to come around at a meet and greet, reach up her skirt and grab Taylor Swift's a**. And that it was OK. He can go and brag about it in a bar."

Taylor Swift isn't attaching herself to a movement like #MeToo, or the feminist movement. She's acting on her own, and Ann Wilson supports that.

Ann Wilson says she doesn't identify with some of the new aspects of feminism, as compared to the women's equality movement of the 1970s. As Ann Wilson told Rolling Stone, all Gloria Steinem ever wanted was to be treated fairly. Perhaps that's all Taylor Swift wants as well. Wilson told Rolling Stone she's not a man hater.

"I'm into true equality of the genders. I don't harbor any anti-male feeling in my heart. I know that the mothers of feminism, including Gloria [Steinem], never wanted to be anything except 50-50."

Still, Ann Wilson confides candidly to Rolling Stone, her hit song Barracuda was written out of "true rage" at a promoter who implied as an ad gimmick that Ann and Nancy Wilson were not only sisters but lovers.

"For [this promoter] to imagine us together in an incestuous lesbian relationship – the sleaze factor really dawned on me in that moment. Those lyrics were written by my true nature, in true rage. I hope that that song will come in handy now when women are thinking about what they want to do and not do."
"I'm not going to sit here and go into my political views 'cause that's not what I chose to do. I chose to do music. I try to keep myself as educated and informed as possible. But I don't talk about politics because it might influence other people."

Taylor Swift is not alone in being disrespected, and Ann Wilson makes a valid point. It isn't a gender issue. Men can be touched inappropriately as well. It is a matter of respect and treating others decently.

Taylor Swift and Ann Wilson only want to be treated fairly and to be respected as the talented musicians they are.