Salvo 03.04.2024

Taylor Swift and the Dissonance Within Modern Feminism

Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour – Melbourne, Australia

Liberal bromides are pushed aside for traditional roles.

For six years, Taylor Swift quieted the naysayers who claimed she couldn’t keep a man, dating actor Joe Alwyn in an uncharacteristically private relationship from which came two of her most traditionally aesthetic albums—Folklore and Evermore. In one, she dons long modest dresses; in the other, her hair is set in simple braids. She plays into feminine tropes in both albums, at one point literally “begging” for her man to lead her future in the song “Willow.” 

Then, as Swift announced her most successful concert tour to date—and the highest-grossing of all time—news of her and Alwyn’s breakup first hit the presses. It appeared that, after all that, the blonde beauty still went on too many dates and just couldn’t make them stay.

Your average white female Millennial Swift fan’s love for NFL player Travis Kelce is eclipsed only by her hatred for Alwyn, the soy boy who allegedly ran scared from the paparazzi, took the coveted booth seat on dates, and never opened the door for Swift. Who, least of all a conservative, can blame a woman for finding fault with a man like that? 

But as Swift’s relationship with Kelce has gained more media attention, conservatives have not without reason expressed concern that she is being used to brainwash impressionable young people, catechizing them in regime-approved mantras. Some even go so far as to claim her entire relationship, along with the Kansas City Chiefs’s Super Bowl win, is a psyop to promote the COVID vaccine and boost Joe Biden’s re-election prospects. 

“DINK, unwed, childless, girlboss, feminist supremacy, will drive low-propensity votes for Biden (again),” tweeted Jack Posobiec. “Calling it now: KC wins, goes to Super Bowl, Swift comes out at the halftime show and ‘endorses’ Joe Biden with Kelce at midfield. It’s all been an op since day one,” podcast host Mike Crispi wrote.

Swift has endorsed Biden before, Kelce has promoted the vaxx, and both are likely to use their fame in destructive ways leading up to the 2024 election. It’s a fool’s errand for any conservative enjoyer of Swift’s music to claim she is actually a closet conservative, and that she and Kelce will marry and have children any time soon, if at all.

That said, both Swift and her fans’ reaction to both the Alwyn breakup and her new relationship should give conservatives pause. That a fan base so overwhelmingly leftist and pro-abortion would find her classic love story with Kelce so alluring—even to the point of fantasizing about a marriage proposal and babies—says a lot about how instinctual traditional roles really are. It’s an internal conflict that has plagued many a wannabe girlboss since feminism first reared its ugly head. 

“Travis, a gentleman helping her out of the car. Joe Alwyn never did this!!” one commenter wrote, as an early video of the couple emerged, prompting comparisons to how Alwyn acted in public with Swift. 

Swift has never been a favorite of conservatives—no leftist celebrity is. But it’s ironic that the most vicious takedowns of her have occurred as she takes on a publicly feminine role toward an outwardly masculine man, showing an interest in his family, cultivating a good relationship with her own parents, and using her platform to draw fame and attention to her boyfriend, whom she obviously respects. 

“Taylor Swift has never looked happier cheering from the sidelines, playing a supporting role to a man who actually looks like a man, who she’s planning to marry,” journalist Megan Basham posted on the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Whatever her politics, if this is a left wing psyop, it’s a very ill-planned one.”

In fact, relatively speaking, Swift’s music career is an odd target of conservative ire. Taylor’s most vicious critics on the Right have likely never listened to her music beyond pop radio hits like “Shake It Off” or “Blank Space.” The first song is catchy but lyrically witless, and the second romanticizes being the crazy, untrustworthy girlfriend with a high body count. (“Got a long list of ex-lovers / They’ll tell you I’m insane / ’Cause you know I love the players / And you love the game.”)

While Ice Spice is writing lyrics such as, “Think you the sh*t, b*tch / You not even the fart,” and Cardi B writes such poetry as, “Spit in my mouth, look at my eyes / This p**sy is wet, come take a dive,” the most seductive lyrics Taylor has ever written are probably, “Say my name and everything just stops / I don’t want you like a best friend / Only bought this dress so you could take it off.” Some expected Taylor’s music to take a turn for the worse when she announced a new song titled “Slut!” on her album 1989 (Taylor’s Version). However, it turned out to be a tender love song about how she would weather any public scandal to be with her beau.

One of Swift’s most popular songs, a piece likely to get any young woman singing along, is Love Story, which plays into so many traditional tropes that one has to wonder if it does so unbeknownst to the songwriter. “Romeo, save me, I’ve been feeling so alone…. He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring / And said, ‘Marry me, Juliet / You’ll never have to be alone / I love you and that’s all I really know / I talked to your dad, go pick out a white dress.’” 

It’s a well-kept secret that the sorts of women who might not fly to D.C. for the Women’s March but voted for Hillary Clinton to “break the glass ceiling” are merely starved for masculinity, leadership, and traditionalism. A video went viral on X in December of a woman squealing with girlish delight as she “felt the feminism leaving my body” while going on a date with a man who insisted on paying for everything, unlike most men in her liberal city. 

“It might be time for me to get away from all these liberal snowflakes on the east side,” she said.

Commenting on the video, Matt Walsh revealed the contradiction that will forever leave these sorts of women without the men they obviously crave:

She’s impressed that the guy paid, which is fine…. But if she likes this aspect of traditional masculinity, she has to accept the rest of it and be willing to play her part and be traditionally feminine. That’s where things usually break down for feminists.

It’s possible that Travis Kelce is pumped too full of Pfizer drugs to be the masculine man that breaks down Swift’s feminism. But for her fans, there is more hope. The average Swiftie has a chance of allowing her natural instincts to take over, allowing her to fall for the masculinity she needs. 

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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