Taylor Swift is what every girl wants to be: pretty, popular, long-legged, and at the top of her field of work. At award shows you can catch her dancing with her best friends: Lorde, Ellie Goulding, Cara Delevigne, and Lena Dunham, who you could argue are all atop their respective fields. She’s hailed for her songwriting and revered for her fashion choices, all while performing with the biggest stars in every city she visits on tour. She’s Spotify’s needle in the haystack that they can’t seem to find, and her endorsements on Instagram take celebrities from the C-List to the A-List in a matter of hours.
Yet, somehow, there’s a contingent of people that hate her. Pure, unadulterated, passionate, unfiltered hatred. It’s the type of hate that inspires long, heated arguments where neither side concedes what they’ve accepted as fact. Days later, those conversations turn into texts with further proof of why you should either love or hate Taylor, with both sides finally agreeing to disagree by saying, “Nevermind, you just don’t get it.”
Then, another awards show comes along where she’s simultaneously lauded for her performance onstage by her fans while being ripped apart by internet trolls who can’t stand the sight of her being happy offstage. Because when it comes to her, there are blue states and there are red states. Unfortunately, arguing about America’s sweetheart is about as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. No matter how longwinded your case to love or hate her may be, the other side will not relinquish.
But, in all actuality, the only reason people hate Taylor Swift is because they hate themselves.
There’s that girl in every high school who is the apple of every boy’s eye. She’s the one you want to take home to mom while also being the one you hope is free for the last dance once “Iris” comes on. Smart, athletic, pretty. Yet, somehow, she doesn’t truly have a group of girl friends that are willing to stick by her side. They vilify her despite her harmlessness and do everything in their power to tear her down despite her good intentions. One could say that on one side, it’s mad love and on the other, it’s bad blood.
Well, to the world, Taylor Swift is that girl. While the rational side propels her songs to number one and account for the millions of views her music videos get, the high school mean girls take to Twitter and Facebook spewing hatred at her every move out of jealousy. They want to be the ones dancing in the front row of the Grammys. They want to be the ones rubbing elbows with Haim. They want 40 million followers on Instagram. But instead of doing the work to get there, it’s easier to make themselves feel better by disparaging someone who isn’t inherently evil in any sense of the word.
In life, it’s easier to hate than congratulate. When people feel uncomfortable or threatened, it’s easier to be on the defensive than it is to take a step back and pay their respects to greatness. Haters replace kind words with, “What does she have that I don’t?” and launch into diatribes about about how she’s “like, so annoying.” The unwarranted hatred of someone whose attributes are borderline unhateable simply shows the true colors of those not on Team Taylor.
It’s not that Taylor Swift haters are especially unhappy. I’m sure a lot of them live gratifying and fulfilling lives. It’s just that seeing her that happy and that successful and that universally loved flips a switch that turns normal, rational people into blood-smelling, ravenous sharks. Her commercial success and popularity among celebrities who have a higher approval rating than Taylor herself are too much for these people to take. While they could give up and enjoy her music and gusto, they’d rather vehemently disparage her from the rooftops until somebody chimes in to entertain their desperate need for an argument. Unfortunately, they hate her because they can never be her.
Me? I’m just a modest Taylor Swift truther. I take her for what she is — a positive celebrity force who kicks out bangers that I listen to on private session and pray come on the radio when I’m cruising to work. The first time I heard “Style,” I wanted to slick back my hair and put on a white t-shirt. When I heard “Welcome To New York,” I wanted to be crossing the Brooklyn Bridge in a cab with wide eyes looking to all the possibilities Manhattan held for me. And when I saw the “Shake It Off” video for the first time, I saw everything that popular culture strives to be.
Unfortunately, some people just don’t get it. .
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