As I’m getting older I am starting to learn more about the kind of person I want to be and I’m learning how to get rid of negative attitudes I simply just don’t need anymore.
For such a long time now being a feminist has been a huge part of my identity. But despite everything I preach, I still have my issues.
The following is a realisation of those issues and the major epiphany I had, right there in the middle of Wembly Stadium as Taylor Swift freaking smashed her set on the Reputation Tour, about what it takes to really practice what you preach.
NOT A SWIFTIE
So the use of Taylor Swift may be a little bit clickbaity for this post (a girl’s gotta try get those likes some how right?) but she did inspire this whole realisation and self-growth situation regarding other women, shame and jealousy.
For a bit of background, I was one of those people who didn’t really like Swift for no particular reason. I listened to her music but would criticise her whenever she appeared in the headlines. For every breakup, makeup and latest scandal I was with the rest of the world rolling my eyes and wondering how such a ‘nice girl’ could cause so much drama, unless it was all fake.
Although Swift is such an extreme example of a shamed woman, her experiences are unfortunately shared with so many others – famous or not. Every movement, every mistake or success, is out there for us to judge.
But then, on 22nd June when I sang and screamed along with thousands of her loyal fans I got to see the other side. The side that is rarely ever publicised. Her side.
And I realised how messed up my attitude to, not only Swift had been, but towards women overall – despite my bold claims for female empowerment. In reality, I had been a part of what was pushing us all back down.
I know it seems kind of like I’m just using this whole post to boast about the fact that I got to see Taylor Swift in her Reputation tour (and maybe I am just a little bit) but there was something about being in that place, so full of happiness and pure love that made me realise what an arse I’d been. And trust me, when you’re surrounded by thousands of dedicated fans, that feeling goes pretty deep!
But the gig gave me a chance to see Swift simply. As just a lass who was doing her job, and doing it pretty bloody well too. And it got me thinking about how many other women I’ve shamed, ridiculed or disliked based on an idea that I’d either been given or made up myself.
I know that everyone feels as though they’re being judged, and we all get that anxiety when we feel like we don’t fit in, regardless of gender, but I feel like women (especially those in the public eye) just get a little bit more shit than normal.
“how many other women have I shamed, ridiculed or disliked based on an idea that I’d either been given or made up myself?”
Literally every. single. thing. women do is mocked or questioned in some way. From our own personal choices (don’t you think it’s selfish not to have children? how come he hasn’t put a ring on it yet?) to natural, bodily functions (periods*, body hair, size and shape) women are under scrutiny from the rest of the world.
We really don’t need to be getting shit from our sisters too.
THE FEMINIST BIT
So what is it about Taylor Swift that gets people so mad?
Well, there’s loads of excuses: the fact that she’s had a lot of partners; the fact that she’s quiet; the fact she is too nice. But the main one, when you really boil it down, is the fact that she is successful.
And like with most issues I’ve personally had with other women, it all comes down to jealousy.
We’re all so used to being pitted against each other for everything, from our relationships to our careers, it’s no wonder we fall victim to it. From day one, women are told that there isn’t enough room for them. From the fact that there are less women in higher role jobs, to the fact that women are normally seen as accessories, we are constantly being told that we aren’t good enough.
But this whole thing with Taylor Swift and the epiphany I had while singing my heart out at that stadium was so simple I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get.
We need to make room for ourselves.
And we need to make sure that we are not shutting other women down or pushing them away just because we’re not keen on them or don’t have the same outlook as them.
The only way we’re all going to succeed is if we’re in it together.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO DO?
Next time you see a shitty article bashing women (it’ll probably be about Taylor Swift, to be fair) check yourself.
- How does this make you feel?
- If this was one of your friends would you shame her?
- Would those actions be wrong if a man was doing them?
- What does the world get out of shaming her like that?
Call out the bullshit you see, be supportive of your sisters, educate those who don’t understand.
So finally, after all that rambling:
I’m so sorry Taylor Swift, and every other woman I’ve shamed, through jealousy or a misunderstanding or simply just to fit in. I will learn from my mistakes, check myself and continue to be a support for all women. I have learnt that there is enough room for all of us, and it is down to us now to create a safe and open space for us all.
I will be better.
*I know that not all women have periods, just like not all period-having-people are women. But just for the sake of my argument here and just to generalise in the easiest way I can, this is what I’m going with. Please do not be offended. I see you xoxo