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Has the Taylor Swift backlash begun? Looks like it

Have people begun to turn on Tay Tay?


UNLESS YOU’VE BEEN living under a rock for the past few days, chances are you’ve probably heard about the Taylor Swift/Nicki Minaj feud that is currently rocking the Twittersphere.

This evening, Taylor Swift apologised to the rapper for her earlier tweet and said she “misunderstood, then misspoke”.

But is it too late? And is a backlash against Swift already in full swing?

Quite possibly.

First of all, let’s go back in time to almost a year ago.

August 2014 – Shake It Off is released

giphy (24) Digg / Tumblr Digg / Tumblr / Tumblr

Last August, Taylor Swift unleashed Shake It Off into the world and announced the release date for her album, 1989.

Swift was, of course, a massive star before the release of 1989, having sold millions of albums and won 7 Grammy Awards. But she was also a country artist and wasn’t quite as ubiquitous as she is now.

1989 was her first “pop” album and, as such, people who had never previously been exposed to the musical stylings of Taylor Swift were declaring their love for Shake It Off.

Swift quickly ascended the pop ladder and couldn’t do any wrong. She was relatable, talented and her songs were catchy as hell.

What could possibly go wrong?

Cut to…

June 2015: Taylor Swift writes an open letter to Apple

Taylor Swift Performs at MetLife Stadium AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Back in June, Swift wrote an open letter to Apple and said that she would be withholding her discography from the streaming service in protest of the company’s decision not to pay royalties for songs streamed during a free trial period.

Apple quickly reversed their decision, but while Swift was initially lauded for her stance, there were some rumblings that perhaps Swift’s intentions weren’t quite as noble as they seemed on the surface.

June 2015: Taylor Swift is branded a ‘hypocrite’

Days after the Apple Music saga, a photographer branded Taylor Swift a “hypocrite” after he drew attention to the restrictive contract she forces photographers to sign before taking photos at her gig.

If you take points two and three in that contract, it appears to be a complete rights grab, and demands that you are entitled free and unlimited use of our work, worldwide, in perpetuity.

So restrictive was the contract that many news outlets, including The Irish Times, declined to send photographers to cover Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour.


July 2015: The volcano erupts

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And suddenly large swathes of the internet just turned on her.

One of the main complaints that pops up again and again about Taylor Swift is that she is merely co-opting feminism to suit her own agenda without really understanding its intricacies.

As The Concourse wrote following the release of the video for Bad Blood:

But it’s important to take a second to remember that her brand of feminism is deceptive in its inclusiveness; it’s frequently for show, or worse, only for Instagram.

Elsewhere, people have grown increasingly weary of Taylor Swift and her band of gal pals, who seem to accompany her on stage at every show.

taylorswift / Instagram

While Swift has been vocal in the past about her desire to surround herself with female friends, like Lena Dunham and Lorde, many have expressed unease and displeasure with the whole thing.

In a piece entitled Taylor Swift Is Not Your Friend, Gawker accused Swift of using women like Karlie Kloss and Heidi Klum as “tools of her self-promotion”.

Swift isn’t here to help women—she’s here to make bank. Seeing her on stage cavorting with World Cup winners and supermodels was not a win for feminism, but a win for Taylor Swift. Her plan—to be as famous and as rich as she can possibly be—is working, and by using other women as tools of her self-promotion, she is distilling feminism for her own benefit.

Vulture was kinder in its assessment, but also stated that being flanked by a group of supermodels might not be the best message for Swift to be sending out.

The message isn’t perfect — though I’m sure Kloss and Aldridge are lovely people, I’m not quite sure if surrounding yourself with a squad of literal supermodels is the most effective way to cure your fan base of Instagram envy — but her heart is in the right place.

And so, by the time the Nicki Minaj feud rolled around, the media were ready to pounce.

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guardian The Guardian The Guardian

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Swift was almost universally criticised for her tweet to Nicki Minaj and her failure, as many saw it, to look at the bigger picture and the issues of institutional racism that Minaj had raised.

As Spencer Kornhaber wrote in The Atlantic:

When female solidarity shuts down someone’s honest expression of frustration at society, inequality, and racial and body-type bias, that’s hardly progressive.

And so, this evening, Swift apologised and conceded that she “missed the point”.

For her part, Nicki Minaj has thanked Swift for her apology, so it seems like their relationship has been repaired somewhat.

So, will all this prove to just be a minor blip in Taylor Swift’s career? Or will fans and commentators regard her with a degree of suspicion from now on? Is her reign as “America’s sweetheart” over?

Only time will tell.

For now, though, Swift looks to have been able to sweep this one under the rug.

Previously: Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj threw serious shade at each other >

Katy Perry entered into the Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj feud, and world lost it >

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