I Don't Have To Like Taylor Swift To Support Her As She Takes On Rape Culture
I don’t like Taylor Swift. As a woman of color, I don’t like things that Taylor Swift has done in the past regarding women of color and ignorant music video choices, so I’ve chosen to put her and her music out of my mind. I just want to put my energy elsewhere. However, I’ve never stopped respecting her as a human being and woman. I’ve even found myself coming to her defense when people say she’s dated too many people and that’s all she writes about. I’m sorry; Drake has “dated” how many women? And artists write about love all the time. What’s the problem? If you’re going to critique her, at least have a valid point that’s not laced with sexism.
Ultimately this all comes down to my feminism being intersectional, but not situational. So, naturally, I find myself eagerly reading up on her recent court case over a 2013 sexual harassment incident with former KYGO radio host, David Mueller. Mueller reached under Swift’s skirt while taking a picture in 2013, and Swift reported the harassment to Mueller’s manager, which led to Mueller getting fired. He then sued Swift for $3 million two years later for lying and getting him fired, to which Swift counter sued for a whopping $1. Yes, as in 100 pennies. If you didn’t think she was using this case to make a statement before, there’s no doubt about it now.
Finally meeting in a court of law on August 10, Swift took the stand. Now, I can’t speak for every woman nor would I want. But as I read Swift’s statements from her testimony, I felt proud. She dominated the stand, never letting Mueller’s attorney, Gabe McFarland, shake her. She said the things that many women in the same position who may not be able to counter sue for $1 or have the privileges that Swift does, would love to say.
“Gabe, this is a photo of him with his hand up my skirt—with his hand on my ass. You can ask me a million questions—I’m never going to say anything different. I never have said anything different.” She said to McFarland at one point on the stand, her determination, honesty, and fierceness on display. And later, when she was asked how she felt about Mueller getting fired, she responded:
"I’m not going to let you or your client make me feel in any way that this is my fault. Here we are years later, and I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are the product of his decisions—not mine.” Hell yeah, Taylor!
Since Swift took the stand, the case has been thrown out and she is no longer in danger of being sued. Sorry not sorry Mueller, weird, creepy dudes facing consequences for their actions don’t exactly earn my sympathy. In my eyes, this is a nice stab taken at the rape culture we live in, even if it’s not over because of this.
Will I sing “22” on my 22nd birthday? Absolutely not. Will I stop pointing out her problematic, White feminist tendencies? Hell no! But I will take this moment to celebrate Taylor Swift’s attempt to disrupt the toxic cycle that people get put through when they speak out about sexual harassment. Watching her walk through this frustrating, rape culture influenced trial with such boldness makes me feel so empowered. I can’t imagine what it’s doing for women, and sexual violence survivors everywhere, so I’ll give her some props.
Teri Bradford (she/her/hers) is the Editor of our lovely Concept: Our Magazine. She loves podcasts, strong leaders, and letting you know that you can find out more on the About page.