In the article, “A Feminine Style” in Women’s Political Discourse, it talks about how words like “feminine” are used as opposed to words like “female” or “woman” because feminism refers to the idea of what women in our culture are supposed to be. Women in today’s society are held to a standard of feminism that is defined by our culture. There are certain guildelines that women are expected to adhere to in order to receive respect as a woman. There is an expectation in our society that all women should fit these criteria, and if they don’t, they are not normal. A common misconception is that women are born with these feminine traits. However, these commonalities among women are mainly acquired through experience and conforming to the norms of society.
Masculinity of Power
Power is associated with masculinity making it more difficult for women to be powerful or to be taken seriously as powerful figures. Women who are in positions of power are constantly being criticized for not acting in a feminine way. Dr. Gray states that “our society still believes in sex-role theory , which says that we humans learn from society’s institutions to behave in ways appropriate to our sex. This theory explains the major personality differences between men and women and why there is such a distinction between women power and male power in today’s society.
This article points out that women are often clumped into one and their personalities are all considered as a variation of “feminine style.” This is actually true to a certain extent in that most women share common ideals and outlooks on the world. Studies show that this “feminine style”is not in fact a biological component of women or something they are born with but more of an adapted style that comes from experiences. Experiences that relate to being a woman such as nurturing, and caring for their families. This study also found that women in politics have a different “style” than the men which makes their political agenda different. Woman are said to be more focused on bettering situations and empowering others where as men are more concerned with power over others. According to a Harvard study, women have more “Gaia values than men—qualities that aren’t yet explicitly valued in the workplace.” Women are more empathetic by nature making men more suitable for powerful positions in the workplace. Many women choose not to take on positions of power because of the high pressure and high responsibility.
Taylor Swift came out with a hit single “I knew you were Trouble” on her latest Red album. Swift strayed far away from her country music style with a new dubstep style. Even though she changed her overall style of song, her lyrics portrayed the same Taylor Swift we all resonate with. Taylor Swift writes about another relationship that ends in heartbreak for her. This song admits the propensity for girls to date the “bad boy” even though she knows the heartbreak that comes with this type of relationship.
I Knew You Were Trouble
It is a common theme for girls to want to date the “bad boy” instead of the guy that shows his sensitivity and treats her like she wants to be treated. There is this idealized relationship that one girl will be able to change this bad guy into a sensitive, loving boyfriend. Every girl aspires to be this girl. Swift explains this phenomenon when she says, “how can the devil be pulling you toward someone who looks so much like an angel when he smiles at you.” By this she means that girls are often times blinded by this type of guy when he acts sweet towards them. She is acknowledging that she was blinded by his perfect smile and disregarded any thoughts of him as a “bad boy.” She goes on to say that she has made this mistake multiple times and she is shameful that she fell so hard for this guy that she knew wouldn’t be good for her. She repeats multiple times in the song “I knew you were trouble when you walked in.”
The Joke is on Me
After being hurt by this guy, she realizes that he is just like all of the others guys she has dated like him. She realizes that “the joke is on her.” He is not going to change for her she is just going to be a “new notch” in his belt and “that’s all [she’ll] ever be.” She faces this reality, realizes the pain and heartbreak she is feeling, and admits that she is left weeping on the ground for him.
As she cries over this guy, she thinks about their relationship as a whole and comes to the conclusion that he never loved her. She was so wrapped up in changing him into the perfect guy for her that she never entertained that thought. It wasn’t until he completely let her go that he could’ve possibly been like all of the other guys. Her hopes of changing him into the ideal guy overruled the fear she had acquired from her past mistakes. Even though she knew deep down that he wouldn’t be different, she convinced herself that he would be. This ultimately led to her heartbreak again.
Swift used to be the country singer every girl could relate to. She used to be the quirky, nerdy one who wasn’t always the center of attention. She wrote songs about her nonexistent or messed up love life on her guitar in the privacy of her own room. Even in her early stardom, Swift wrote these songs on her own, and they were hardly tampered with. She was still that approachable, relatable teenage girl that every girl looked up to. Parents looked at Swift as one of the only celebrities that they would feel comfortable allowing their kids to look up to. As far as role models in Hollywood go, Swift was at the top of the list. Today, Swift is far from relatable to the average teenager with her complete transformation of style.
In recent years, Swift has moved from her small town, quirky persona and become another celebrity in Hollywood. Her fan base has grown dramatically every year since she first became known. In order to keep her fan base growing, Swift surrounds herself with big named individuals such as Harry Styles, Selena Gomez and Karlie Kloss. Fans are more intrigued when she publicizes herself with other big names rather than random fans because it shows her as more of a part of the celebrity culture. Celebrities are intriguing to fans and the more Swift can fit into this culture the more people will follow her life and want to listen to her music. The celebrity culture is only for the elite. Since Swift is now part of the celebrity culture, she is much more respected as an artist and not seen as much as a relatable teenage girl. Swift is performative in that she is branding her friendships and making them more of a marketing scheme than just a group of people she hangs around. Her squad is designed to embrace her “true brand: the benevolent pop princess.”
Benevolent Pop Princess
Being in this elite group of celebrities, Swift has completely changed her style in regard to her music, her look and the way she carries herself. She has come far from the shy, nerdy girl with ringlets in her hair and become a new person. Her long ringlets are now a short, sleek hairstyle. Her outfits have gone from casual country attire to glamorous, high-end fashion. Swift displayed her new transformed look on the nationally televised Victoria secret fashion show as she doubled as a performing and also a model. Her new look and along with her new group of friends is designed to embrace her “true brand: the benevolent pop princess.”
Not only did her image change but also her music. She went from one of the most popular country singers to a pop artist. Her songs started playing on pop and hip hop stations instead of country stations. Her new songs were much more of a production. Her guitar was no longer the main instrument in her songs. Taylor Swift is now a brand not the girl next door that everyone can relate to.
Why The Taylor Swift #Squad Movement Isn’t What It Seems
Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” video was talked about well before it aired on the Billboard music awards in 2015 because of its rumored celebrities starring in it and its edgy theme. Swift fans were not disappointed proven by the amount of blog posts and tweets praising what they had just seen. Most fans loved what they saw and had nothing critical to say about Taylor or the video, but there are always going to be other opinions from people. The type of people who watch these videos aiming to pick them apart and deceipher the meaning of them. At first glance this video may seem like its main goal is to empower women, but there are underlying messages that portray women as jealous and competitive which allows for some to have more power than others.
Competitiveness Amongst Women
As Jessica Chou writes, this video stems from the classic stereotype that girls “can’t be trusted” because women aren’t supposed to be competitive in society’s eyes but, in reality, women compete in everything. The message in the video supports the idea that women can’t really be friends with this undeniable competitiveness. Chou points out that this fight between Selena and Taylor is much like any “catfight” in that it stems from jealousy and competitiveness between women. Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez are set up to fight against each other which sends the message that women are always competing with each other. It is important in today’s society, especially with the changing view of the equality of women and men, that the idea of unity and support amongst women is not diminished. The idea that women are constantly trying to tear each other down gives the wrong idea and makes us as a whole look inferior.
This video suggests that Swift is undefeatable and if any other women tries to compete with her, she will fail. Everyone knows how much power Taylor Swift has, but this video shows that no other woman can compete with her. There are multiple examples in the video that illustrate that Taylor is on a different level than everyone else. At one point, Swift is pushed into a window by Selena Gomez and miraculously remains unscathed thus portraying her undefeatable persona. She is shown sitting in a car twirling her hair while her team trains for battle. In addition to having the more powerful team, Swift’s undefeatable persona is highlighted even more when she is too good for the training her team goes through. Swifts team is stacked with famous actresses and supermodels showing that she can get anyone she wants to support her and be on her team.
Emily Gordon of the Sunday Review says that women compete with each other due to evolutionary psychology. This is the theory that uses natural selection to explain our modern behaviors. Noam Shpancer explains this in Psychology Today, “As women come to consider being prized by men their ultimate source of strength, worth, achievement and identity, they are compelled to battle other women for the prize.” Women naturally find importance in men and feel the need to protect themselves from other women coming in between.
This video shows that Taylor Swift’s is undefeatable because she has her powerful squad of beautiful celebrities backing her up. While this video attempts to send the message of girl power and feminine unity, it is actually showing that girls are competitive with each other by nature.