Depending on who you talk to, Taylor Swift is either a snake or a goddess. She’s a pop genius or an ideal-stealer. In other words, she’s got a serious reputation for drama.
But through it all – feuds and failed relationships, Grammys and record-breaking album sales – Swift’s fans have stuck by her. But lately, even the most die-hard Swifties have taken issue with her. Here, from smallest to biggest, are the issues that have made fans second guess their allegiance to Taylor Nation.
7. Her new music left fans hot and cold
Swift’s musical tastes have evolved quite a bit since she first got her start as a pop country singer in the mid-2000s. Her fifth album, 1989, fully established her as a pop artist, and 2017’s Reputation added a bit of hip-hop into the mix.
For some fans, this shift into new territory is one step too far. After she released her first single from the album, “Look What You Made Me Do,” the reaction was mixed at best. Many fans felt the song was too big a departure for Swift, and expressed their frustration on social media.
These fans called the song trashy and awful, and lamented the loss of the “old” Taylor that the singer herself declared “dead” in its lyrics. But fans aren’t just growing tired of Swift’s music. Some have taken issue with her public persona, too.
6. Her hyper-crafted image feels insincere
Swift isn’t just a singer – she is a brand upon herself. And that’s the result of years of hard work at crafting and honing her public image. Some fans respond favorably to the effort Swift makes to connect with her fans on Tumblr. Others feel it’s become yet another way for Swift to appear relatable in an environment she can control.
Critical fans cite Swift’s now-defunct girl squad as another example of the pop star’s tailor-made image. They feel that she used a gaggle of equally well-known girls to sell the image of a fun, approachable, dazzling life. But then Chloe Grace Moretz revealed that she was specifically recruited to join Taylor’s squad. And the whole “squad” felt less like a genuine friendship and more like a marketing opportunity.
It’s not just Swift’s friendships that fans have called foul on, either.
5. Her relationships sometimes seem fake
A lot can be said about whether the media’s fascination with Swift’s love life is fair to her. The singer herself has pointed out that there are plenty of male songwriters who constantly write up their breakups and don’t get endure “Who is this song about?” think pieces.
But one fact remains where Swift and romance are concerned: Her relationships have, for the most part, been made widely available for public consumption. Whether she’s sharing intimate photos of herself with Calvin Harris on Instagram or talking a leisurely fall stroll with Jake Gyllenhaal with the paparazzi in tow, Swift’s relationships have never been low key.
And some fans have started to think that some of her relationships are mostly for the benefit of publicity. They even hypothesized that her well-publicized fling with actor Tom Hiddleston was an elaborate ruse to set the stage for a future music video.
Showmances are nothing new in Hollywood, and Swift wouldn’t be the first to use her romantic relationships to snag headlines and sell records. But her image is so much based on being relatable and somewhat down-to-earth. So the idea that she’d stage an entire romance just for show has rubbed some fans the wrong way.
4. Some think she has a habit of playing the victim
In her song, “End Game,” Swift declares: “I swear I don’t love the drama – it loves me!” And that one line sums up one of the major complaints that fans have had about the way she’s approached controversy over the years. Some fans believe that for all Swift’s confrontations that have played out in the public sphere, she often presents herself as the victim of unwarranted attacks on her character.
Time and time again, when asked about everything from break-ups to her ongoing feuds, Swift has placed most of the blame on others. Whether it’s constantly reminding fans that it was Joe Jonas, not her, who ended their romance, or asking to be excluded from Kanye and Kim’s narrative, she paints herself as someone who is the victim of, rather than an active participant in, tabloid drama.
Some feel that shows Swift is unable to take responsibility for her actions. And, for her part, Swift has acknowledged the criticism. In the final moments of her “Look What You Made Me Do” music video, she complains (about herself), “There she goes, playing the victim again.”
This self-proclaimed habit of Swift’s has even led her into legal disputes.
3. Her attempts to silence a critic landed her in hot water
Every celebrity wants to have some amount of control over how they’re portrayed in the media. But some take that control to extremes – and Swift is most certainly one of them.
In 2017, writer Meghan Herning penned a blog entry that criticized Swift for failing to disavow her popularity amongst the alt-right. Swift’s team didn’t take kindly to the criticism, and one of her lawyers sent Herning a cease-and-desist letter.
The ACLU got involved, and they argued that Swift is attempting to silence free speech. This has caused some fans to question why Swift is more concerned about being called an alt-right sympathizer than she is with the fact that the alt-right count themselves among her biggest fans.
And that’s not the only political issue that has made fans side-eye Swift.
2. Her silence on U.S. politics is often deafening
No celebrity is required to speak out about the myriad political and world issues we face every day. But those of us who pay attention to current events do often take note of which public figures are vocal. And Swift, more often than not, is not one of them.
In some cases, Swift has spoken out. In 2016, she expressed condolences to the victims of the Orlando shooting. But during the lead up to the 2016 election, Swift didn’t comment on the contentious battle between Hillary Clinton about Donald Trump, although she did share the above photo of her voting.
In the time since, she’s stayed silent as fellow celebrities like Katy Perry and Beyonce and friends like Lorde and Selena Gomez have spoken out countless potentially controversial issues, from the Muslim ban to gun control.
Some have taken issue with the fact that Swift has not used her enormous platform to take a stand. And others have argued that her silence is synonymous with complicity where Trump’s agenda is concerned.
1. Some feel she’s only a feminist when it’s convenient
It’s not just Swift’s silence on the election and its aftermath that has fans bothered, though. In 2014, Swift announced that she had embraced feminism ahead of her 1989 album release. And in doing so, she gained new fans that were happy to see the singer harness her girl power.
But those fans also hoped that she would use her newfound feminist stance to actively advocate for women. Swift has taken a stand when she herself has experienced misogyny or sexual harassment. But she speaks up for others.
Fans cite were frustrated when she offered an endorsement, by way of Twitter, of the January 2017 Women’s March, but did not participate. One fan angrily responded by telling her, “You do not get to pick and choose when feminism benefits you.”
Others have noticed that she has remained entirely silent about the growing sexual misconduct crisis in Hollywood. That’s even though she recently won a lawsuit against a DJ that groped her.
Only Swift truly knows where she stands on feminist issues. But her on again, off again approach to speaking out about women’s issues has led some to accuse her of calling herself a feminist only because it could help her sell records.
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