Today: 13.12.2017
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12.12.2017

Why can’t feminists accept Taylor Swift’s pro-woman heroics?.

TIME’s “Person of the Year 2017” is “the silence breakers”: women and men who had drawn attention to the issue of sexual assault. Yet the seemingly obvious choice wasn’t without controversy. Standing on the cover, next to actress Ashley Judd and Uber engineer Susan Fowler, was Taylor Swift. Swift earned her place among the other...
Time: 20:51     Date: 07.12.2017
Last US News - Opinion: Why can’t feminists accept Taylor Swift’s pro-woman heroics?. NY Post 24 - US News

Swift earned her place among the other silence breakers. Earlier this year, she was awarded $1 in damages after a jury found that DJ David Mueller had reached up her skirt and groped her during a meet-and-greet in 2013.

In her own words, her fight for victory in a civil court was symbolic — hence her suing for $1 — a gesture for “anyone who feels silenced by sexual assault.” The Rape, Abuse Incest Network’s national hotline, which provides support, information and other help to survivors of assault, saw a 35 percent increase in calls the weekend after the trial.

But according to the Daily Beast’s Amy Zimmerman, Swift didn’t deserve to be heralded as a “symbol of female empowerment” because she’d committed the cardinal sin of 2017: She still hasn’t denounced President Trump.

In a piece titled “Taylor Swift is no silence breaker,” Zimmerman called Swift “an out of touch, ACLU-condemned fair-weather feminist who probably only agreed to do the TIME interview on the condition that they didn’t ask her about Donald Trump.”

Swift, whose political affiliation is unknown, has never publicly said a word in support of the president, but she’s never out-and-out condemned him either — and for that, she’s been drawing think-piece side eye since last year. (“Taylor Swift’s silence on President-elect Donald Trump is deafening,” wrote Mic.com’s Tom Barnes in January, a declaration that soon became a social-media punchline.)

But Zimmerman misstates the purpose of the blogger’s post, which was trying to make the case that Swift was a closeted racist who was subtly getting the “lower-case kkk in formation.” The blogger accused her of using dog-whistle lyrics to appeal to the alt-right, saying that her new single “Look What You Made Me Do” seemed to “play to the same subtle, quiet white support of racial hierarchy.” Really.

Now, suing a virtually unknown blogger who calls you a racist is ridiculous, which is why the ACLU reprimanded her. But the blogger was making absurd accusations, not “exploring her ties” with the alt-right.

And although Swift showed her support of the Women’s March, tweeting “So much love, pride, and respect for those who marched. I’m proud to be a woman today, and every day,” Zimmerman blasted her for not physically marching in the parade. Who else is being held to that kind of ridiculous standard?

She didn’t endorse Trump. She didn’t endorse Hillary Clinton. She didn’t endorse anyone. She seemed to assume her followers could make up their minds for themselves.

It was a problem.

The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon asked, “Who did Taylor Swift vote for?” Later that month, The Guardian wrote an editorial titled “Taylor Swift: an envoy for Trump values?” The left-wing paper noted that “since Donald Trump was elected, the entertainment world has been largely united in its disdain for his presidency.” But Swift’s “has been missing from the chorus.”

Swift is not inflammatory. She’s no one’s “problematic fav.” She’s a savvy businesswoman who built a multimillion-dollar brand and a fan base that has stuck with her. Through both her music and her actions, she’s empowered women.

So why can’t the feminist movement accept her? Has the mere thought that Swift might be a Republican (an assumption backed by no real proof and refuted by those who know her) really usurped the tangible good she’s done for women? It seems so.

Until Swift actually does or says something egregious, we should stop cornering her on her political beliefs. Her actions have spoken for her: She’s pro-woman and pro-survivor. She thinks independently and doesn’t let pressure force her to answer for the actions of men who she has nothing to do with.

Sounds pretty feminist.

Twitter: @bkerogers

Opinion

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Opinion

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Business

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