Taylor Swift: Feminist, Princess, Avatar
Over the past few months, the feminist blogosphere has struggled to come to terms with the girl power enigma that is Taylor Swift.
Sady Doyle bashed Swift's songs as a "triumph in girl-on-girl sexism." Alyssa Rosenberg found in Swift's lyrics a hint of "feminist reclamation." I accused Swift of re-branding "patience is a virtue" for a new generation of young women. And Kate Harding differentiated between "Taylor Swift, lyricist"—not so feminist—and "Taylor Swift, public figure"—pretty girl-powerful.
If it seems silly to you that feminists would spend precious patriarchy-dismantling energy going back and forth over what Taylor Swift truly means, consider this: Thousands of kids, tweens, and grown women alike are seriously affected by this woman's music. They want to be her. And if they can't do that, they will settle for playing puppetmaster to their own little Taylor Swift avatars.
Submitted as evidence: Swift's music video catalog, recreated, shot-for-shot, by fans . . . on Sims 2. You thought Swift was hard to figure out? Try these people.
I don't know if Taylor Swift is a feminist role model, or a palpable pop princess sent from the Christian right to corral the youth of America into antiquated gender roles. But in light of these videos, I'm beginning to think the Swift question has become . . . urgent.