In the world of celebrity, few figures attract as much love and hate as Taylor Swift. The reasons for this could be manifold – her astronomical success, with her Eras tour on track to break all-time revenue records at an estimated $1.4 billion. Her undeniable talent, evident in the evocative lyrics of her “Folklore” album. Or perhaps her striking beauty, with that iconic hair, captivating eyes, and a radiant smile.
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But what if the root cause of the disdain is something far simpler? Perhaps it’s just because she’s a woman.
As a devoted Swift fan, commonly referred to as a “Swifty,” I’ve often pondered the vehement reactions towards my favorite artist. Taylor Swift, with her angelic voice and the intellect of an Ivy League English professor, seems to incite more than her fair share of controversy.
For those who watched her 2020 Netflix documentary, “Miss Americana,” it’s evident that the 33-year-old superstar has been the target of online vitriol for years. Critics have taken shots at everything from her vocal abilities and fashion choices to her body size and dating history.
In the latest wave of hostility directed at Swift, it seems that her romantic life has taken center stage. After parting ways with long-term boyfriend Joe Alwyn and a brief fling with Matty Healy of the 1975, Swift has found a new love interest: Travis Kelce, a renowned American football player. Swift has made several notable appearances at Kelce’s games, most recently at the Kansas City Chiefs-New York Jets match, where she was joined by close friends Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds.
However, the situation took an ugly turn when Dan “Big Cat” Katz and Eric “PFT Commenter” Sollenberger, hosts of the widely followed “Pardon My Take” podcast from Barstool Sports, made a series of sexist remarks regarding Swift’s presence at the game. They went as far as calling her “bad for football” and indulging in lewd jokes about her private life.
In another disturbing segment of the podcast, Katz went on to express that he would accept Swift’s attendance at Chiefs games only if she and Kelce were to “release a sex video,” detailing explicit content that would satisfy his conditions.
These comments are nothing short of appalling. One of the most accomplished women globally has been reduced to a mere object of desire by two male sports enthusiasts. This is textbook misogyny – the crude attempt to belittle a powerful woman by discussing her personal life and making derogatory references to her body. Sadly, it’s a recurring narrative, one that Taylor Swift has had to confront far too often.
For years, critics have obsessed over her romantic involvements, often sidelining her musical prowess in favor of discussing her love life. She is a woman who has long been defined by the men she’s associated with, by those who fail to acknowledge her as a remarkable artist.
This has to stop. As actor Rachel Zegler aptly put it in a tweet, such degrading conversations about a man are unimaginable. This double standard prevails in various scenarios, and it’s not limited to men; women are also guilty of contributing to it. It’s 2023, and this kind of language should have no place in our society, let alone on a popular podcast. When it does occur, we must recognize it for what it is: hate speech propagated by men who feel threatened by powerful women and, in their insecurity, resort to objectifying them. It’s a sad state of affairs for them and a reflection of the progress that still needs to be made.