Taylor Swift recently came out with this new album called Lover, and while most of the songs on it are excellent, there is one song on it, which I despise, called The Man. The Man happens to be a great sound, it has a sweet tune, with a very upbeat vibe, and then there are the lyrics. The chorus screams, “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man.” The song is about how if she would be perceived if she were a man and how it might be easier.
Now, there are many things wrong with this. First of all, Business Insider named Swift in their list of the 50 most successful people in the world. Her reputation tour being the highest-grossing tour in U.S. history – yes, more than any man. She has won ten Grammys. She is also number nine on the Forbes’ list of highest-grossing celebrities under 30. Let’s be honest here, Swift more successful than most men in the world. She seems to be making it pretty well as a woman. For her to cry victim in spite of being more successful than most men is simply wrong.
Next, and even more so, Swift is supposed to be a role model for young women everywhere. Not to mention millions of adult women who are big fans of the artist and look up to her. How does she think it feels when she tells all of her adoring female fans that it’s too hard to be a woman and that it would be easier to be a man? What kind of message is this sending? Yes, women face challenges that men will never meet. Instead of telling women that they can’t do it, shouldn’t we be writing songs showing women they can do it?
Unfortunately, Swift is not the only example of this. Let’s discuss Shonda Rhimes and Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve been a long time fan of this show. It’s a top-rated show. It’s been running for 15 seasons and just started its 16th. In fact, it’s ABC’s number one show, is one of Netflix’s top streamed shows and most popular U.S. show in foreign countries, dubbed into 67 languages, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show is also known for its strong female leads like Meredith Grey and Miranda Bailey.
I’ve always admired Dr. Bailey’s ambition and determination. After becoming the first female chief of surgery at the hospital, Dr. Bailey wants “to take a sabbatical from stress.” She goes on to say, “…and I still have this voice in my head, telling me that–you know, because I’m a woman, that I can’t…Ironically,” she explains, “I think it’s the voice of the damn patriarchy.” The only one who is telling her she can’t do it is her. Am I missing something? No man is telling her she can’t. Only she is telling herself that she can’t. Another role model for young women, sending a message that says “Dear Women, you can’t do it.” Why would someone as powerful as Miranda Bailey send a message like that? We need to start saying you can do it.
When we share messages like this, we are only hurting themselves. It’s a vicious cycle. Role models tell us we can’t do it. So, we grow up thinking we can’t. Then, we tell other women that they can’t, and so on.
What if I told you we could change it all right now with one three-letter word: CAN.
The cycle would completely change direction. So, ladies, we can do it, we just need to start telling ourselves we can.
Leila is a high school student at an Orthodox, Jewish school in NJ. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, and writing. She is also a dedicated conservative woman, who enjoys being politically active.