Image Credits: Gary Miller / Film Magic / Getty Images

On November 10th, the same day that Taylor Swift’s new album, Reputation, dropped, Buzzfeed also dropped an article titled “Taylor Swift’s Persona is Not Built for 2017.” The author, Alanna Bennett, criticized Swift for daring to stay culturally relevant as a musician while not getting into the political fray on issues like white supremacy, Trump, refugees, etc. She goes on to describe Swift’s image as “willowy, blonde, and aggressively white” as if Taylor Swift wakes up every morning and decides how white she is going to be that day. All of this because Taylor Swift is apparently beloved by a group of white supremacists and heralded as an “Aryan goddess.”

As an NPR report points out:

Swift has no affiliation with any white supremacist groups. She has never publicly made any white supremacist remarks, nor has she ever been accused of making them in private. There is no reason to believe she has any interest whatsoever in any of this.

For the record, Taylor Swift sent a cease and desist letter to a blogger who tried to link her to the KKK and white supremacy. People then critiqued Swift’s team for trying to silence protected speech. She can’t win, can she?

The fact that Swift has no actual affiliation with any political group, including white supremacists,  hasn’t stopped bloggers and pundits all over the internet from chastising Taylor Swift for not becoming a political pundit or activist. I have some news for them: celebrities don’t owe you, or anyone, their political views.   

Your favorite movie star doesn’t have to tell you who they voted for. Your favorite singer doesn’t have to perform at campaign rallies. Your favorite internet personality doesn’t have to come out and condemn every act of someone they aren’t associated with in any way. Celebrities got famous for being good at something. It isn’t politics. As one might say, let them shut up and sing, or act, or dance, or tweet, or whatever they do to earn an income and entertain the masses.

This is not the first time Swift has been critiqued for her choice to be quiet on political issues.  A PopFront article wrote:

“When Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce openly campaigned for Hillary Clinton, Taylor’s political silence appeared to be a rejection of her peers’ support of the inclusive Democrat platform. And when one of the most popular female artists in the world declines to join the many in her field in voicing for progressive politics, it could well be construed as her lending support to the voices rising against embracing diversity and inclusion emblematic of Trump supporters.”

If all of my friends go to see Hamilton and I go see Dear Evan Hansen, does that mean I hate American history? No. It’s a choice that everyone makes. Not doing one thing does not automatically mean doing the other. It appears the left has no understanding of neutrality. Taylor Swift never did a single (public) thing supporting a single political candidate in 2016. That doesn’t mean she liked or disliked any particular candidate. It means she keeps some aspects of her life private. If your relationships and private life were constantly splashed on gossip magazines across the world, wouldn’t you want to have some aspect of a private life – even if it just those few minutes in the ballot box? Bennett’s Buzzfeed article went on to say that Beyonce, who has also been silent a lot in the past years and stopped giving interviews, is far better than Swift because she toes “the line of silence, but without crossing over into perceived complicity with embedded forces like white supremacy and misogyny.”  

If you are fine with celebrities endorsing Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or Jill Stein, you should also be fine with celebrities keeping their views to themselves. Fans think they own celebrities. While celebrities may give you a glimpse into their lives, they are still private citizens who have constitutional rights that must be protected and affirmed. Some celebrities like to keep the focus on their work and not on their personal lives. We should respect that. Some celebrities don’t want to talk about politics. We should respect that. Some celebrities want to talk about politics. We should respect that, but when they decide that conversation is over, we don’t get to burn them at the stake for it.

RELATED: Taylor Swift’s New Music Video Points Out Modern Feminist Hypocrisy

Let’s get real here for a second. There are a lot of celebrities being accused of and rightly chastised for doing outrageous things, including sexual harassment and assault. Every day, new accusers come forward sharing their horrific stories of harassment, assault, and exploitation. No one is coming forward claiming that Taylor Swift is attending Ku Klux Klan meetings, throwing her money at Donald Trump, or secretly colluding with Russia. To be frank, Taylor Swift may be culturally relevant, but she’s not politically relevant. Robert Mueller isn’t investigating her feud with Katy Perry. Congress isn’t voting on whether we need a Taylor Swift album tax exemption. There are actual problems in the world and many things going on in politics. Taylor Swift is pretty much none of them.  Taylor Swift has been pretty much off the radar for over a year. She has not been photographed and has done little to no press of her new album. If she’s not doing interviews to market her album, what makes you think she’s going to give an interview on a political topic?  

At the end of the day, I don’t care who Taylor Swift voted for. I don’t blame her for being white and blonde. I don’t blame her for Nazis being weirdly into that in the same way they are into Norse mythology. No one’s calling on Chris Hemsworth to speak out on white supremacy since he plays Thor, a beloved Norse mythological character often adopted by white supremacist groups. I’m sure there are many white, blonde, willowy actresses out there who have had their faces pop up against their will in white supremacy forums. While they are free to condemn that, which Taylor Swift has, for the record, that doesn’t mean they have to enter into the political debate about every issue. Taylor Swift has no control over what alt-right bloggers write about her any more than she can control what some Buzzfeed writer things. At the end of the day, celebrities will just keep doing what works for them, what will keep them in the mainstream media, and what will help them do their job best. Everyone else is just going to have to deal with it.


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Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member