It’s the Kanye West incident in particular that rubs most detractors the wrong way. While playing victim, Taylor Swift was in truth, benefactor. Like she always is.
Newton's third law of physics states, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." Take note: The reaction to your disapproval of Taylor Swift is hundreds of teenage girls in Idaho clicking the “Purchase” button on "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" on iTunes.
Seriously. She's already sold four million tracks from the new album. IN ONE DAY. And she's just getting started. How? Why?
Because she sings catchy songs, for one thing. But like everything else, there's deep psychology here: 22-year-old Taylor Swift is—on several levels—what America wants its daughters to be. It’s why you can't stop her; she, in the existential sense, is why you can’t stop her. In Brooklyn, a long way from Idaho, there are branded products of hers positioned at eye-level in a Walgreen's, which can only be useful for little girls who are supposed to see Swift, and perhaps learn something from her. About her. Or about her way of life, one that they may in some way inhabit.
22-year-old Taylor Swift is—on several levels—what America wants its daughters to be.
Sure, other pop stars try to sell us fragrances, posters, and bedding, but for half of the country, there's an uneasiness about embracing them as pop stars that doesn't—nor will ever—exist with Swift.
Beyoncé is married to a former drug dealer-turned-rapper. Nicki Minaj: rapper. Rihanna looks like she's back in a relationship with a man who beat her. Also: they’re all black. In the same way you don't see young white girls carrying around black Barbies, many of those little girls will retain the same attitudes as they grow older, when their dolls become pop stars (and then, again, when their pop stars become dolls).
And to Taylor Swift's benefit, her white contemporaries only serve to help her cause, ostensibly lacking the perceived moral compass that’s so crucial to her success. Lady Gaga and Katy Perry fill children's heads with lustrous, pro-gay propaganda, Miley Cyrus is a stoner, and Ke$ha looks like she crawled out of a Waste Management site.
Then along comes the young, beautiful, innocent, Taylor Alison Swift. She’s from the heartland—not the Caribbean islands or New York City. To her, a rude boy is the fresh-faced young man who interrupts her with a kiss “in the middle of saying something.” Not, say, the big-dicked ruffian whose erection Rihanna asks after on her own “Rude Boy.”
That sound you hear is Middle America’s collective sigh of relief.
What's the biggest strike against T-Swift’s immaculately untarnished image? Lately, she's been in the tabloids for the fact that she maybe, possibly, but totally cheated on Conor Kennedy with his cousin, Patrick Schwarzenegger.
White girl problems. But even other white girls don’t have it as good as Taylor Swift.
When news broke that Twilight actress Kristen Stewart cheated on her co-star and longtime boyfriend, Robert Pattison, with Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, she was immediately—and publicly—shamed. Stewart was mysteriously absent during a promotion of the upcoming Twilight film during this year’s MTV VMAs and (untrue) rumors spread that she was dropped from the (currently nonexistent) Snow White sequel, with fan made videos like “Kristen Stewart Is A Whore” popping up to add salt to the wound.
As a young woman who doesn’t spew the same counterculture image so synonymous with Stewart, this type of vitriol and and fallout is something Taylor Swift will never have to deal with. To her credit, Stewart’s scandal reached a marriage, but the idea at play—dishonesty in a relationship—is fundamentally the same, regardless of legal binding. Despite all of this, Taylor Swift somehow emerges as a victor.
Taylor Swift can't lose. She wasn't built to lose, in the same way Goldman Sachs wasn't built to lose, either.
This is the point: Taylor Swift can't lose. She wasn't built to lose, in the same way Goldman Sachs wasn't built to lose, either. For this, Swift actually is a Feminist. Of course she is. She lives to demonstrate the kind of calculated business brilliance once thought to be the domain of alpha-males. Except Swift's savvy resembles less a corporate endeavor than the work of an infallible demi-goddess, one whose desirability transcends gender constraints with little resistance. There isn't a man on the planet who can get away with Swift's carefully coordinated juxtapositions in such a public way, on such a high level, in 2012. She's just more evolved. The ruse is stunning.
If Swift ever loses, it's a controlled, predetermined loss, one built to eventually swing in her direction. She's the Lloyd Blankfein of pop culture; in the same way he couldn't win without the deregulation of banking, she exists because we allow her to, because we, on some level, want her to. Because of our fundamental impulse as a society to love precious white girls who appear to be standing for something while in fact disrupting nothing. But can we blame her?
We can't. America is, after all, the land of opportunity. And she has seized upon every single one, impeccably and without fault or shakiness.
So, yes: Taylor Swift is The Baddest Bitch in America. Get used to it. Get over it. Or embrace it. Go ahead, put on your TaylorFace and pretend like you didn’t know she was. Or don't. It doesn't matter, because—TaylorFace, or not—Taylor Swift is somewhere living out a real life fairytale in her moat-adorned residence. Read: She got what she wanted. And she'll continue to.
In the immortal words of Louisiana rapper Webbie: “Now that’s a bad bitch.”
Or, as Swift would have it: "All you'll ever be is mean."