Polly Vernon: I Don’t Care If You Don’t Love Taylor Swift. I Do

Proud Swiftie Polly Vernon on why she is happy to be Living In The Time Of Taylor.

Taylor Swift

by Polly Vernon |
Published on

In one recent 24-hour period, Taylor Swift became the first artist in history to win four Best Album Grammys, single-handedly revived the concept of ‘wearing a watch’ with the watch choker she wore to the ceremony, and caused international grammatical ructions as everyone tried to work out how to apostrophise The Tortured Poets (Poet’s? Poets’?) Department, title of her forthcoming record, the imminent droppage of which she announced on stage, and... Well. If it weren’t clear before that these are Taylor’s Days, the rest of us can only exist within them (waiting patiently on news of her new boyfriend, music, look, et cetera), it should be, by now.

Me? I’m happy to be Living In The Time Of Taylor. I’m a massive Swiftie: not one of those Taylor-Come-Latelies who only realised her genius with 2020’s Folklore, either, oh no! She had me at 2012’s Red. Twelve years on, there’s no greater cathartic cry than the cry I’ll have to a Taylor song. Nothing that gives me more hope for righteous vengeance than a Taylor lyric.

Shush now: I don’t care if you disagree. Loads of people – RL friends, Instagram randos responding to me responding to more Taylor news – have told me I’m mistaken in my devotional Swifting, but: guys? That’s not how loving someone works. You can sneer, tell me you Do Not Get Her, you’re still outraged about her being Time’s Person of 2023. You can say things like: ‘But she’s so basic’ (such a basic thing to say, BTW)... It won’t stop me sobbing over Exile or This Love or Pure.

I’ve noticed Taylor’s most virulent detractors are often women. While Rishi Sunak will neither confirm nor deny he’s One Big Swiftie (he clearly is), while I recently encountered a mate – macho stiff-upper-lip outdoorsy type – testing his new headphones on 1989 (‘Obviously. She’s our greatest living artist’)... Women can be so mean about Taylor. I think it’s because she does the lady equivalent of making us feel emasculated: ie, she makes us feel super-ultra-feminised. Because she is such an unashamedly girly girl, eh? So gender conforming, in her presentation and her musical preoccupations. So blonde, so pretty, so red-lippie-short-skirtie: Taylor did Barbiecore before Margot Robbie.

And so hung up on romantic love! Does such explicit girliness makes some women uncomfortable? Women who question girliness’s feminist credentials; who think the Girliness of one, diminishes the Seriousness of the rest, that’s why they suppressed their own girly-girliness – but now? Here’s Taylor making a billion-dollar business of hers! How dare she?

To which, I say: only when you have made peace with your own, multifaceted femaleness, how it longs for romcom endings, perfect skin and to rule the f**king world... Only then might you have room for Taylor Swift: in your political ideologies and in your heart.

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