Taylor Swift is divisive and frankly, it’s her fault. She seems to enjoy sitting it out until she sees which way the tide is turning, or acting like an activist for all women but only showing up for herself. See: keeping silent on being a poster child for white supremacy for years before she spoke out against it, and her #MeToo activism. However, when something affects her directly, she’s on it like white on rice, making sure everyone knows how categorically unfair she’s being treated, and how corrupt the system really is.
Which leads me to Taylor’s newest crusade: Scooter Braun and the Finance Bros (which, btw, should be the name of a Puddle of Mudd cover band) bought out her entire back catalogue, and for a time, weren’t going to allow her to perform them at the American Music Award ceremony honoring her music for the past decade.
She told the world about this on Thursday via her Twitter:
Don’t know what else to do pic.twitter.com/1uBrXwviTS— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 14, 2019
Look, she has a point here. She claims she was never offered the ability to buy her own back catalog and some dude swooped in and took that all away from her. I would have a hard time with the fact that the music I wrote and performed now belonged to someone else when I never got the chance to try to buy it back. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, regardless of who it happens to.
Turns out that the attention she gave to the situation worked out in her favor, and the men who bought her music relented, per The Hollywood Reporter:
“The Big Machine Label Group informed Dick Clark Productions today that they have agreed to grant all licenses of their artists’ performances to stream post-show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms,” the statement reads. “It should be noted that recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television of any other live media. Record label approval is only needed for contracted artists’ audio and visual recordings and in determining how those works are distributed.”
Well, I guess, for Taylor…
Here’s what I (and I suspect others) have an issue with: Taylor Swift only shows up for Taylor Swift, and then acts like it’s a big deal and that she’s doing it for everyone. OK, Taylor.
Does she have a moral obligation to use her platform for good? Well, I would argue yes, but I think anyone who has power and a platform should use it to point out injustices in the system.
Taylor does that, but only when it’s a perceived injustice against her, and look—the injustices against her do suck. It sucks that a pig sexually assaulted her. It sucks that her music doesn’t belong to her anymore. But you know what else sucks? Basically everything else in 2019, and you don’t see her speaking out against that, do you?! Where is her support for Impeachment? Black Lives Matter? A political candidate who may make people’s lives better?!
Her recent Twitter feed is a celebration of Taylor and, well, that’s about it.
The thing is, if she kept silent on everything, it would be different, but she speaks up when something directly affects her and then positions herself as someone who’s doing this on behalf of everyone who can’t. As if people are clamoring to buy my back catalog and keep it from me.
By doing that, it makes it very clear where Taylor’s priorities lie: not in speaking truth to power, but in sticking up for number one, and that’s it.
It’s not like she hasn’t stepped outside of this zone before. Last year when she told people to vote, they actually listened and voter registration went up! Why isn’t she using her platform more like this, and making a difference?! It works—so why is she saving the fight for when it benefits her and her alone!?
So, while I side with her on this issue, it’s with a healthy dose of side-eye because I know she will not show up when her platform could be of use to help people not named Taylor Swift.
Header Image Source: Getty