Exploring what we made Taylor Swift do and why it’s important
By: Autumn Barszczowski
That’s right. The old Taylor Swift is dead. At least, that’s the narrative that Swift is selling in her new single, “Look What You Made Me Do.”
But what exactly does that mean?
Since 2006, we have witnessed Swift present a new version of herself with every album. She’s come all the way from America’s Sweetheart to… Well, however you see her now. Because in 2017, you either have an undying love or never-ending hatred for Taylor Swift.
Or at least, your feelings are based on how authentic or inauthentic you believe her to be. Many see this new Swift as a snake, who is money-crazed and does nothing but play the victim.
The only problem with that view is: Do we actually know who she is? We only see what she presents and, eventually, how the media and other celebrities discuss their own perspective of her well-woven narrative.
We have built up this idea of who she is, and with every new piece of information, we have re-defined what we know about her until the version we see is nothing like the one presented.
The problem with this? We still do not know who Swift really is. We only know what she is selling us, and frankly, no matter how she presents herself, people are no longer willing to buy it.
Over the years, we have seen her reinvent herself enough times that we no longer know who she truly is and, for a while, we didn’t care. She shielded herself from the world and we went along with it.
In her self-titled album “Taylor Swift,” she established her image as America’s Sweetheart. She went from “Tim McGraw” to “Picture to Burn,” where she exposed what it felt like to be in love and to be heartbroken. In “A Place in this World,” she discussed the thoughts we all face regarding growing up and searching for where we belong. It was littered with innocence and uncertainty at what was to come.
Fast forward to her album “1989.” At this point, she has grown up significantly. She found her place in the world through her music. Unfortunately, this is also the moment in time where people were more focused on the drama related to her lyrics than the shared experiences she sang about.
People were analyzing every lyric to see if they could find a story to sell. We began to lose the real Swift as she embraced the fact that she had to fight for her reputation in an effort to keep a hold of the title of America’s Sweetheart.
What many have yet to understand is that, we have taken away her ability to grow. Swift can no longer freely express her anger without people questioning the motives behind every lyric and action.
“Look What You Made Me Do” is Swift’s way of showing people that she can no longer be America’s Sweetheart. That after years of ridiculing her for her breakup songs and the way she handles conflict, she is finally accepting her role as the snake because we will not let her live in any other way.
We have this idea of who she is in our heads, that she has been given no other choice. No matter the effort to keep her music upbeat and innocent, she can no longer maintain it when that isn’t what sells.
Her place in the world is in the music industry and, unfortunately, she will do anything she can to hold onto it.