Photo Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Who wants to hear Taylor Swift sing about women's health and the wage gap? Lots of people, as it turns out! A new parody Twitter account called Feminist Taylor Swift (@feministtswift) has become an instant viral sensation, racking up over 80,000 followers in less than a week. All of the tweets are Taylor Swift lyrics rewritten with a feminist slant. For example:
Lyric from Taylor Swift's "Picture to Burn": "So go and tell your friends/ That I'm obsessive and crazy/ That's fine"
So go and tell your friends that I'm obsessive and crazy / That's fine, people trivialize dynamic women by calling us "crazy" every day— FeministTaylorSwift (@feministtswift) June 16, 2013
Lyric from Taylor Swift's "Begin Again": "You pull my chair out and help me in / And you don't know how nice that is/ But I do"
You pull my chair out and help me in / & You don't know how nice that is / But it also reinforces the idea that women are inherently fragile— FeministTaylorSwift (@feministtswift) June 14, 2013
Lyric from Taylor Swift's "White Horse": "I'm not a princess/ this ain't a fairytale/ I'm not the one you'll sweep off her feet"
I'm not a princess / This ain't a fairytale / I'm writing my own story / With a strong female hero— FeministTaylorSwift (@feministtswift) June 14, 2013
Lyric from Taylor Swift's "Love Story": "You were Romeo/ I was a scarlet letter And my daddy said stay away from Juliet/ But you were everything to me"
You were Romeo / I was a scarlet letter / Because I've had like, 6 boyfriends / Which isn't even that many / Slut shaming is a real problem— FeministTaylorSwift (@feministtswift) June 17, 2013
You get the idea. Swift isn't the first celebrity to be given a feminist twist (see: Feminist Ryan Gosling), but there's a reason why Feminist Taylor has struck a chord. In many ways, Swift is already an ideal feminist icon: she's a self-made singer-songwriter who conquered the pop and country charts before she was out of her teens. She takes an honest, personal view of young women's problems in her songs. She is driven, career-oriented, and independent. Even Lena Dunham loves her.
And yet, when it comes to being a role model for young girls, Swift is often at odds with her own lyrics. Her songs are nearly all about men, and her albums seem to be stuck in a permanent adolescence; she's mooning over boys, or crying over boys, or trash-talking the girls who are competing for the same boys. Swift also insists in interviews that she is in no way a feminist.
Sure, writing about love is the norm in pop music, and "feminism" is a misunderstood term. (FYI, it's the concept that women and men should be treated equally, not that women are superior to men.) At the same time, we don't need Twitter accounts for Feminist Beyonce, Feminist Lady Gaga or Feminist Pink, because they already sing about strong women.
Will a parody Twitter account convince Taylor Swift to write more female-empowering songs? That's what the authors, two college students who identify themselves as Swift fans and feminists, would love to see. Whether it works or not, we're predicting lots of other feminist-celeb Twitters emerging in the coming weeks. Here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling!
Feminist Katy Perry: "California girls/ we're unforgettable/ because we can have a thoughtful conversation on a variety of topics"
Feminist Justin Bieber: "If I was your boyfriend/ Never let you go/ Unless you wanted to go somewhere/ Because I respect that you have needs outside of our relationship"
Feminist Rihanna: "I've been everywhere man/ Looking for someone/ Someone who can please me/ And never violate my boundaries"
Feminist Justin Timberlake: "You're like my mirror/ My mirror staring back at me/ Who deserves paid maternity leave"
Donna Kaufman is an iVillage contributing writer. Find her on Google+.