On Taylor Swift & Women's Lives as Lore
Love this!! I would definitely qualify as a diehard swifty, and I love seeing people get that aha moment about all the depth within her music career. Tay-Lore if you will.
I am generally indifferent to Taylor Swift but what you shared here is similar to conversations my wife and I have about Beyoncé. There is the person, who we never really know no matter the depth and strength of the parasocial realtionship we think we have because it's still parasocial, and there is the performed mythologized character they play but with great intention which is not separate from their personhood but is cultivated in a way that just Being a Person is not.
I have had the same fight with my son -- he can not enjoy Taylor's music but he can't claim that she isn't deeply, deeply talented at what she does. I feel hopeful that this tour (combined with the last few albums) will FINALLY get people to stop acting like it is weird for adults to be Taylor Swift fans. She makes music for adults. She is in her 30s. Why are people still acting like her music is "teenage girl music" (because sexism probably)?
I remember touring the Gibson factory in the mid-aughts and the guide saying that Taylor Swift kept guitar stores in business. As boys quit wanting to be the next Kurt Cobain, they were selling way more guitars to girls wanting to be the next Taylor Swift.
omg yess i love taylor and this essay :) there’s a brazilian artist on instagram (@alefvernonart) who makes almost strictly taylor swift fanart that kind of represent this fantasy/ lore very well, with fictional fantasy maps of her albums and songs, swords with different unique designs for each era, reimagining her outfits for a medieval era or with a witchy/fairy vibe
THANK YOU for this, you explain the genres of Taylor* and Taylor* as a sort of genre herself made up of genres that she has written into being (as fiction/auto fiction/confessional poetry/none of these things but also all three) so brilliantly. I love too how you describe the immense power of witnessing those genres at play onstage...it’s exactly how I felt watching her a few weeks ago. Mesmerizing.
I am new to taking her seriously, am definitely not a Swftie, but definitely an admirer er, though I haven’t been able to put my finger on what exactly is obsessing me about her and her story. This essay is exactly it. Thank you.
I am persuaded that Taylor generates her own meta-story. And she is fabulous. Saw her in the rain last Saturday--she wasn’t slowed down one bit by a torrential downpour--put that in the lore.
Absolutely brilliant post. I'm also not a Swiftie but I do appreciate her scope and talent.
I'm not necessarily a Taylor Swift mega fan, although I have heard her music on the radio. But I loved reading your analysis of her ability to create her own universe. I didn't know it before your analysis, but I definitely wish I had her skill in that arena.
Hey Carmen! Just wanted to say I appreciated the way you made room for being a fan, and critical distance all while offering a commitment across difference. It's a wonderful essay in the need for nuance, the rigor of deep ambivalence.
My daughter is a die hard Swiftie and she got me on the bandwagon. My other daughter right now is up in arms about her dating choices and it has become a vicious sibling battle. Say what you will, Taylor inspires big feelings in people. And - I think she is a legend, because of how she has taken the good, bad and ugly of her life and transformed it not just into art, but into one of the most powerful careers of our time.
I love love love this! I wouldn't call myself a die-hard Swiftie either, but much like you, I have found so many reasons to adore her mastery of the craft and her creations. (In fact, I'm taking a "Taylor Swift as Craft" class!). I grew up with her as she evolved and endured heartbreaks in tandem. Finding myself in tandem (22 was my jam!). Anyway, I love reading pieces like this that remind me that other people find her and her work to be relevant and important to talk about.
This is so fun to ponder! Thanks for sharing