When I think of Taylor Swift, I think of talent, and unashamedly so. Say what you want about her music, she is a talented musician and singer/songwriter. Fans couldn’t vote on the seven Grammy’s she’s won.
Ask another fan and they might comment on her beauty, or her endearing fondness for the color red and the number thirteen. Maybe they think immediately to how relatable she is. Or they might love how much she loves her Scottish fold, Meredith.
But the general public usually thinks of her as a “slut,” a quality she’s been branded with time and time again in the media. As a fan, this is beyond irritating. As a woman, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to properly express my anger.
Taylor’s dating history, while not at all “excessive” (and if it was, why should it matter?) has consistently been the insult to her career. It’s not been her voice or quality of her music under constant scrutiny, but whom she’s been linked to the past several years.
And so, the great people at Abercrombie & Fitch have taken it just that one step further (as if they can afford to dig themselves an even deeper hole). In a weak attempt to keep up with their [thin] target audience, the American brand released a shirt that reads in silver print “# more boyfriends than t.s.” above it’s trademark moose. It doesn’t take a Mensa member to derive just who “t.s.” is.
I’m going to stop being a fan now, and say that as a woman, I’m disgusted.
It’s truly deplorable that a woman’s right to choose to date or sleep with whomever she wants can be labeled as a joke and then used as an insult. This isn’t a badge of pride; it’s a negative stamp. It’s meant to shame her and any girl who’s ever “slept around” or had “too many boyfriends.” And yet, A&F is marketing it as another one of their cute monikers, which totally haven’t gotten their asses burnt in the past.
It’s glamorized that Mike Sorrentino and Paul DelVecchio, commonly known as Jersey Shore’s The Situation and Pauly D, can both sleep with a different woman every night on TV. But when Deena, their female former roommate, has sex with two guys in a week on the show, she is scrutinized for slutty behavior. This is the world we live in. This is what our little sisters and cousins are growing up to know as normal.
We as a people can forget about how many public relationships Johnny Depp has had (six, if you really care), but we hold Taylor, a woman, to a higher, double standard. Bob Marley’s career was all about the incredible music he made, but not about the 9 or so women who have children by him, a few of whom were born months apart. Taylor dates 2 boys in 2009, writes songs about it, and she’s a charlatan and a whore.
People are now so quick to proverbially burn a famous woman at the stake for exercising her sexuality or for being sexually active and not monogamous. To name a few, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and probably most notably, Kim Kardashian have all been attacked in the media for active love lives.
In all honesty, if Taylor couldn’t play guitar and piano and have a real knack for songwriting, she’d be an average 23 year old. I sorely doubt anyone would care, or even notice, the droves (five) of boys she’s had actual, confirmed relationships with. But she writes pop music (kill the witch!) and walks red carpets, and therefore should be what society wants her to be.
Except that all she owes this world is her music, and even that is a gift.
This t-shirt was not just a business flop from a company with an already poor marketing team. It’s another point for the patriarchy, and another sickening reminder that we live in a world that believes that a woman owes it her sexual chastity, and must be humiliated for her dissent, and in the form of an overpriced t-shirt, no less.
As a fan and a woman, I say keep doing your thing, Tay-Tay. I can only hope that all the sex this world shames you for having was good.