Taylor Swift just had the best year and a half of her life. 1989 was a massive success; its subsequent tour was one of of the best selling in history; and she spent 2015 majorly changing the conversation about girls and friendship in Hollywood. So why can't we stop talking about her ex?
There's no use in pretending that Taylor Swift isn't a person of note. She is one of our generation's most prolific popstars. Since her break up went public, the social media response has been rotten as usual.
The hashtag: #IDumpedTaylorSwiftBecause trended on Twitter because the narrative of fans and detractors alike must always focus on her relationship status or the dimensions of her back side.
#IDumpedTaylorSwiftBecause she needed the push for a new album this year… YW,TS— M Noivad (@CogDisNoi) June 3, 2016
#IDumpedTaylorSwiftBecause I'm trying to break into songwriting and I figured being the subject of a hit song is a good start— dave lyon (@bonesnorkel) June 3, 2016
Despite her accomplishments, when we think of her, we inexplicably think of the men she has dated.
We obsess over her brief tryst with Harry Styles; a blink and you'll miss it relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal; and her alleged feud with Katy Perry is apparently all over John Mayer (can you imagine?)
The way we think about Taylor's dating history is, at best obtuse and, at worst, a symptom of our deeply internalized misogyny.
Think of Leonardo DiCaprio. He's 41, a notorious lover of women, and yet rarely regarded in the same way as Taylor Swift. The way we talk about Taylor is contemptuous and tone deaf in a way that we wouldn't think of applying to someone like Leonardo DiCaprio. Taylor is a woman at both the height of her success and confidence, who has been scrutinized for her sexuality and dating habits since she was 16.
The idea that Taylor's success is contingent upon her every failed relationship seriously undervalues her actual talent and skill as a songwriter and instrumentalist. Before 1989, Taylor was single for over a year but managed to release the best album of her life. Something that is conveniently left out when people mention her.
For whatever reason, our collective psyche cannot allow us to separate Taylor Swift the Grammy award winning artist from Taylor Swift the 26 year old woman who is entitled to date as many dudes as she wants.
Perhaps these jokes were mildly amusing during the "Teardrops On My Guitar" era, but Taylor is now a nuanced, intelligent, and shrewd young woman. Her success doesn't come off the back of a break up or from men who have managed her career. Taylor is talented and that has nothing to do with Harry Styles, John Mayer, Calvin Harris, or any other man that may come along.
Next time you go to make a joke about Taylor's love life, perhaps try and remember her numerous accomplishments in her chosen field of work.