Demi’s Social Media Playbook

October 5, 2016 17:22:27 Posted at October 5, 2016 17:22:27
Maria Posted by Maria

Demi Lovato’s new interview with Glamour is making headlines because: Taylor Swift. The popular headline is that Demi “slammed” or “shaded” Taylor, which… I’ll let you read the quotes for yourself.

GLAMOUR: And you’ve said before, in regard to Taylor Swift, “Don’t brand yourself a feminist if you don’t do the work.” How do you see yourself doing the work?
Demi: Just speaking out. I’m not afraid to talk about the fact that women get paid less than men in the United States and how unfair that is.Talking about it at all is doing the work. And I think every woman does her part in some way. But I think in certain situations, certain people could be doing more if they’re going to claim that as part of their brand. To be honest, and this will probably get me in trouble, I don’t see anybody in any sort of squad that has a normal body. It’s kind of this false image of what people should look like. And what they should be like, and it’s not real.

So the interviewer brings up Taylor Swift, and Demi leans in. She talks not only about feminism as a branding tool, but also, unprompted, brings up the Squad.

GLAMOUR: Well, there are many kinds of “normal” bodies. I think what you’re getting at is there’s just one type of body in that squad.
Demi: It’s not realistic. And I think that having a song and a video about tearing Katy Perry down, that’s not women’s empowerment. We all do things that aren’t, but I have to ask myself, Am I content with calling myself a feminist? Yes, because I speak out.

What Demi is saying isn’t that controversial, and it is a point that has been brought up numerous times. Even a casual gossip follower knows that Taylor uses feminism as part of her brand. And the Squad… well, anyone with eyes can see that Taylor likes his friends like Leonardo DiCaprio likes his girlfriends – young, thin and with Angel wings.

And no one asked about Katy Perry. She wanted to bring up Bad Blood. Demi came into this interview ready to play.

Still, nothing she says about Taylor is groundbreaking, and other parts of the interview, like circumstances that trigger her (like going to club and seeing coke remnants in a nightclub bathroom), are much more interesting but lost to the “Taylor Swift” headline.

Those headlines clearly affected her, because she hit Twitter hard. Demi has quit Twitter before (it never lasts long) but this time, she went through the celeb process (defense/denial/shaming/quitting) in 4 tweets.

First, she plays defense.

Yes, she was asked and her interview is candid. But she was also given an out. Right here.

GLAMOUR: Well, there are many kinds of “normal” bodies. I think what you’re getting at is there’s just one type of body in that squad.

That is the interviewer giving Demi a minute to backpedal, a chance to slide in with some body positivity. But she didn’t. She doubles down and calls them “not realistic.”

Then, it’s the old “taken out of context” play. It’s hard to see how this was taken out of context, it’s a Q&A. 

From there, she launches into a celebrity favourite that has gotten even more popular lately: Don’t you have better things to worry about?


Demi loves the “you should be worrying about better sh-t” argument, she has used it before. But here’s the thing: she also says in the interview that she wants to use her platform to talk about important issues (which she does). So she doesn’t want anyone to care about what she says, but she wants to have her voice heard.

Right—when you’re an artist, you have a platform that can reach millions. I feel it’s selfish when you don’t use your voice, because then you’re just relishing the attention—you’re not using it for good. I have felt uncomfortable having people say, “You’re my idol,” because I want them to idolize God. I want them to idolize somebody that’s done a lot. So I think it’s important that artists use their voices for so much more than just their talent.

Sooooo should we care or not care? Selectively care? Cut and paste out parts of an interview that are considered important or not important based on what Demi decides after the fact? If you don’t want to talk about unimportant sh-t (which, to her, is Taylor Swift) then don’t. The interviewer didn’t push. The interviewer gave her an out. Demi is seasoned, she could see that. She went in.

The Squad comment is being framed as body shaming, but to me the shadiest comment is “I think it’s important that artists use their voices for so much more than just their talent.” That’s a knock. That’s implying that artists who don’t use their voice are selfish and vapid. I think many of Taylor’s fans would argue otherwise. She is known for being extremely charitable, she donated $250k to keep Kesha afloat, she called out Apple for free streaming, she’s taken her music off Spotify – there’s been a few things that Taylor would say she’s used her voice for. These things are important to Taylor, but they may not be that important to Demi. Does that make them any less valid?

As I said, most of the headlines about this interview center around Taylor, and maybe that’s what burns Demi. I get that. She was quite candid and open about her breakup with Wilmer, evolving as an artist, her struggles with mental health and addiction, and still it’s all Squad Squad Squad. It has to sting when you lay it all out and all people take away is “Demi Shades Taylor Swift!”

So Demi wants to take her toys and go home.

I like to call this the Bieber Tantrum. This is the millennial equivalent of storming out of a dinner party. I don’t like what is going on, so I’m going home. Justin (pretended) to leave because his fans weren’t being nice. Demi says she’s taking 2017 off because of the music business and the media. She also told a fan she would rather be doing charity work. Noble. Great. Bye.

How long do you think she’ll stay away? I say 3 days, tops. (Lainey: I’ll go with a month.)

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