Vanity Fair and the Swift Sisterhood
The interview with Vanity Fair happened in London a few weeks ago, well before Nicki Minaj gave her some real talk on Twitter. At the time, if you recall, she was girl squading all over her stage. Serena Williams was there. Cara Delevingne and the model crew were there. At the time, Taylor was untouchable. She’d just faced down Apple. And you can hear it in this interview, her words, imbued with self-righteous purpose – about the value of the creative class and about this Sisterhood that she’s built around her, and her claim of being for women, by women, all women, with the men to the left to the left:
“We even have girls in our group who have dated the same people. It’s almost like the sisterhood has such a higher place on the list of priorities for us. It’s so much more important than some guy that it didn’t work out with. When you’ve got this group of girls who need each other as much as we need each other, in this climate, when it’s so hard for women to be understood and portrayed the right way in the media… now more than ever we need to be good and kind to each other and not judge each other—and just because you have the same taste in men, we don’t hold that against each other.”
In theory it’s the right attitude. In spirit it’s the right thing to say. But in practice? Well in practice we saw Taylor take it personally over Twitter with Nicki Minaj, and instead of keeping the perceived conflict a private affair, she went for Nicki openly… and got smacked down. If you’re the captain of the Girl Power Squad, and you want to respect the “girl code”, you call Nicki up after the first tweet to discuss the situation straight up, without an audience. When you bring an audience into it, “the media” is going to portray it the way they were WATCHING it. And, well, the media was only watching what was provided – by Taylor herself.
Being good and kind to each other means, first of all, giving someone the benefit of the doubt, and second of all, not airing your sh-t out on social media 140 characters at a time to incite a war between fandoms.
Speaking of wars…
Here’s what she had to say about ending hers with Kanye West:
“I feel like I wasn’t ready to be friends with [West] until I felt like he had some sort of respect for me, and he wasn’t ready to be friends with me until he had some sort of respect for me—so it was the same issue, and we both reached the same place at the same time. I became friends with Jay Z, and I think it was important, for Jay Z, for Kanye and I to get along. . . . And then Kanye and I both reached a place where he would say really nice things about my music and what I’ve accomplished, and I could ask him how his kid’s doing.”
If you hate Taylor, your reaction to that quote, making the respect all about her, might be to be like pffft… it’s always about her. In the five or six years since all that went down at the MTV VMAs, has your perspective changed about the incident? Put it this way: you KNOW Single Ladies. Do you even remember what video Taylor won for?
Kanye had a point. He chose the wrong time to make his point. I’m not sure Taylor’s taken the time to understand what his point was. This is also why she missed the point initially when Nicki took her down a couple of weeks ago. And that, right there, has everything to do with privilege. So, if the interview with Vanity Fair happened today, instead of several weeks ago, when she felt infallible, what’s the perspective that she’s gained? She talks about writing her letter to Apple at 4am, crusading for artists’ rights. The next time she writes a letter at 4am, will it be about solidarity for ALL women, which is the lesson that Nicki was trying to introduce her to? Well, it helps if you’re an observer. It helps all artists to be observers. To primarily be observers. What’s interesting about fame is that it narrows your ability to observe. Because you’re too busy BEING observed. Note what Taylor says here about museums:
“Usually when I go to a museum… I kind of become an exhibit.”
That’s the change, right there. To be constantly aware of being watched, instead of watching yourself.
Click here to read the full interview at Vanity Fair and to see more photos.