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A Letter to Taylor Swift Concerning Intersectional Feminism

Taylor,

I won’t lie, I personally don’t like your music. I’ve never personally enjoyed it. And I don’t agree with some of the stuff you do. But that’s fine. I believe you’re doing something right and that you deserve your success. You’re incredibly hard working. And I confess, I did rock out to Blank Space occasionally. When I found out you finally considered yourself a feminist I was ecstatic. Finally, you could really use your fame to influence young girls and teach them so many important things. When you changed your music, I was into the sound it was taking. You really were about to get me on your side.

Then you had to butt into Nicki’s rant. A rant, might I remind you, that was not directed at you. Really, Nicki’s tweet was directed at the music industry as a whole, and Nicki’s frustration is completely valid. She has every right to be upset with an industry that is fine with objectifying her, without rewarding her for her hard work and talent. They won’t reward her for being provocative and breaking records as they do her white counterparts. Instead of listening, you made this about you.

Rather than acknowledge the valid points Nicki Minaj made, you turned her rant into a fight. You turned it into a fight and stooped so low to bring your self-proclaimed feminism into it, white feminism. Taylor, there are many problems with what you did, but here are two of them:

1. Feminism does not pit women against women, or men against women. We unite to fight against the oppressive standards of patriarchy. Although a majority of this issues concern gender and sex, many, many of these issues also include racial issues. You tried to use your feminism-your white and exclusive feminism-to blame men instead of observing the underlying racial issues. Feminism is not about men against women.

2. You are white. You benefit from being white. In no way do I blame you for this Taylor. As white individuals, we don’t even notice our privilege half the time. But you cannot understand how Nicki feels or intersectionality as it is. Yes, you can empathize, but you will never fully understand how frustrated she feels. And then to tell her she could join you onstage if she won? Really?

Yes, you did realize that you were wrong and I applaud you for that. But you’re not getting off that easy. You can’t just apologize and gloss over the underlying issues that you are choosing to ignore. If you are truly sorry for stepping out of line, you should then educate yourself on intersectional feminism and understand what you can do to help eradicate sexism and racism in the music industry. You need to investigate how you can use your privilege to make things better for everyone. If you do nothing and continue to let these issues grow, are you really sorry, Taylor?

I know I come off harsh here. But so many people are defending you. So many people are allowing you to get away with this. But I believe in you, Taylor. I really believe in you and your influence and I believe you can learn. I believe that you really can become an intersectional feminist and use your fame for good. I believe in you. Please, don’t let me down.

Sincerely,

A Critical Almost Fan

[Image Via]

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Written by Katherine Rendon

Katherine Rendon is a second year student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, pursuing a degree in English and Environmental Studies. When not arguing with people at parties over the importance of feminism and/ or veganism, she can be found reading, binge watching Netflix, at a concert, or tweeting long rants. She doesn't go anywhere without a reusable water bottle and firmly believes that selfies are important.

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