The Sparkled Box
By: Emma Callahan
When I was a little girl, I used to idolize Miley Cyrus, and I remember the day I stopped. My mother told me she had gone “wild”, as the news reported on her “indiscretions”. Looking back on it today, I wonder why I was so harsh on her. It was as if I put her in a box; I trapped her with sparkles and glitter and expected her to stay there. At the young age of seven, I fell victim to the hatred I saw on the screen. I became the demonizer, trying as hard as I could to seal her box.
Our reflex as a deeply patriarchal society is to see a woman in the spotlight and tear her down. Once we see their wings grow too long, it feels like we have this obligation to clip them off. Taylor Swift, who has been in the music industry for over 18 years, has recently escaped this demonization. Swift is currently being praised globally for her talents, which have been re-introduced due to her efforts to own her own music. Many see the support Swift has received as a shift from the traditionally critical media to one more inclined to support women.
Although this theory is one that we all want to be true, I don’t believe it to be the most accurate. While some people's motives behind their support for Swift may be honorable, it can be theorized that many are not. In other words, many people stand by Taylor Swift because it is the “cool” thing to do and because it has become a trend. This is the problem with the media today. Nowadays, we build women up just to tear them down. If we, as a society, truly empowered women, we would do it even when it wasn’t trendy, regardless of whether they fit in the sparkled box. Thus, ask yourself: Why do you support Taylor Swift? Why do you support any girl, for that matter? And what would it take for you to support the girls who stood alone?
“They’re saying I’m dating too much in my 20s? Okay, I’ll stop, I’ll just be single. For years. Now they’re saying my album Red is filled with too many breakup songs? Okay, okay, I’ll make one about moving to New York and deciding that really my life is more fun with just my friends. Oh, they’re saying my music is changing too much for me to stay in country music? All right. Okay, here’s an entire genre shift and a pop album called 1989” (Taylor Swift 2019).