Babes, it's happened. Yours truly is writing about pop culture, on a Monday.
Those of you who know me know it's a rare event when I comment on anything that happens in Celeb Land, especially when it revolves around the Kardashian Kulture (OK, I was pretty fascinated by Caitlyn Jenner's transition and I love when Kylie Jenner goths out on her Instagram, but honestly, that's it).
No hate, I just find the whole "staring vacantly into a camera lens as I discuss my sisterly feuds in a baby voice" act pretty tiring. Something about the lack of expressiveness in the Kardashian girls' voices just lulls me to sleep.
I'm not saying it's bad and I'm not saying it's good -- I just personally find it all boring, compared to the glittering, oh-so-alive, gay culture that's spoiled me with its effervescent fierceness and razor sharp wit. See kittens, it's a BLESSING to be queer; our lives are just more colorful than everybody else.
However, there are few things that enrage me more than the masses calling a woman "manipulative" or "dramatic" for simply having a human reaction to a wildly offensive comment. So here I am, venturing into unchartered territory. I'm here to defend Taylor Swift in the Kim Kardashian/Kanye West feud that is breaking the internet as I type.
But it's deeper than Taylor Swift. I'm pressed to write this article, because I'm sick and tired of gorgeously outspoken women around the world constantly being ridiculed for vocalizing their feelings, thoughts and opinions. When a woman expresses her thoughts, feelings and opinions that are different from a man's (especially a man with loads of money), they're publicly shamed for it. Donald Trump is a perfect example of this.
But it doesn't just happen in politics; it happens in pop culture, too.
For those of you who are too busy reading actual books or too busy paying attention to the real, frightening problems plaguing this increasingly violent world, let me break it down for you. Kim Kardashian released a Snapchat video of a phone call between Kanye West and Taylor Swift where Swift vocally "approves" of the lyric, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex" for his song "Famous."
In the conversation Swift tells Kanye that she appreciates "you telling me about it, that's really nice.” Kanye says some garble about "relationships" being more important than "punchlines" and the two end on good terms, despite his notorious public humiliation of her on live television in 2009.
However, when the song "Famous" was released, the actual lyric was different.
I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex Why? I made that bitch famous.
Yeah you left out the bitch part, didn't you Kanye? Probably thought Taylor Swift wouldn't notice or care. But hey, smart women "notice" when they're being slandered, hate to break it to you.
Taylor's reps put out a statement saying, “Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, "I made that bitch famous."” And now Taylor is being called "manipulative" and a "liar" and "melodramatic" by the entire internet. Because you know Kim HAS PROOF THAT SHE APPROVED THE LYRIC AND LET'S TAKE HER DOWN BY AIRING IT ON SNAPCHAT.
What Team Kimye is neglecting to recognize is adding the word "bitch" changes everything. And our girl Swift immediately took to her Instagram to stick up for herself:
For those of you with poor vision like me, this is her extremely prolific response,
Where is the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me "that bitch" in his song? It doesn't exist because it never happened. You don't get to control someone's emotional response to being called "that bitch" in front of the entire world. Of course I wanted to like the song. I wanted to believe Kanye when he told me that I would love the song. I wanted us to have a friendly relationship. He promised to play the song for me, but he never did. While I wanted to be supportive of Kanye on the phone call, you cannot 'approve' a song you haven't heard. Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination. I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009.
Swift is one hundred percent right and my jaw is hanging on the ground in utter shock that people are largely on Team Kimye over this. Adding the word "bitch" changes the tone of the lyric she "approved of" entirely. When a 39-year-old man who has a history of publicly demeaning 26-year-old Taylor refers to her as "that bitch," especially in a sexual context, not only is it humiliating, it's unacceptable.
Being called a "bitch" is objectifying. She didn't consent to being called that word and I think most women would be offended by being called a "bitch." If a male co-worker took credit for my career and then proceeded to call me a bitch in front of the entire staff, I would be hurt and enraged. Just because Kanye West is a world-famous rapper with tons of money doesn't mean that rules don't apply to him. And just because Swift has the strength to stick up for herself doesn't make her a "drama queen."
In fact, I think Swift's outspoken nature makes her a badass role model to her fans, most of whom are young, impressionable girls. She's letting her girls know that, you know what? It's not OK to be called demeaning names by men. And no matter how big of a bully the guy calling you those names is and regardless of how popular his wife is (or how many followers she has), you have the right to stick up for yourself. She's letting us know our voices matter, regardless of where we fall on the social totem pole.
When I was an impressionable young girl in middle school, I was constantly called a "slut" and a "bitch" by popular boys at school. I never spoke up because I was terrified of being socially outcast and all those years of staying silent manifested in deep insecurities that took me a long time (and lots of therapy) to shake. For years I felt that I didn't have a voice and that the boys were in charge -- free to shame us girls as they please.
I didn't have a celebrity role model showing me that I didn't have to tolerate it, and I wish I had. You can never underestimate the cultural power celebrities have over their young fans. After half a decade working closely with teenagers, I can safely guarantee that Swift's fans look to her for social guidance way over their teachers and parents.
And for Kim Kardashian to sweep in and try to make Swift look stupid by airing a private conversation between her husband and Swift via SNAPCHAT (how old are we?) only makes Kim look, uh, well, not so smart in my eyes. Clearly the point went totally over her very well-coiffed, expensive head.
The best point Swift made was when she said "You don't get to control someone's emotional response to being called "that bitch" in front of the entire world." Girls, that's it in a nutshell.
Regardless of what conversation Swift had with Kanye, her emotional reaction was hers and no one can tell you your feelings aren't valid just because they don't like them. Your emotions aren't as simple as "right" or "wrong." They're yours and yours alone. So sorry, society, you don't get to control the way we feel no matter how hard you try.
But you know what? At the end of the day, Swift is a class act and role model for speaking up against bullying. Swift is also a young woman who is famous for her original music and her prolific lyrics she created herself. She wasn't born with a silver spoon, she worked hard to get where she is. She isn't famous for the incessant drama of her personal life or her plastic surgeries, she's famous because she's talented and bright.
Looks fade. Gossip is only as interesting as the next nasty quip from the next socialite of the moment. Fame built on the foundation of talent is the kind of fame that's sustainable in the long run. And Swift has built an empire based on something real. And what's real always wins in the end.