Taylor Swift’s Best And Worst Attempts At Playing The Victim Card

Taylor Swift at the 2013 Brit Awards

If you’ve been paying attention at all to pop culture of late, you know that Taylor Swift is in kind of a weird place right now. Whether you love her, hate her, or fall somewhere in between, you can’t deny that her public image is going through somewhat of a transition, and I don’t think she’s completely figured out yet where she’s headed. Early on in her career, Taylor was rock-solid on her persona. She was this young girl writing all her own songs, a little 15-year old David against the Goliath of the music industry with its Britney Spearses and Rihannas, bravely baring her soul without caring what the world thought. She was honest and open at a time when most people were polished and professional. She was that teenager inside of all of us who’s all big dreams and awkward elbows and has absolutely no idea that she might be beautiful. It was a persona that I think worked because it reflected who she really was, and it made people root for her and want to see her succeed, particularly when people didn’t take her seriously or tried to take advantage of her. It was rewarding and refreshing when she turned the tables and made a place for herself instead of playing the victim.

But gradually, as she got older, that stuff stopped working — some of the luster rubbed off. She was still that same plucky girl, but it wasn’t as new or surprising, so her audience stopped responding the same way. And especially as she grew more popular, she wasn’t really the underdog anymore, so the ‘me against the world’ thing wasn’t as genuine. The stereotypes she was pushing up against started to get more contrived and of her own making. For the same reason that the sassy little kid gets written off the sitcom, Taylor’s antics stopped being as well received: she’s old enough to know better. The things that three year olds can get away with saying on a TV show are very different from what eight or nine year olds can get away with saying. Things that used to be precious and refreshing quickly transition to bratty when the kid is mature enough to know what he or she is saying.

In short, the ‘girl power’ wave that Taylor’s been riding since she first started getting famous is finally losing steam, and I can tell by her behavior in the media that she doesn’t completely understand why. It’s like she remembers the high of that first time the public was universally outraged on her behalf, and she’s been chasing it ever since. It felt so great to have everyone united behind her in indignation against Kanye West or Joe Jonas, and she doesn’t understand why when she puts herself in the same situations with Connor Kennedy and Harry Styles, they don’t yield the same results. It’s a giant game of Jenga where she’s pushing on the same blocks she always did, trying to release that same upwelling of human emotion, but instead she’s just gradually losing stability, and the whole structure she’s built is threatening to come tumbling down. So let’s take a walk through memory lane and examine Taylor’s best and worst attempts at playing the victim card, to see if it gives us a glimpse of what must be going on in her head.

1. The Kanye West debacle. This is the hit of victim-heroin that Taylor’s been chasing for her whole career. Do you remember that moment? Taylor was giving her speech after winning Best Female Video for ‘You Belong With Me’ when Kanye stormed the stage and interrupted to take the mic from her. Oh holy backlash. There was absolutely no question that she was the victim; even Beyonce brought her back onstage to finish her speech. Taylor was so clearly blameless that all she had to do was smile in interviews and avoid saying anything bad about Kanye and she was heralded as a little lady saint. This seriously could not have gone better for her.

2. ‘Teardrops On My Guitar’. The earliest iteration of Taylor Swift getting our sympathy! Her first really popular song was all about the guy she liked at school who never even noticed her, and wasn’t it brave of her to put his actual name in! She had the balls that we never had in middle school, and we flushed with pride to see her sending such a public ‘I like you, do you like me?’ note and inviting the guy to check yes or no. And who could ever dislike Taylor Swift? What a fool that boy was! And what a victim Taylor!

3. The Joe Jonas breakup phone call. According to what she told Ellen DeGeneres, Joe broke up with Taylor in a twenty-seven second phone call. I mean yeah, I’ll definitely get behind that, that’s super shitty. Joe apparently wasn’t willing to be seen in public with her, and with so many celebrities keeping their personal lives secret, it was really refreshing to see someone who was willing to speak up about it. So she put the song ‘Forever and Always’ on her album and we all wished that we had the songwriting skills to publicly chastise our exes the same way for their bad behavior.

4. Jake Gyllenhaal. They dated, but apparently it didn’t go super great, since it inspired the song ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’. Definitely a successful song, but started to be a little off-putting that we knew what it was about and were able to intuit details of their relationship. And that spoken word bridge? Okay, Taylor. We’re behind you, but maybe start learning your lesson with these older guys?

5. John Mayer. Okay this time you simply should’ve known not to date him. You’ve had a few experiences of your own with being taken advantage of, so maybe avoid a guy who’s not only a lot older than you, but who has a reputation for being a womanizer. But she dated him anyway and blindsided him with the breakup song ‘Dear John’ which was so obviously about him that it was uncomfortable. And not just for me. Here’s what John himself had to say about the song:

“I never got an e-mail. I never got a phone call. I was really caught off-guard, and it really humiliated me at a time when I’d already been dressed down. I mean, how would you feel if, at the lowest you’ve ever been, someone kicked you even lower?”

It’s definitely a turning point in your career when your attempt to garner public sympathy actually makes me feel sorry for John Mayer and his feelings. Pump the brakes, Swift.

6. Harry Styles. Okay so now we’re gonna date a guy younger than us, so it’s important to be especially careful that you don’t take advantage of them the same way you feel you’ve been taken advantage of. Oh, you’re not gonna worry about that? You’re gonna mock Harry at the Grammys even though you only dated for like two months? British accent and all? I don’t know if that’s the best idea, particularly since you’re bragging about OPENING THE GRAMMYS. You have no leg to stand on, sympathy wise. He’s done nothing to you except not want to be your boyfriend for reasons that should probably remain private. Be reasonable.

7. Connor Kennedy. Oh good, another high-schooler. It’s getting ever harder for Taylor to play the victim card because these guys are all younger than her, now, and she keeps buying houses near them. If you’re not learning from your mistakes, don’t expect me to keep getting on board with your ill-advised breakup songs, y’know?

8. And finally, your comments against Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Saying there’s a “special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” because of their one or two gentle jokes about you at the Golden Globes? Let me be neither the first nor the last to warn you that you are treading on very dangerous ground, Lady Swifty. These are not hateful women who were trying to cut you down; these are kind-hearted beloved women who were hosting a show and legitimately didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. They’ve both apologized, and your anger at them is as confusing as it is ill-advised. Start a beef with literally anyone else in the industry if you must — Betty White, Josh Hutcherson, a litter of puppies — but don’t go knocking on Tina and Amy’s door with your fiery indignation if you want to retain any credibility as a victim in this industry. Trust me.

When you’ve gone from tactfully maintaining your silence when Kanye interrupts your Grammy’s speech to speaking out against an offhanded joke from the most beloved award show hosts in recent memory, you have to admit that you’re losing your edge, Swift, and it’s probably time to reevaluate your image. You knew he was trouble when he walked in, right? So start acting like it.

(Image: Daniel Deme / WENN.com)

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    • Slinxie

      Love this article! I’ve been trying to pinpoint why I hate T-Swift so much and you some it up so wonderfully! Her stuff is getting old and it’s just not cute or believable anymore. I don’t hate her for dating around, but I do hate for her “poor me” music and her public image as a girl who believes in fairytales, doesn’t drink anything that doesn’t taste like sparkles and thinks it should rain marshmallows and kittens (ok, I made that last one up.)

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        I’d be fine if it rained marshmallows, but I’m a little nervous about the kitten stuff.

      • jenni

        Same here! I used to love her; thought it was real genuine that she wrote her own music, took control of her own shows, etc. But now… Eh. She just is so boring to me. Her whole facade is crumbling. She isn’t the geeky, unpopular girl anymore. She is the popular girl that we all went up against (either real or in our mind). So, she shouldn’t pretend to be that unpopular girl anymore.
        I also believe that people should write songs that reflect their age and mindset. The fact that she hasn’t matured her songs means that she is not a (emotionally) mature person (to me anyway).

    • Hillary511

      All of this is great, except in tear drops on my guitar, she put the guy’s name in it. It’s Drew. He’s just not famous so it wasn’t a big deal.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Yeah I think my phrasing might’ve been confusing, but that was part of my point, that she DID put his name in there. I said it was brave of her to put herself out there like that.

      • Daisy

        It’s funny that Teardrops comes across as brave while her newer songs come across as childish. I know it’s because she is older now, and should know better, but on the other hand… When celebrities become celebrities, they know their private lives will be put on display to some extent. Taylor tells us nothing we don’t already know from the tabloids. Drew was just a regular, clueless 16-year-old kid who will spend the rest of his life living this down. I feel a lot sorrier for Drew than John Mayer.

    • buck_bm

      Interesting. “They both apologized” so TS anger is confusing. Never heard of an apology until after TS expressed her anger.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        I just think it’s an odd thing to be angry about.

    • greg2318

      just just needs a full night of hot nasty sex.. bent over the sofa and panties torn off is a good start..

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Well that’s….not something I wanted to read today.

      • greg2318

        sorry .. i had my account open and someone thought it was funny to put that.. thanks.. i fixed it.

    • Daisy

      I love this article! It is a very thoughtful analysis, and perfectly articulates my own confused feelings about Taylor! It’s easy to mock her; it’s harder to take a balanced look at where it all went wrong, and you’ve succeeded beautifully.

    • zach59

      Amy and Tina WERE sexist. Sorry. Swift was getting enormous negative sexist press at the time Of the Golden Globes. Why? Because she’s dated two guys younger than her, she was 22, Conor and Harry 18. Conor from a famous political family, Styles a member of the world famous One Directions. Harry also liked older women, had a famous affair with a 32year old women. Hardly your average 18 year old guys.

      A girl getting intense negative media coverage for Dating two younger guys–the only guys shed dated since 2010? Obviously sexist . At the Golden Globes, two GOOD feminists had two choices. Keep their mouths shut. Or make jokes in support of Swift. “George Clooney dates women 29years younger, trades them in for new models every sox months–and he’s called a lady’s man!”
      Instead Tina and Amy did a very un-feminist thing. They bitch-slapped Fey. They made jokes that made it seem Swift was out of control boy crazy, promiscuous, needed time to think about the errors of her ways.
      Tina and Amy DID act sexist! If Justin Beiber dated younger women, the press–and Amy and Tina wouldn’t say a word. So sexist! Double Standard!!

      • sleepysone1995

        That’s why it is called a joke? Grow a sense of humor

      • zach59

        I do have a sense of humor. That’s why I can tell the difference between a joke and clueless mean girl digs. They should’ve kept their mouths shut, make jokes about all the big Hollywood names in the room like Ricky Gervais would’ve.

      • sleepysone1995

        There is something called growing thick skin…everyone has to do that in the real world -.-

      • zach59

        You might advise that to Tina Fey, who told a photographer to F–k off the other day. As far as Swift? I can’t remember her ever publicly responding to negative criticism or press before–much less they way Tina did! Perhaps Tina has to be criticized more often. Grow a thicker skin….

      • sleepysone1995

        Erm taureans don’t give a crap about some opinions like this bitch, you can either go cry in your baby play pen or just face it,we tell the truth, you don’t like it…go fuck yourself

      • zach59

        Haaa!! Your true level of intelligence at last is revealed!! Your “grow a thick skin” was getting pretty repetitive and boring– as if you couldn’t come up with anything else to say. And obviously you can’t! But who is “we” who tell the truth? Thin skinned Tina? Who needs to be criticized more often?
        Swift’s Albright showed a higher level of evolved intelligencer ham Fey’s, and obviously, yours. Give it up.

      • sleepysone1995

        Because we don’t worship this whore,we are thin skinned?all I can say is Tina would not give a shit about some whiney baby who gets offended over a joke.I have more EQ than this bitch over here..we are not the type of bimbos to show off our boyfriends and have our relationships in the public eye…that’s asking for it already

      • zach59

        Ah, I see, you’re petulant teenagers, co-writing comments. But of course you’re thin skinned, or else you wouldn’t be breaking down into using the language you’re using. And Fey is obviously thin skinned, or else she wouldn’t use that language to a photographer! Or is it ok for Fey to show that kind of rudeness because she’s so cute and special? Maybe it’s time she gets criticized a little more often, see what it feels like. She’s old enough to be Swift’s mother, she should be able to take a little criticism.
        Okay, I’m signing off. No time for the foul language high school crowd.

      • sleepysone1995

        Oh well,look at you,Mr I want a perfect world,there is sarcasm in her comment,it is just miss I need a boyfriend everytime does not get it

    • Prisicila

      Despite having the same feelings at first, I don’t agree with this article on a few points. Now reading this “article” I felt the same way but after reading it, I don’t think I feel the same way anymore. Thank you for directing me to the complete opposition of why I dislike Taylor Swift and seeing that there really is “a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Happy post International Women’s Day!

      Now that being said, as I look up to the article, I also notice that all the related posts are about women’s hatred toward Taylor Swift and the fact that they’re making revenue off her terrible public romances. Like serious, everyone’s different and what constitutes someone a public figure doesn’t necessarily mean being mocked, attacked and ruined based on awful relationships. That is our choice as a society. She’s – what – 23 years old? It’s called dating for a reason and I feel now that all this “negative media attention” is only being promoted and progressed by people like you, who write these articles, and push more of these “Taylor Swift” celebrities to lash out/act out in public places based on their need to never be forgotten. Forget celebrity news and go on to write real articles about real world issues. I’m not supporting this overall anymore. It sounds like complete bogus mess on someone’s hatred for a celebrity.

      • sleepysone1995

        Sorry… I call it seasonal dating or serial dating (dating is when you can stay with a guy for more than 2 months FYI)not go through them like clothes

    • zach59

      Taylor Swift makes money for a story like this, each time someone clicks on a Taylor Swift article, it’s money in their pockets.
      Instead of helping Taylor,Tina and Amy’s bitch slapping added fuel to the fire of what has become nonstop sexist lies that have seriously hurt Taylor’s reputation and career. Stories like Taylor had 13 exes and people believe she slept with all of them! People who know nothing about her music say she’s famous just because she writes breakup songs about famous exes!
      Even this article repeats lies about Taylor. She has NOT bought homes near boyfriends!
      Rory Kennedy suggested Taylor buy a house in Hyannis Port because she could flip it. Taylor’s management company bought it and made $1 million. Conor doesn’t even live in Hyannis Port! John Mayer? She said it was foolish that he thought the song was about him.He admits he was a jerk with his old girlfriends. If he thinks the song is about him, he must feel guilty.
      Harry Styles’ last girlfriend was 32. Would you tell Justin Bieber he should be “especially careful” with a girlfriend with that history?
      People, read the Vanity Fair article if you want a mature appraisal of Swift’s life right now.. You won’t find it in crappy internet articles like this..

      • sleepysone1995

        Amy and Tina gave Taylor a reality check,a real big one.if she does not like reality,she can forever live in her middle school brain

      • zach59

        A reality check? Really? I think Taylor gave Tina and Amy a reality check. They’re not the great feminists they’d like everyone too think they are.

      • sleepysone1995

        Oh…please don’t forget Hollywood is not kindergarten ,Taylor…either grow thick skin or otherwise…don’t try to find guys who are famous

    • sleepysone1995

      I have seen girls like her who start dating at 15 and by the time they are 18..they already have like 3-4 exes because they want the fairy-tale relationship they see in the movies and those love songs like call me maybe make them believe it will happen when it never EVER happens

    • http://dontsufferin-silence.webs.com/ Cara

      Isn’t that all she does though?! Dates a new guy every week, sings a song about her heartbreak for sympathy and the cycle begins again?! She should really try some new tricks…

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    • Pbl Piper

      I cannot for the life of me figure out why Taylor Swift is so popular.Her voice is nothing special and her songs are dumb and kindergartenish. Putting her on a pedestal diminishes really talented singers like Whitney Houston,Jackie Evancho,Adele,Lady Antebellum,etc.

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    • Shannon

      What I want to know is why does everyone hate Anne Hathaway yet most stil basically fucking worship Taylo Swift! She always plays victim and acts innocent her persona is so fake. Yet people say the same thing about Anne having a fake persona. Open your eyes, come to realization please! Taylor Swift is fake, and don’t try to justify her by saying “…Oh well, at least she’s not as fake as most celebrites or singers or even actors” STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR THIS DAMN GIRL. I am getting sick of them and way to go Lorde! I hate when people say you are mean you are just telling it how it is! Which is amazingly awesome.

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