By Lauren Lippert
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a massive Taylor Swift fan. I first saw Swift in Wyoming when I drove from Colorado to see her Fearless tour.
I was mesmerized by the way she presented herself on stage, the way her lyrics made me feel and most importantly what she stood for.
My 8-year-old brain was mind blown with how 16-year-old Taylor Swift was able to perform such a meaningful show and mesmerize the crowd.
But, when I tell people that I’m a fan they often give me a look that says ‘really? Why?’ So it made me feel ashamed of being a die-hard fan.
However, after watching Swift receive the Billboard Women of the Decade award presented by feminist Jameela Jamil, I couldn’t be more proud to call myself a Swifty.
From standing up for her fellow female artists to fighting for equal pay to using her platform to speak about issues that matter, Swift has shown what it means to be poise, fearless, strong, graceful, and just an overall badass.
She continues to fight against and speak about the issue at hand with Scooter Braun who she has said bullied her in the past and her ex-label manager Scott Borchetta, about being able to own her old work. She is paving the way for all female artists by showing that they deserve to be equal to their fellow male artists.
During her Billboard Women of the Decade speech, she explains how the investors of her old label, as well as both Borchetta and Braun, never contacted her or her team to discuss the sales on her work.
“The definition of the toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying, ‘But he’s always been nice to me!’ when I’m raising valid concerns about artists and their right to own their music,” Swift said. “And of course he’s nice to you. If you’re in this room, you have something he needs. The fact is that private equity is what enabled man to think, according to his own social media post, that he could ‘buy me,’ but I’m obviously not going willingly.”
Not only does Swift address the issues she’s been having with her own work but she highlights the struggles of other female artists such as Lana Del Rey who have been equally criticized.
“I’ve watched as one of my favorite artists of this decade, Lana Del Rey, was ruthlessly criticized in her early career, and then slowly but surely, she turned into, in my opinion, the most influential artist in pop,” Swift said. “Her local stylings, her lyrics, her aesthetics. They’ve echoed and repurposed in every corner of music, and this year, her incredible album is nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys because she kept making her art. And that example should inspire all of us, that the only way forward is forward motion.”
During one of the most frustrating and pivotal moments of her career, Swift never let the negativity fully get to her. Instead, she praises her fellow female artists for continuing to drive females in the industry.
“Female artists have dominated this decade in growth, streaming, record and ticket sales, and critical acclaim. So why are we doing so well? Because we have to grow fast, we have to work this hard, we have to prove that we deserve this, and we have to top our last achievements,” Swift said. “Women in music, on stage, or behind the scenes are not allowed to coast. We are held at a higher, sometimes impossible-feeling standard. And it seems that my fellow female artists have taken this challenge, and they have accepted it. It seems like the pressure that could’ve crushed us made us into diamonds instead, and what didn’t kill us actually made us stronger.”
Swift also addressed her 2014 Billboard Women of the Year speech where she discussed the future of streaming and “how we needed to make sure that the female artists, writers, and producers of the next generation are protected and compensated fairly.”
She then continues discussing how in her 2014 speech she mentions how they have to pave the way for younger generations of music and that the future Women of the Year is probably sitting in a piano lesson, or in a girls’ choir.
“And this year, she has been named Women of the Year, at the age of 17,” Swift said. “Her name is Billie [Eilish].”
Her speech was everything a Women of the Decade speech should be and then some. It discussed the highs and lows of her career while also uplifting her fellow female artists. She not only talked about her experiences but was humble enough to highlight those who are also struggling.
Swift has broken barrier after barrier and continues to take criticism and turn it into something absolutely phenomenal that not only betters her career but herself and fans as well.
The media has portrayed her as a “serial dater” because of how often she would date people, Swift wrote Blank Space which easily became one of her top hits.
As cancel culture was being aimed towards Swift’s career, she created her album Reputation. Time and time again she has proven that she can take the absolute worst situations and turn it into something positive.
She creates something that anyone can relate to from heartbreak, love, anger, sadness, friendship, and so much more.
There really is a Taylor Swift song for every occasion.
If there’s one take away from this it’s that you don’t have to like Taylor Swift’s music but as a person, she fights for what she wants and what she believes in.
At the end of the day, she has achieved something far greater than anyone can imagine. She has achieved milestones that people only long for.
Last words from one of the most iconic people of our decade, Taylor Swift?
“I’ve been focusing less on doing what they say I can’t do and more on doing whatever the hell I want.”
Want to read Taylor Swift’s full Billboard Women of the Decade Speech? Click here for it!
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