Swift’s ‘dangerous’ message for her fans

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DOES Taylor Swift know that it is, in fact, possible to shake things off?

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Taylor Swift debuts the new video for Look What You Made Me Do from the Reputation album at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. Picture: Taylor Swift/Vevo

DOES Taylor Swift know that it is, in fact, possible to shake things off?

Because if she does, you wouldn’t know it from her latest song

Look What You Made Me Do

, in which she rehashes her old quarrels with Katy Perry, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris.

Dressed as a vengeful zombie in the accompanying video, Taylor Swift wails at her enemies “look what you made me do.” What they seem to have made her to do is write a very mediocre song.

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Taylor Swift as a zombie for LWYMMD. Picture: Vevo Source: Supplied

Much of Taylor Swift’s career consists of singing angry songs about the men and women who have, at least in her mind, wronged her.

Bad Blood

is reportedly about her fight with former friend Katy Perry who supposedly hired some of Swift’s backup dancers away from her. (And, if you judge from the accompanying music video featuring Lena Dunham, Gigi Hadid, Jessica Alba, Selena Gomez and more, it’s intended to convey that Swift has more friends on her side).

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Swift with squad members Zendaya and Gigi Hadid. Picture: Vevo Source: Supplied


We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

, Swift whines about an ex (likely Jake Gyllenhaal, who reportedly broke up with her by text) listening to “some indie record that’s much cooler than mine.”

Now, if

Look What You Made Me Do

is to be believed, Taylor is still miffed at Kardashian for publicly offering up proof that the singer had given Kanye permission to mention her in his song,


(Swift has vehemently insisted that she never did so.)

In short, Swift has an awful lot of fights with an awful lot of people. And she offers only one way to deal with a falling out: Smear the other person. Blame them for everything that went wrong. Burn a bridge. Torch the relationship. The only path is scorched earth.

Swift’s audience is made up of a diverse group of people, but it still tends to be heavily composed of young women.

According to Quantcast statistics from 2013, they’re likely to be university students 18 to 24 in age. That is a time when dating and mating and separating is as regular as getting a morning coffee. It is a turbulent, impressionable, painful period when facing conflict and knowing how to deal with it can cause great stress and confusion.

Accordingly, it would be nice to see Swift send out a healthier message to her fans. Instead, her new song endorses the idea that if you’re wronged, you should dwell on it for a very long time. You should come back far later — rising up from the dead if you have to! — shouting about how you have been doublecrossed.

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Swift’s new song takes aim at everyone that’s wronged her. Picture: Vevo Source: Supplied

But you really don’t have to. You can forgive people and move on. Being the bigger person has its own satisfactory quality, and it might be an interesting one to explore in a song.

Swift could learn something from 2017’s breakthrough pop star, Alessia Cara, who sings in her hit

Scars to Your Beautiful

how “you should know you’re beautiful just the way you are.”

Or even Miley Cyrus, who — unlike Swift — accepts that people and situations change.

“No one stays the same/you know what goes up must come down/change is a thing you can count on,” goes her new single,

Younger Now.

Swift has the potential to empower young women today. She proved as much in

her recent trial with DJ David Mueller


During that trial — in which she contended that Mueller groped her while photographers snapped them together at a meet-and-greet event — she asked for $US1 and said she went to court to “serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts,” according to legal documents. She won her case in a brave and dignified matter. The message that people should not grab you without your consent will resonate with thousands of young women.

But her beef with Kim and Kanye? It’s just petty.

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Taylor, Kanye and Kim in happier times in February, 2015. Picture: Larry Busacca Source: Getty Images

It’s clear that Swift is a strong woman. And yet, with her latest song, she is portraying herself as a high-school mean girl.

In 2017, a year when everyone seems to be openly yelling at everyone they dislike, it would be refreshing to see an influencer with a huge following (102 million on Instagram) not revel in spite.

The very title

Look What You Made Me Do

seems to imply that Swift was driven to hateful acts by malicious forces. That she is being bad because she is being forced to be bad, by the media or perhaps by Kim or Kanye or by whatever else is bothering her.

For someone with as many advantages and privileges as Swift, this is not a brave clap back to the haters. It seems like whining. She has a very successful career. She is beloved by millions. No one can make her do anything. But if she allowed her music to have a social conscience and embrace forgiveness rather than fury, she could convince an entire generation of young women to take the moral high ground. Look what you could make them do, Taylor.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tmd-ClpJxA&w=560&h=315]

This article originally appeared on The New York Post and has been republished here with permission.

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