An open letter to Taylor Swift
Your "Blank Space" song is incredibly catchy.
The beat is strong, the music flows, and it inevitably becomes stuck in my head for too long.
It's a perfect pop song, except for the damaging effects of the lyrics and music video.
As a counselor, it is my opinion that this song is "a nightmare dressed like a daydream."
Were you going for the shock effect? Did you want to "wow" your way into pop music and show us that you've thrown off your country music innocence and are firmly an adult in the pop music world? Don't forget what happened to Miley and Brittany when they tried to show the world how grown up they were too. "Shake it Off" lands you comfortably in the pop music category without the horrendous lyrics and video.
Yes, I said horrendous.
I chose a strong word to describe a perfectly tuned and masterfully sung pop music song.
1. Your song makes abusive relationships seem normal. "Blank Space" makes violence and jealousy and rage seem commonplace, even expected in a relationship. How can this country react so quickly to domestic violence abusers in the media, and then praise your song at the top of the charts? The music video shows these examples of an abusive relationship: an obsession with a man that begins subtly and intensifies into a jealous rage; destruction of personal property; no personal responsibility for destructive behavior; blaming the abusee for the outbursts; and physical violence against the abusee. Jealousy and control are two major red flags for abusive relationships. The lyrics "I get drunk on jealousy, but you'll come back each time you leave" scream it's an abusive relationship. But it's not so sweet when you imagine the little wife with the bruised face that keeps going home because it was her fault that he got so angry, huh?
2. Bytheway, abusers are not always male. Women can be just as abusive in relationships. Your song is unfortunately proof that American music doesn't recognize the devastating effects of abuse from women. Can you imagine a music video with a male singer stabbing a bloody cake, ripping portraits with a knife, and cutting a woman's blouse? There would be outrage in the streets! That singer would be labeled a woman-hater, Gloria Allred would be lining up lawsuits, and radio stations would ban the vocalist. And rightly so, abuse should never be tolerated or encouraged. Unfortunately, your song justifies and encourages abuse.
3. "Blank Space" teaches young, impressionable girls that they must change who they are to satisfy a man. The lyrics "find out what you want, be that girl for a month" don't support a girl with a healthy self-esteem and confidence in her own talents and virtues. Your "Shake It Off" song exemplifies self-confidence, but this song does the opposite.
4. "Boys only want love if it's torture" is the line I despise the most. I know you are referring to the difference between "boys" and "men," as you've disclosed in interviews. But there are more meanings to this lyric, and I worry that it encourages more girls to abuse their boyfriends. Or it possibly teaches that love is unattainable, cruel, vindictive, and painful. How sad for the teenager who believes love must be torture!
5. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Surely you don't act like the music video in real life. But if you do have a long list of ex-lovers, who have been treated the way the man in the music video was treated, then it is insane to think you'll end up happy in the long run. More likely you'll experience a life with more nasty scars and regret your reckless behavior. Lasting love is not found down that path.
For my readers, see her video here:
What do you think? Am I overreacting?