Off-Setting Feminine-Masculinity

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Questing the “Good Girl”

The sweet and innocent girl who once sang songs like “Teardrops on my Guitar” and “Love Story” has completely changed shape in her newest album 1989. Taylor Swift has transformed her image with the release of her music video of “Bad Blood.” With fight scenes and violence, one might think she is trying to prove that women are strong and can have masculine qualities; however, her choice to scatter purses and make-up items throughout the fight scenes and training could deter the viewer from observing the feminine-masculinity and perceiving a more petty and typical girl fight.

Primping and Prepping

 In the first fight scene alone, Taylor puts on lipstick in between punching and kicking the bad guys, and Selena looks into a compact mirror and blows powder into Taylor’s face. Mixing in the uses of make-up and fighting sends a mixed message. Although on one end, it could reflect girl power by reminding the viewer throughout the video that a girl can be both feminine and still be put in situations that are mainly seen as a masculine role in Hollywood today, but on the other end, as I see it, I am reminded of what many people still see girls as, which is a person who can’t truly get their hands dirty because they are always trying to primp and prep.

Fighting Like a Girl

 The attempt at strengthening a woman by trying to step away from passive aggressive fights and moving towards more physical actions has been deluded by the feminine items shown. When watching the video, I was disappointed because I saw Taylor adding a negative connotation to what it looks like to fight like a girl. Men wouldn’t be seen putting on cologne between the fights, and I think if women are striving for equality then they shouldn’t be shown as figures that always have make-up and purses on them. These items detract from the overall message of feminine-masculinity and leave the viewer with negative ideas towards what it means to be feminine.

 

Further Readings:

http://www.salon.com/2015/07/12/girl_swagger_and_blood_lust_rihanna_taylor_swift_and_repackaging_toxic_masculinity_for_a_female_audience/

http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/taylor-swifts-bad-blood-video-is-not-a-feminist-manif-1705257983

 

In Swift’s Wildest Dreams

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Taylor Swift has quickly become the golden girl of our society. All of America and people around the world look up to her as a role model; however, her latest music video “Wildest Dreams” has brought about unique criticism as she is following in the steps of previous Hollywood writers and directors in their exotic and all white portrayal of Africa. Her work reflects the African colonial fantasy that has long preceded this video throughout history.

Past Meets Present

Long before “Wildest Dreams” was ever even imagined in Taylor Swift’s wildest dreams, Hollywood created Africa into a picturesque place filled with romance and adventure; however, this Africa was completely white. People of color were either downplayed or not pictured at all. Africa was no longer Africa, but an idealized America set in an exotic place with wild animals featured throughout. Swift chose to play on these ideas and created a music video with the same aspects included. There were no African people represented in the video, and lions stood majestically behind her as she sang her sad love song.

The Plague That Needs A Cure

Taylor Swift might have thought she was just pulling from inspiration of Hollywood past, but, in an article written by Scott Timber, he noted that a Fader headline once read, ‘Taylor Swift Went to Africa to Film a Music Video and There’s Only White People in It.’” While her motive might not have been out of racism, the video draws out these thoughts that have so easily plagued the U.S. throughout history. Africa should be depicted for what it really is and not made into the colonial setting pop culture tries to make it into. There is no such thing as an all white Africa, and our culture needs to stop portraying it as that.