Haters Gonna hate
It’s no secret how critical society can be of women and young girls. There has been no effort to hide its scrutiny, no mask to conceal its true intentions. To put women down is to silence them, and to render their words weak and defenseless.
A woman who has never been shy to this reality is Taylor Swift. There’s a good chance that you’ll get a variety of responses if you ask people their opinion of Taylor Swift. Many people adore her and her music, defending her with their last breath.
On the other side of the door (Swifites will get that reference) there are the people who heavily dislike her. They will tell you their very informed opinion on why she is not a good person, a good artist etc.
With that said, public opinion is not the only thing that has greatly affected Swift’s life.
“She only writes about her ex-boyfriends”
Taylor Swift belonged to a music producing company called Big Machine where she recorded her first 6 albums. Scooter Braun, a talent manager most known for managing Ariana Grande, Justin Beiber, and more, purchased the masters to her music, preventing Swift from owning her previous works.
Swift felt betrayed and angered by this considering she was set to perform her old songs at the 2019 AMAs. Since then Taylor has begun to slowly gain the rights back to her music and re-record them under her possession. But, to backtrack, in 2020 Taylor released her surprise ninth album “Folklore”.
On this album she featured a song called “mad woman.” It’s very evident that this song is meant to express her frustrations with Braun and the anger and backstabbing she felt. Even though the subject of the song is based on her personal experiences, this does not mean its language and story does not resonate with so many other women.
When I listened to this song I fell in love and wanted to share my interpretations of her lyrics.
Being a Mad Woman
Throughout this song Taylor makes the choice of using many rhetorical questions to voice her frustration.
In the first two lines Swift states, “What did you think I’d say to that?” and “Does a scorpion sting when fighting back?”
The second question is supposed to answer her first one by using sarcasm because, yes, a scorpion does indeed sting when fighting back. It should be obvious that Swift would defend herself against someone trying to bring her down. If for some it is not obvious she does clarify her words in the next line “They strike to kill and you know I will”
Not only is she stating that she is ready to defend herself but that she is not shy of it nor afraid of the other party. Women are met with unsolicited opinions of their lifestyles all of the time. It should be no surprise when they defend themselves, yet it’s almost treated as shameful.
So they call us a “mad woman.”
What are expected to internalize it and not express our true feelings.
In the pre chorus of the song Taylor states, “Everytime you call me crazy, I get more crazy, what about that and when you say I seem angry I get more angry”
Personally I can say that these lyrics stand very true. It’s like an infuriating endless cycle that only ends in more anger and defeat. There is no winning in this situation.
People often feel they have won their point when women get angry for being called a mad woman. Taylor can’t win and neither can anyone else who has been in this situation. The chorus of this song is where you find the heart of Swift’s message. She states, “No one likes a mad woman, you made her like that.” Wow.
Girls aren’t born hateful, angry, or resentful. They are born with love and life and the desire to seek happiness. As they grow up these dreams can become blurry. Being a teenager now in a modern world with the internet and social media is terrifying. Not only do the adults in your life criticize you — so does the entirety of the internet.
When girls become women they have to live with a little bit (or a lot of) guarding in their lives. They have to be ready to endure any possibilities because “you” made her like that.
We’re All on the Bleachers
In a later verse Swift expresses, “women like hunting witches too, doing their dirtiest work for you.”
Swift is referencing the idea of “hunting witches” an idea that has been around for centuries, most notably in the Salem Witch Trials. She’s describing how women are pitted against one another in a competition none of them had asked to be a part of. This competition being one of beauty, youth, worth, etc.
We have been taught that our first instinct should be to bring down these other women who may threaten us. That they are the ones we should aim our pitchforks at and not at the constructs that strive to bring us down. What women can learn though, is to break free from this cycle.
To uplift other women instead of forcing them to pass on the same activities of the people before them
Swift is still on the journey of requiring her old music and solidifying her place in the music industry along the way. I’d like to think that I and so many other girls are on the same journey. One where we can find worth in ourselves and not in the ideas that other people have for us.
Take a look at history made by mad women.