THE TAYLOR SWIFT EFFECT: WHAT IS IT?

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Universal is the truth that we cannot turn anywhere without seeing the name Taylor Swift. She’s in newspaper headlines, countless social media posts, on our TV screens, and for many of us, our playlists. Her name and photo are everywhere, a phenomenon in culture that we cannot deny. As she’s still part of everyone’s conversation, we are wondering, what is the Taylor Swift effect? Is it about one thing? Or many things? Is it her or just name recognition? We’re digging into this today, just for fun, and because it fits nicely not just with what’s trending, but our treatment of pop culture topics.

Before we begin, I think first I’ll share what type of “fan” I am. I like Taylor. I don’t consider myself a “Swiftie,” and here’s why. Waiting in line to buy an album of hers or even trying to get concert tickets (which seems like a feat!) isn’t old hat. I have zero merch unless you count an Etsy t-shirt with the ‘Christmas Tree Farm’ lyrics, and see less than a ¼ of the Easter egg theories. What I do is purchase her albums and pick songs I love vs don’t. That’s the kind of fan I am.

Seeing the name Taylor Swift somewhere is inevitable. She regularly trends on social media and is a podcast topic. Just don’t ask us to even discuss the conspiracies because to be honest, I don’t have the energy for any conspiracies, but we’d be neglectful if we didn’t mention that yes, she is at the center of many such theories. Whether it be fans on social media or podcast commentators, it would seem no one isn’t talking about the biggest pop star in the world.

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THE TAYLOR SWIFT EFFECT: WHAT IS IT? Discussing the effect that is #TaylorSwift and her cultural impact. What do you think her "effect" is or means to culture? Click To Tweet

From her haters to those who defend her (to the extreme), she is the subject of many discussions. So what is it about Taylor Swift that gives her this cultural effect. In part, I do genuinely think it’s the staying power she has. While fans haven’t “grown up” with her in the way of relating to her fame, they do understand her songs. They relate to first loves and crushes, a first kiss or painful breakup. Obsess over her lyrics first because she left lyric clues (literally by capitalized letters in her album lyric books) and then because of the clues she leaves in social media posts or song titles. They swoon over the romances she’s had through the years whether it be a brief fling or a relationship, and they are protective, as she is, of her family.

There’s a case to be made that another reason she has this effect is being the “whole package,” for lack of a better term. She’s a dreamer who found fame through her lyrics, many of which are about her life, and is a girl who loves family, and love. Through this all, she’s had love stories in the public eye, though perhaps not one quite as prolific as her most recent. She, like others, serves as a kind of cultural icon that has more influence on choices women make than anyone addressing life choices from a podcast chair. Whether we agree with this or not, I think this is a huge influence on what is the effect of Taylor Swift.

Despite what her fans, from all walks of life, toss out and defend Taylor against, they are as much a problem as those who loathe her. Do I think all of the haters are always fair in their critiques? No they are not. They also fail to get part of what is this Taylor Swift effect. And by this I don’t mean they too have to like Swift, just that in critiquing her as part of their cultural commentary, they don’t get why she is what she is to fans. On the other side of this, the fans are also part of the problem. They post multiple TikTok videos a day theorizing her songs and lyrics or obsessing over a guy lightly touching her back as she enters a car.

Taylor Swift is culture. She’s not the whole of culture, but she is a significant portion, and she does matter culturally. Through her, girls relate. She represents a career woman for those wanting this. She shows culture how important tight family bonds are. Finding love seems important which the girl seeking love can relate to. Finally, to others, she represents and seems to embrace being feminine with style.

Whatever your perspective on Swift is, I don’t think anyone has to like her. Fans need to chill and pull back. Those who despise her need to understand her effect. Either way I’m in the camp of just let me enjoy her music and pull my own meaning, fine in the knowledge that it may mean something different to Taylor Swift.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think there is such a thing as that Taylor Swift effect?  What do you like or not like about the pop artist? Do you think some fans go too far? Comment all of your thoughts below.

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About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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