Fans reacts to haters for saying That Taylor Swift Is ‘Just For White Girls’

Between the massive world tour, impending new album and Superbowl-winning boyfriend, Taylor Swift’s dominance of pop culture right now has brought on a frenzy of adoration, discourse and controversy. As a journalist and a longtime Swiftie, I’m always keen to encourage critical thinking about her power, her music and the fandom. But there is one increasingly common critique I hate: people who say Taylor Swift “only makes music for white girls”.
It conflates her music and her politics in a way that’s dismissive to BIPOC fans, and doesn’t actually tackle the flaws in her feminism.
I usually find that people who say this about Taylor Swift also believe she only writes songs about her exes. That’s just plain wrong. Her expansive body of work covers themes of love, lust and longing, as well as friendship, vilification, grief, self-interrogation and self-actualisation.

One of my (many) favourites, You’re On Your Own Kid is a coming-of-age song about choosing to take ownership of your life, including the mistakes you’ll inevitably make along the way. The Archer explicitly asks if you have ever felt truly seen (“Can you see right through me? I see right through me.”)
Why should any of these concepts be considered the exclusive domain of white women? They’re not.
Women of colour – especially Black and Indigenous women – are so often denied their softness and femininity by mainstream Western society and culture. They are considered too strong to be hurt by such trivialities as heartbreak, too smart to chase a partner, too aggressive to care about the loss of a friend or too angry to crave a happy ending.
But these are incredibly universal emotions. Of course people from all backgrounds can connect with them!
In fact, a lot of Swift’s more recent music explores the idea that extreme fame has forced her to put up complicated walls that may make her difficult to love as a partner or friend. To me, these feelings are more relatable to women who’ve had to navigate adolescence and young adulthood while being stereotyped by society as tough, aggressive, or cold – not less.
While you could read This Is Me Trying as regret over a past relationship, it’s practically an anthem for parentified oldest daughters. An all-too-common story within migrant and non-white families is to be trained as the responsible high-achiever but told little about the systemic barriers that will hold you back, leading to inevitable disappointment for everyone. Swift’s lyrics lay out this exact dynamic, line by line. When she sings “They told me all of my cages were mental / So I got wasted like all my potential”… I felt that.

While Swift’s style won’t suit everyone’s tastes, the idea that non-white women could never relate to her songs is at best dismissive and at worse, dangerous. Believing that Black, brown or Asian girls don’t experience emotions the same way as white girls quickly slides into dehumanisation – the foundation of white supremacist thinking.
It’s also clear that some detractors are using “white women” to hide their misogyny under the language of racial justice and intersectional feminism. Stereotypically feminine hobbies and interests have always been mocked and undervalued by the male-dominated culture, and this is still what drives a lot of the criticisms of her music. The patriarchy tells us that teenage girls and their interests shouldn’t be taken seriously.
So if the person saying Taylor Swift is “only for white girls” never speaks up about the real issues that affect Indigenous, Black, brown or Asian communities… it’s probably just sexism. When the racial label from “white women” is removed, only a critique of women remains.
But that’s not to say the superstar is beyond reproach. Criticisms of Taylor Swift’s personal politics and brand of ‘feminism’ are absolutely fair game.
She is one of the most influential people in the world right now, but rarely uses her voice to speak up for change. Fans are taking note of her silence on the war in Gaza, the climate crisis, or U.S. domestic political issues like gun control. Although the 2020 documentary Miss Americana revealed Swift was ready to be more vocal about her beliefs, she has done barely any advocacy since.

When Swift has spoken out against injustice, it’s usually because she is directly impacted. She brought about such significant reforms on streaming compensation and intellectual property rights within the music industry that the Financial Times called her “as powerful as an entire union.” But the benefits of these changes never seemed to trickle down to smaller artists, and her advocacy stops shortly after securing the ‘win’ for herself.
Even the most diehard Swifties are realising that although her music is emotionally full, her brand of feminism is empty. It not only offers nothing to women of colour, queer women or poor women, but nothing to any women – even white women – who are not specifically Taylor Swift. Rather than calling it feminism at all, we’re better off saying exactly what it is: Swift co-opting the language of feminism for her own strategic or material benefit.
We don’t have to dismiss the existence of BIPOC fans to point out the hypocrisy of her brand. It’s the very existence of fans from diverse backgrounds that is helping to drive critical conversations about her politics, her impact and her wealth.


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