If a woman has ever been referred to as “[insert country name here]’s Sweetheart”, chances are, she will experience it, too.
It’s the natural turning of a tide: where once it was almost impossible to put a foot wrong, now every movement is a misstep.
Just this week her girl squad has been called out for being elitist, she’s being humiliated for “farting” at the VMAs and her new video, Wildest Dreams, has been greeted with accusations of racism and whitewashing. Yes, Taylor Swift may be on the edge of her own, inevitable fall from grace.
A problem common to, but not unique to, high-profile women, this en masse backlash is experienced particularly by public personas who seem too perfect, too flawless, too big for their own goddamn boots.
Step up, Tay-Tay.
Swift has been on the ascent since she released her first country-pop album as a teenager.
Since then, she’s lost the long, blonde curls and cowboy boots and morphed into a bona fide pop superstar, with the red lips and skin-baring costumes to match.
With the release of her newest album, 1989, which was savvily teased on social media until Swifties were in a lather of anticipation, Taylor Swift seemed to be announcing her arrival as a real, grown-up megastar.
The first single to be released from the album, Shake it Off, had a video that some commentators said was vaguely racist and objectified women of colour.
The storm passed but the cracks had already appeared. America’s pop princess had been rebuked, was not perfect, and would err again. It was on.
Next on the hit list: her relentless befriending of other women.
It began as a kind of sisterhood move on Swift’s part, but then began to look decidedly like a cool-girl gang, and the likes of you and me are not permitted to join.
Squad goals entered the vernacular, with Swift and her ladies the embodiment of the term.
The much-hyped and record-breaking video for Swift’s second single, Bad Blood, reinforced this, especially as it pitted her girl squad (featuring, among many, many others, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Karlie Kloss, and Ellie Goulding) against someone else’s.
It was a bold move for the sweet and mild-mannered Swift, and a step away from the girl’s best friend persona that’s worked so well for her so far.
The person with whom Swift had “bad blood” was rumoured to be fellow pop-star Katy Perry, who by virtue of her relative reticence on the subject, comes out looking better than Swift.
Miley Cyrus, who told The New York Times recently that she definitely doesn’t want to be part of Swift’s squad, spoke to Marie Claire of the video: