Daily Beast: Taylor Swift is ‘the living embodiment of white privilege’


Here are some photos of Taylor Swift leaving the Isabel Marant boutique in West Hollywood yesterday. Her tour is done, she’s back at home in LA and she’s enjoying some downtime with her new Anna Wintour-esque haircut. While I hated the haircut at the Grammys, it’s sort of growing on me now. It’s better than the extensions and budget wiglets a lot of high-profile women wear. Now I just need her to wean herself off the bangs.

Anyway, Taylor is back in the news all the time these days because Kanye West just won’t stop bitching about her. Just this week, Kanye declared that Swifty “had two seconds to be cool and she f—ked it up.” He also called her a Fake Ass in his SNL rant. And I’m sure he’s saying a lot worse about her behind-the-scenes. My point about Taylor and Kanye has always been: their beef has, historically, helped them both. Anyway, The Daily Beast had an amazing write-up about just that – the piece is called “Taylor Swift Is Not More Influential Than Kanye West.” It’s a great, thoughtful read, but this is my favorite part:

According to the Swift fairy tale, she is the consummate underdog, an outsider who grew up on a Christmas tree farm and was mercilessly bullied and rejected, but never gave up on her dream of music superstardom. The reality is a bit different. That Christmas tree farm Swift grew up on in Pennsylvania was actually purchased from one of Swift’s father’s clients (and the family summered at their oceanfront mansion in Stone Harbor, New Jersey). You see, Swift’s father is a very wealthy senior vice president at Merrill Lynch—and the descendant of three generations of bank presidents—while her mother worked at a mutual fund and is the daughter of a rich oilman.

When Swift was 13, her parents brought her to New York City and introduced her to manager Dan Dymtrow, who landed the singer-songwriter meetings with the top record labels, as well as a modeling gig as part of Abercrombie & Fitch’s ‘Rising Stars’ Campaign. In the photo, a tall, slender Swift is portrayed balancing an acoustic guitar with one hand and dabbing her eye with the other; it’s the birth of the Swiftian persona, the unpopular geek who deserves your sympathy… while modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch in the eighth grade.

Dymtrow landed Swift an artist development deal at RCA Records, but Swift left the label for Big Machine Records—a tiny imprint that her father helped kick-start with a six-figure investment. He then transferred to the Nashville office of Merrill Lynch, and moved the family to a lakehouse mansion in Tennessee, in order to help foster Swift’s burgeoning country music career. A then-16-year-old Swift’s self-titled debut album was released in 2006 to massive acclaim, and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, this is not to say that Swift isn’t a musical prodigy—she is, winning a talent contest to open for Charlie Daniels at 11, and taking home first prize in a national poetry contest at 12—but she is also, in many ways, the living embodiment of white privilege.

[From The Daily Beast]

I didn’t even know all of that. That’s how great the Taylor Swift fairy tale is, and how well it’s been sold. And that is Taylor’s strength, and it always has been: she’s a brilliant marketer. She’s better at the business of selling herself than she is at making music (#facts). She’s a Machiavellian genius on behalf of her career. So while I think Kanye West needs to hush about Taylor specifically, don’t cry for Swifty. She’ll always find a way to turn all of this to her advantage.


Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and WENN.

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358 Responses to “Daily Beast: Taylor Swift is ‘the living embodiment of white privilege’”

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  1. Jenny says:

    So her parents helped her start her career. And? As if thats exclusive to white people and rich black parents don’t do the same for their kids? People who start on third base have it easy sure, but it’s not like she’s been coasting on daddy’s money this whole time.

    • Jess says:

      Exactly. Her family’s money is not making her as successful as she is. If that were true, we would have way more artists selling like her, and with her fan base…

      Look at Paris Hilton for example. Didn’t she try to be popstar too?

      • Priya says:

        Opportunity + talent = luck

        Kanye was the son of a college professor. He had plenty of opportunities young, black kids on the actual south side of Chicago the city (not Oak Lawn, the middle class suburb he went to HS in) will never, ever have unless raw talent and hard work is enough to propel them to fame, like for Kenderick Lamar.

      • perplexed says:

        I think Kanye had opportunities in terms of getting an education because of his mom’s profession, but I don’t think his mom being a college professor could have helped him out much in terms of getting a music career. College professors aren’t wealthy in the way Taylor’s parents are, nor can I see a college professor having the networking capacity to get access to music producers.

      • wowza says:

        Paris is one of the top paid DJs in the world :/ She actually kind of proves the point that wealth is a safety net.

      • Tara says:

        Paris Hilton would be a better poster child for white privilege. Or Kim Kardashian.

      • Stephanie says:

        Kanye’s mom is actually the one responsible for his career. He says on, i forget which track from WTT, “she met No ID and gave me his number, ten yrs later now she’s driving a hummer.”
        But I really think that was a crazy chance meeting. Swift’s parents literally bought her opportunities.

      • perplexed says:

        Fair enough. I don’t think as a general rule college professors could do what Kanye’s mom did though — that seems like luck they had on their side to some degree, more than privilege.

      • Stephanie says:

        Perplexed, yeah it was definitely luck not privilege.

      • Flan says:

        @Tara: Actually the poster boys for white priviliges should be those in finance who have caused the crisis. The crisis which caused endless misery to people losing homes, opportunities for kids to get a decent education, losing jobs etc etc all over the world.

        Those people still get their bonuses and only got richer as a group because of it.

        Black people have died by police hands for very obscure ‘reasons’, but these people have just been fined (at the most) for causng a global, human disaster. That is privilige well beyond some silly entertainment figures being popular.

      • Mytbean says:

        What a lot of people dont realize, however, is that Swift, having come from money, has no tangible concept of being without and therefor can emotionally handle the intense risks involved in a career that relies heavily on fearlessness. Her failure in any endeavor she chose would result in, what? A terrible future relying on trust funds and a massive inheritance.

        She has the priviledge of never being able to understand, other than through third party strangers and Feed the Children commercials, vaguely abstract… What it would be like to really be without if she failed.

        I’m not discounting her talent nor her business smarts. But I think most people would grow up to be rock stars in their fields of choice if they could pursue that without concerns of the financial burden.

    • Nancy says:

      Her parents uprooted their entire existence so their ten year old could be a star. I call that entitlement. She has always come across as the spoiled brat that she is. Rihanna came here from Barbados at 15 and was a star a year later based on her talent. Two tales out of the land of opportunity.

      • Jegede says:

        Rihanna and talent? Subjective I guess.

        And Rihanna deffo does across like a spoiled, very rude, brat as well, but gets away with anything and everything for being apparently fierce and non-basic.

      • Jenny says:

        And again….so? Rich AND poor parents do that all the time, moving around to try to find theBest opportunities for the children. Why the hell does it matter how a person finds their success? What matters is what you do with the opportunities you’ve been given and how you sustain that yourself. Taylor had the backing of her parents. Rihanna had the backing of jay z and la Reid, two of the most powerful men in the industry. Neither of them came from nothing.

      • Sitka says:

        It worked for them didn’t it? A lot of parents do it. They just happened to have the opportunity since he could transfer.
        Why do people hate Taylor Swift so much? It’s not like she spread her legs to get where she is. She actually worked at it. Sure her father opened doors but if money was the only obstacle in getting to her level there would be a lot more out there.
        So what if she has a rotating squad. I have plenty of friends who have friends on rotation. A lot of girls do that.
        It seems like no matter what she does people will tear her down.

      • Gardenia says:

        Not to be a bitch, but… what talent, really? Rihanna doesn’t write her material, doesn’t dance, doesn’t play an instrument. All she has is her voice, which is far from exceptional, and her beauty. I don’t think she would have become a superstar if she wasn’t so stunning.

        As I understand it, Swift plays guitar and writes (at least some of) her own songs. She has more talent than Rihanna, IMO, although I’m a fan of neither.

      • katie says:

        Yeah is a privileged existence. My cousin’s parents are doing this right now. Her dad had a lucrative job with BMW and he quit that to be her manager and travel to small local craft fairs and the like. It’s sort of working for them.

        My point is, like someone else pointed out, rich and poor parents alike do this to push their kids to be stars. Didn’t Kanye also grow up in a somewhat more privileged existence than he wants people to believe?

        Pretty much all stars are manufactured to an extent.

      • Wiffie says:

        That happens all. The. Time. You always hear of the parents separating, one living in an apartment with the kids in LA to help get the career jump-started. A lot of parents uproot for the kids career. Sometimes it doesn’t work but sometimes, it does.

      • Wiffie says:

        You make it sound like rihanna played on a boat. She was was introduced to a music producer on vacation and went to live with him and his wife. Who introduced her to Jay z. boom. Pon de replay. That’s not any more magical. I don’t get the point of arguing whose story is better.

      • K says:

        It’s called be stage parents AKA bad parents so the fact Kayne’s mom wouldn’t give up her wonderful fulfilling job as an educator at a great university shows he had BETTER parents then she did. Now did she have more money? Yes! Will she always get the positive media spin because she is white? Yes

        But the fact she has money is not a white thing there are a lot of black people with money to say that it’s exclusively a white thing is incredibly racist of the article.

        Also for the love of god just like Taylor isn’t some country geek who was picked on Kayne didn’t survive the mean street of the Chicago hood.

        I will not say that Taylor hasn’t benefited from white privileges she has all white people have. But having money is not exclusively white thing I find that so offensive to say. It’s Ben Carson saying Obama isn’t black because he didn’t grow up poor- excuse me that just isn’t true. No race has one experience or economic status.

        Your socioeconomic status helps you- that is a fact there is a privilege that comes with money but neither Kayne or Taylor grew up poor.

        And sorry there is a lot to bash Taylor on but the fact she grew up with money isn’t fair. She has never tried to say she grew up in a trailor park living pay check to paycheck on food stamps. That hasn’t happened!

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        That’s not entitlement, that’s a head start. You can argue that because it’s a privilege of the wealthy, it’s mostly a white privilege. But this sounds more like a rich version of the stage parents where, possibly, the daughter was much more ambitious than the parents.

        I don’t get why suddenly this is an issue, it’s not a secret that her parents had the money to do this. She’s been pretty vocal about their support. But her success is based on hard work, people seem to like to ignore that. The girl is white, rich, and – gasp – thin but she’s been working her butt off since before she as a teenager. Marketing doesn’t get you THIS far. Same with Rihanna. Great marketing but she put out something like 10 records in 5 years (I don’t know but it was a lot).

      • Nancy says:

        @jegede @Gardenia: It is all subjective. Many agree with you that Rihanna has no talent, yet Billboard announced yesterday that she just broke the tie she was in with Michael Jackson for third place and now owns it, for the most number 1 hits of all time, only behind the Beatles and Mariah Carey. That’s quite an accomplishment considering her age and the number of years number 1 and 2 have been around.

      • V4Real says:

        I really can’t believe some posters are comparing a college professor salary to a Merrill Lynch executive salary and the daughter of a rich oil man. Wow!

        At least Kanye is talented. I don’t care if Riri doesn’t write her own songs she still sings better than Taylor. Hell, Whitney Houston didn’t write her own songs either. Did that take away from her talent? Taylor may be a song writer but it doesn’t mean she’s a good one.

        And Taylor had privilege and opportunity her entire ride to the top. It not just about talent with her. She’s a mediocre singer IMHO. But her privilege is what got her where she is today.

        “When Swift was 13, her parents brought her to New York City and introduced her to manager Dan Dymtrow, who landed the singer-songwriter meetings with the top record labels, as well as a modeling gig as part of Abercrombie & Fitch’s ‘Rising Stars’ Campaign.”

        How many want to be singers have a daddy that knows a manager in the industry. That not only can get them a singing deal but also a modeling gig.

        “Dymtrow landed Swift an artist development deal at RCA Records, but Swift left the label for Big Machine Records—a tiny imprint that her father helped kick-start with a six-figure investment.”

        Swift father helped start the record label she was on. You tell me you don’t see the privilege in that. Swift never suffered for nothing a day in her life when it came to her daddy practically buying her career. There are far more better singers out there, they just don’t have the privilege and opportunity that Swift does.

      • Nancy says:

        V4Real: And the Oscar goes to…….you! You said it perfectly and accurately. Taylor Swift: A Star is Bought

      • Fiorella says:

        Gardenia, Rihanna doesn’t have only beauty she has charm and more je ne sais quoi and it girl factor than Taylor or Beyoncé , similar to how Christina aguilera is more talented and seems to work harder than Britney but Brit is always the most famous (like Rihanna) also Rihanna’s abuse by brown made her more interesting , I don’t mean that insensitively but bad things make ppl curious

      • JustJen says:

        Olympic hopefuls are in that position most of the time, no one is calling them spoiled brats. (Well, some of them..) The parents move the whole family across the country and spend thousands every year for many years just for that one chance.

      • teacakes says:

        @Jegede – It’s funny you say that about Rihanna coming across as spoiled or rude, because word in the business says the exact opposite – she’s actually really nice to her songwriters and the people she works BTS with and that’s how so many of them gave her songs that became #1 hits.

    • minx says:

      Agree. I think it’s remarkable what she has done.
      My son is two years younger than her and I can’t even imagine how she has accomplished so much at such a young age.

    • Esther says:

      with that kind of thinking we dont need any political movements fighting for equality. “sure, there are some advantages but well whatever”

      “White Privilege at The Grammys: Taylor Swift’s Acceptance Speech and White Folks’ Faulty Perception of Hard Work”


      • Pinky says:

        THANK YOU. Ffs it’s incredibly alarming to me that people are so quick to get defensive about this.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Err, that article makes some good points but it also makes the assumption that Swift pretends to have gotten to where she is on her own. Like I said above, she had a massive head start and she never denied it. I also think comparing her to Beyoncé of all people is not helping the argument. Beyoncé is ridiculously successful and while she deals with backlash when she emphasizes her blackness (and that’s not a small issue of course), losing an award to Swift is not a good example of institutionalized racism. In fact, Swift in general is not the best artist to pick for this entire argument.

        Also this: “Because Kanye did not follow the politics of respectability and decorum that require black folks to remain polite and kind even as we are being overlooked and oppressed, the logic behind his outrage is rarely examined.” This is not the incident to pick to make that point. Beyoncé was not being oppressed here, she lost an MTV Award. And Kanye was not fighting oppression, he was looking for the spotlight. NOT for Beyoncé but for himself.

        It would be interesting to examine the media narrative on both Swift’s and Beyonce’s careers over a few years. I’m sure that would shed some much-needed light on the issue. Two extremely successful artists but most likely also extremely different narratives based not in small part on their respective race.

      • K says:

        @pinky I think it’s the tone of the article (that is highlighted here) for me that I find offensive. I’m white, upper middle class and know full well I have a privliege because of that- which isn’t fair and needs to be addressed in this country.

        My issue is the tone I took from the article was the money she had growing up was an exclusively white thing and that isn’t true. I know and knew growing up black families who had more money then mine (again upper middle class) they were doctors, lawyers and business people like my family and I found that offensive.

        I will agree she will always get the better media edit, she didn’t struggle financially growing up, that her family is connected, that she is had help. What I won’t allow is the dismissive attitude that other races and ethnicities also have money.

        Taylor swift benefits from white privilege but her money isn’t why.

      • Pinky says:

        If Taylor was a poor white girl with the little talent she possesses, would she be where she is today? Highly doubtful. So money, *especially* her family history of having money, has everything to do with her privilege in this scenario.

      • Timbuktu says:

        THANK YOU! I’m routinely amazed at how non-chalant people seem to be about this. I am personally quite sickened and worried to see how many stars are children of other stars and/or wealthy people. Not that I want my daughter to be a singer or a model, but nepotism doesn’t stop there, and I find it distasteful and can’t understand how us regular folk can just shrug it off like that. I really worry about my kids’ future.

    • perplexed says:

      She’s not musically talented though. That’s where her privilege helps (not just her wealth, but also being white). Business savvy, yes. But her musical talent is questionable. Her voice isn’t that good, even with auto-tune, and her lyrics are not that special (Are we out of the woods/out of the woods/out of the woods/out of the woods). In her case, having wealthy parents who could help her get her foot into the door does appear to have been a significant marker in her career. She probably would have been rejected without their determination to keep her foot in that door when she was being critiqued.

      People wouldn’t be talking about parents helping her out if she could actually sing. Mariah Carey’s mother was an opera singer, which must have benefited her musical education, but we don’t cite that as a reason for most of her success because she has a six-octave range and can sing those six octaves well.

      • Nic919 says:

        And calling her a musical prodigy is a bit much. Teens who sing and play guitar aren’t prodigies. They are a dime a dozen. Let’s compare her to kids who can play complex Mozart pieces on the piano or violin. That is not easy to do.

        Or let’s compare what Taylor Swift is doing to someone like Lin Manuel Miranda, who was writing Broadway musicals in college. And Hamilton has so many layers to it and is groundbreaking on so many levels, whereas Taylor went from country songs about her feelings to pop songs about her feelings, many of them not even being written by her.

      • jc126 says:

        Talent is a subjective judgement though. Clearly lots of people think TS is talented. I don’t think people in general think much about whether Taylor Swift’s parents helped her out, just some journalists looking for article clicks worry about it.
        As a side note, I believe I’ve heard that Mariah’s supposed six or seven octave voice, that is a falsehood and was PR her record company started when she first became popular.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Now this 100%, musically speaking without the whole Taylor Swift package that girls music is mediocre and has only become even more increasingly so since she took the reigns of her music.

        She writes her own lyrics, except they’re terrible.

        She sings her own songs, but cracks during every live performance.

        In a sea full of average singers doing average songs Taylor is so close to the bottom.

      • perplexed says:

        “Talent is a subjective judgement though.”

        Yes, true, talent is subjective, and in isolation, one could argue that Taylor is talented. But when we start actually making side-by side comparisons to other singers, it’s not hard to see that Taylor falls short in some categories (like actually being able to sing live without going considerably off-key). Sometimes she’s referred to as a prodigy, and I have absolutely no idea why — that’s when people start questioning the talent level. When the hyperbole gets to be too much, of course people will question whether she’s really as skilled as people claim.

        “As a side note, I believe I’ve heard that Mariah’s supposed six or seven octave voice, that is a falsehood and was PR her record company started when she first became popular.”

        She can still sing one octave better than Taylor can though. I don’t know if that’s even a subjective comment to make — listen to them side by side and Mariah Carey would generally be picked out as being the one to be able to actually sing live. Even if you hate the kind of music Carey makes or she can only sing 2 octaves as opposed to six, no one really doubts she has the ability to sing.

        If Mariah Carey is an example people don’t like, the we can look at Whitney Houston. Houston came from a family of singers, and those connections no doubt helped her, but would anyone question that Houston had a voice that was astounding and didn’t deserve to be heard by the masses? These questions don’t pop up when the person’s talent is at another level.

      • Pandy says:

        Cough – Tommy Mottola – cough cough.

      • perplexed says:

        “Cough – Tommy Mottola – cough cough.”

        Like I said Mariah Carey benefited from the musical education she received from her mother. And I suppose we can add who she married to the list. But her talent is less likely to be questioned, because we’ve seen her sing well live. Ditto for someone like Whitney Houston. How did that point get missed?

        I saw Taylor Swift sing live alongside Stevie Nicks at the Grammys (it’s on Youtube somewhere) and yowza she was bad (Swift, that is). And I know everyone says Swift writes her own songs, but I don’t see how the lyrics to Out of the Woods or Wildest Dreams are that good.

    • P says:

      Swift’s father didn’t like the conditions of Taylor’s deal with RCA, so he bought her what was, for all intents and purposes, a vanity record label. Whether or not that meets anyone’s definition of “coasting,” it’s certainly one hell of a leg up.

      Especially when you consider that RCA was always more interested in Swift as a songwriter than as a vocalist. Plan B, if she “tested” well, was to turn her into a “pop tart,” and daddy wasn’t having it.

      She was packaged and sold as a plucky young star-in-the making, striking out on her own to sign with a startup label that was willing to take a chance on her. Yet for some reason, the fact that daddy owned the label in question never seems to come up.

    • sara says:

      Why all the hate? She works hard, she’s an astute businesswoman and she is smart about her brand. Maybe she did get a helping hand but you don’t get as far as she has without a hell of a lot of hard work. I admire the work ethic.

      • Timbuktu says:

        Yes, all those teachers, and nurses, and firefighters aren’t where she is because they just don’t have her work ethic.

      • Veronica says:

        The article is not stating that she doesn’t work hard for what she has. What it’s saying is that it’s inherently deceptive to suggest that’s the ONLY reason for why she has it. She had an enormous boost from inheriting an affluent and well-networked background. It’s not criticizing her, per se, but the culture that produces her – that one that produces a sterilized narrative of “hard work = wealth” while ignoring that most people who succeed to that extent had hand after hand helping them up.

    • ChloeL says:

      The entitlement doesn’t come from the actions her parents took–it’s in reference to the very available and abundant opportunities that wealthy parents have from simply their financial and social capital. And it’s white privilege because minorities disproportionately do not have that at their disposal.

    • Anne tommy says:

      Just as Willow and Jaden Smith’s “success” is an example of black privilege? That’s the reason she’s whipping her hair and he’s appearing in rotten films and in skirts, and why they get coverage when they spout nonsense. Wealth is the key here. Swift is privileged,she’s white, it’s white privilege, there’s no alternative to the white part. I’m no big fan of hers but West should pipe down.

    • Pmnichols says:

      I’m so sick of everything being a white/black issue. What would people say if someone said Jada Pinkets kid is the epitome of Black Privilege??? People would flip their s***. She worked hard and earned where she is. I know rich kids who are a waste of space. Just because you have it doesn’t mean you’ll do anything with it.

    • Veronica says:

      You’re focusing too much on Swift as an individual – the white privilege the article is discussing refers to a broader socioeconomic issue that causes disparity in this culture. This isn’t so much about the individual instance of Taylor’s circumstances but the general tendency of whites to benefit more from the social structure than minorities do. Taylor having a foot up isn’t a problem – it’s the fact that the narrative built around her overlooks the inherent privileges given to her by her whiteness, feeding into the illusory cultural idyll of the “self made” individual. Non-whites are statistically less likely to have “three generations” of wealthy bankers behind them, they’re less likely to have the networking that allows them to break into industry, and they’re limited by social mechanisms that restrict how they present themselves to society at large.

  2. Jess says:

    All of this don’t mean that we should start celebrating what Kanye has been bitching about her lately…
    He is still an creepily obsessed idi*t

    • Lizzie McGuire says:

      Yeah, he’s still a misogynistic pig not only for the T.Swift comments he keeps making & repeating over & over, but the Amber Rose ones too.

      As for her white privilege, that her parents helped her economically to launch her career I’m sure it was out there. I remember watching E’s something behind the story of Taylor Swift & they talked about it. Just because her parents loved her & support her career it doesn’t make it ok for Kanye to insult her.

    • Birdix says:

      And this piece must be music to his ears. Finally someone understands…

    • Izzy says:

      ^^ This. I won’t deny she’s been privileged, but it has nothing to do with his random attacks on her. It’s like he’s targeting her with his rage over the fact that he is not as successful, but his career issues at this point have as much to do with his attitude. And his horrible fashion sense.

  3. Amy Tennant says:

    Not wrong. Not wrong in the slightest.

    • Liv says:

      But what is that articel supposed to tell us? Almost all artists or actors/actresses develop a public persona – see Reese Witherspoon. I don’t need that farce, but that’s reality.

      • Denisemich says:

        That Taylor Swift is not like you in reality she is a very rich girl whose Daddy bought her a career. She is not a girl that scraped and pushed to get to where she is, she was planted there.

        Kanye West and Taylor Swift are not an either /or story. They are both a construct of a business that sells you a persona…

      • Liv says:

        1. You can’t buy a career. You can get far, sure….but her level of success or fame is not something you can entirely plan or buy.

        2. There’s a big difference between the two of them.

        3. I still don’t get the point. So her parents were rich and pushed her…and? Does that make her success less successful? Or does it justify Kanyes sexist and despicable comments? Don’t think so.

      • Timbuktu says:

        It makes her success less successful, yes. To me, it’s like calling Prince William successful because he is a prince.
        Yes, you can’t plan that level of success entirely. It’s called luck. Her success = money + luck + work + talent. Yeah, I think it’s far less impressive than someone who becomes successful with just the latter two or even 3, sorry.

      • Veronica says:

        The point of the article is to make you think about the things we take for granted without even realizing it. We take for granted that whites benefit significantly more from the socioeconomic model of the United States, and we take for granted that whites lack structured social roles dictating how they behave in a social context. The problem with Taylor Swift isn’t her individual behavior – it’s how her story gets touted around as an example of incredible success through hard work when the reality is that a lot of money, connections, and social power went into creating her. Nobody is begrudging her the success – but the reality is that false narratives like hers are part of what feed into the idea of the poor being victims of their own lack of ambition rather than systematic roadblocks and oppression.

  4. Crumpet says:

    None of that is news to me. My 11 year old daughter gave me the run-down just the other day. I don’t know why she inspires such loathing. I read an interesting article by a psychologist who works with asperger’s patients and in her opinion, Taylor has many of the same characteristics.

    • Kitten says:

      Right? I thought this was common knowledge? I don’t follow Swift nor do I listen to her music and even I knew she came from a rich, privileged background.

      When I would sometimes wonder why she was so despised, I actually thought that this was the argument: she came from wealth and had daddy buy her way into the music business.

      That being said, I still don’t get the OTT hate and I’m sure I never will. We’re surrounded by rich, privileged kids who are granted opportunities that most of us could only dream of due to their name or their family’s wealth. Taylor is not the first and she won’t be the last. This is life, guys.

      • perplexed says:

        I don’t despise Taylor and I do admire her business acumen, but sometimes her success does astound me, considering how bad she sounds when she sings live without any help. When I’ve seen her sing off-key at the Grammys I’m sometimes in shock at her massive success. I think if she were successful on a smaller scale, I’d be less shocked. But since she’s the biggest thing in music when Adele isn’t around, her level of success does sort of leave me shaking my head. I get why she’s appealing to people….until she actually sings (and dances badly).

        I was baffled by Britney Spears’s success, but no one actually acted like she was talented. Sometimes Taylor is compared to Shakespeare, and I don’t get that at all. The success plus the over-the-top praise makes me a contrarian in her case.

      • Kitten says:

        Ha ha..it’s funny that when I was reading through your first paragraph I was getting ready to respond with “what about Brittney?”

        …and then I got to your second paragraph ;)

        Like Spears, I think Swift just has a *look* (blame Barbie maybe) that appeals to girls and young women and her songs are catchy and relatable. To me, it seems very obvious why this would be a formula for success. As you can probably tell, I don’t have very high standards when it comes to mainstream pop music.

        Britney has always been a terrible singer, but I still remember the first time I finally “got” her and it was when I first saw the video for “Slave”. She just had that *it* factor, I guess. Never cared much for her music but she could dance–at least back in the day.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        But how does that not make you angry? That’s life. It is, but it doesn’t mean we should just accept it. I’m in college right now, and thanks to the amazing financial situation my country is in, my mum’s been unemployed for years now and my dad will probably lose his job soon. Finding a job without a college degree is even harder so I can’t find a job either. My sister starts college next year. Thank god almighty we don’t have tuitions here so both of us can go to college, but the feeling of despair and helplesness is awful, and then you hear about people like this ( or even people I know, who were too stupid to get into a real college so they go to private ones, they will buy their diploma and work for daddy doing nothing their entire life) , how do you not get angry?

        And maybe it’s irrational, but I find her success as “lesser” because she comes from money and had so much help.

      • Susan says:

        Agree with kitten. Timing is a big factor. For whatever reason, what we were seemingly missing in pop culture/music was a Taylor-like character. She reminds me a bit of the Debbie Gibson (ooh does that make Katy Perry the Tiffany!?) . this was pre Internet and pre social media, so we didn’t have access to the information/drama/crazy as we do now. Kanye would not be as known (and outwardly crazy!?) without today’s technology. Imagine if Britney was on social media during her meltdown…!?

      • perplexed says:

        I do concede that I think Britney Spears had a certain “it” factor and charisma, which at the time I didn’t factor in enough, but can now see she had in spades, especially when you put her next to someone like Selena Gomez, who is trying for the sex-kitten thing in her videos, but seems kind of bland no matter how many pieces of clothing get peeled off.

      • Kitten says:

        @Locke-How do you propose we change it? Serious question.

        It seems like a huge waste of mental energy to me to get mad and outraged about a basic human truth that has endured the test of time and will be here long after we’re all gone. Money, wealth, privilege = opportunities. That doesn’t mean that opportunities are unattainable for people who aren’t rich and privileged, it just means we have to work harder.

        I don’t know…it seems like you hurt yourself more than help yourself by bemoaning circumstances that cannot be changed. In the end, I find that attitude really disempowering and self-destructive. Meanwhile, others are getting ahead by acknowledging and working within a system that cannot be rectified.

      • Marianne says:

        I don’t get the hate either. I know she isn’t the strongest singer in the world, but theres a lot of people in the world (both music and acting) who don’t have a lot of talent and yet are super successful so *shrugs*. I know some people take issue with her “feminism”. But its not like she’s claiming to be the best feminist ever. And sure people like tear her down for writing songs about relationships, but then no one bats an eye when Adele for instance does the exact same thing. Like, Im sure she probably isn’t as sweet or innocent as she’s made out to be, but again that’s probably true with most celebs out there. Its not like she’s hurting anyone. Its not like she’s glorifying drugs in her music or anything of the like. Who cares. So what if she’s super popular? Don’t listen to her, don’t buy her music, don’t buy magazines with her on the cover if you don’t like her. Support who you do. Whatever.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Exactly. So much of success in everything, not just entertainment, is greatly impacted by privilege. I don’t know why Taylor is being singled out here, almost as a justification for Kanye’s attacks. Nothing excuses the sexism he has displayed recently.

        Pop music has always depended on the tastes of teens and tweens, so it will ALWAYS be about packaging over musical substance. It didn’t start with Britney, it goes back decades. I do think a large part of Britney’s “it” was that her team was ok with exploiting underage sexuality to an extent that wasn’t acceptable to the public before.

      • Allie says:

        @Kitten I think most of the hatred for Taylor comes from the fact she is marketed as a musical genius. If she was just another pop star, she wouldn’t nearly get the amount of hate. But she won TWO album of the year Grammys. She has all this praise when she is mediocre at best. She is not lyrically talented. She has catchy songs, sure, but not nearly as talented as what her marketing team wants you to believe. There is an article that was published a few weeks back from a journalist who was in her inner circle. It’s an interesting read on how her team has kept journalists from dissing her.

      • perplexed says:

        “Pop music has always depended on the tastes of teens and tweens, so it will ALWAYS be about packaging over musical substance. It didn’t start with Britney, it goes back decades. I do think a large part of Britney’s “it” was that her team was ok with exploiting underage sexuality to an extent that wasn’t acceptable to the public before.”

        I don’t think Britney won Grammys in any of the prestigious categories. She might have won a Dance Grammy, but I don’t think she won Album of the Year or anything. So while she was successful, I don’t think she was hailed as being a great talent and I don’t think her “talent” was legitimized in the way Taylor’s talent has been. Nobody ever dared to compare Britney to Shakespeare. With Taylor, one sees words like “prodigy” bandied about (even the author of the article citing her privilege won’t dismiss the claim that she’s a prodigy), and it’s when that kind of praise gets levied, people like me probably start to go “Why is she being hailed as such a great talent?” I don’t doubt that she’s appealing on some level to the demographic she caters to, but it’s hard to take the PR marketing around her level of talent seriously (for me, anyway.)

      • Pinky says:

        +1 Allie plus her ra ra girl power but there’s a special place in hell just reeks of duplicity. It’s always been all about Taylor but only on Taylor’s terms, and I think that’s what is so disingenuous about her.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        perplexed, Britney was hailed as being talented for sure, but people usually qualified it as being about “stage presence” and not singing ability. Taylor’s career is different from Britney in the fact that she was not just a performer but a song writer. I agree that people over inflate Taylor’s musical talent, absolutely. She fills the pop star niche in a slightly different way than Brit, but it’s still the cute-girl-with-marginal-talent-appealing-to-teens shtick.

      • perplexed says:

        I guess the way Britney’s talent was marketed was less annoying to me than the way Taylor’s talent is (I did think Britney had stage presence, whereas I’m not convinced Taylor is a great songwriter). Nonetheless, I’ll admit to being baffled at the time by how much success Britney had. Like, seriously baffled. At the time, I did not appreciate her and was terribly annoyed by her domination. However, the current day pop stars like Selena and Demi are so bland, I guess I kind of miss Britney now — whoops. Or maybe familiarity with Britney has bred some kind of nostalgia.

        Who knows — maybe I’ll miss Taylor Swift a decade from now, when everybody else will most likely seem so much worse than she does now.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I was a dancer when Britney came out, and was surrounded by really amazing dancers. When people were like “she can’t sing, but she’s a great dancer”, it kind of drove me nuts because I saw her as consistently being behind the beat and doing moves that were sloppy and minimized imitations of what her back up dancers were doing. If they were just going to use a hot dancer as the face of the product, there were a lot of people that could fill that role from my perspective. Her performances reminded me of high school talent shows, not professional talent. But yes…then I see Selena Gomez now, staring at her feet, and in comparison Brit’s performance were amazing, lol.

        I don’t think Taylor is that talented (you’d think she’d be better at guitar by now since she is always holding it), but for some reason it doesn’t bother me as much. But I think it is because I am not a guitar player or writer, so her lack of strength in those areas doesn’t grate me as much personally. And I am more disillusioned with the star making process now. I used to think being famous meant you were the best, but now I know that is crazy naive.

    • Lipreng says:

      As someone who works with children diagnosed with high functioning autism, I find that to be really offensive.

  5. MSmlnp says:

    So perhaps she is disingenuous about reality?

    Sounds familiar.

  6. LookyLoo says:

    Is it white privilege or rich privilege? I would do the exact. same. thing for my child. They just had the ability to do it. And say what you will, she works like a beast at it.

    • meme says:

      I agree. It’s “rich” privilege, just like the Smith, Willis, Baldwin and Hadid kids. Only Taylor actually has talent.

      • katie says:

        Exactly. This isn’t about white privilege; it’s about privilege period. But seriously, what parent doesn’t put all they have into making sure their children succeed?

        Those of us who are celebrities just do it in different ways.

      • WTW says:

        @Katie @Sloaney, it is about white privilege because people of color in this country don’t have generations of people in their family who were bank presidents. That’s a direct benefit of being white in a country that enslaved Africans, decimated the indigenous population and expanded its empire by treacherous means. Beyonce and Kanye were born into average middle class families. People are suggesting that they are somehow privileged simply because they weren’t born in the ghetto, which white America seems to think is the default birthplace of most blacks. It isn’t. Trying to compare a middle class black person to a white woman like Taylor whose family benefited from generations of institutional wealth, likely because of the country’s history of oppression, is incongruous. This doesn’t excuse Kanye’s crazy and offensive behavior towards Swift, but it should be noted.

      • Susan says:

        My friend was born in the poorest coalfields of Appalachia. Her dad was paid “company scrip” that could only be spent at the company store. Not even real money when he was employed. Horrific, terrible stories she tells of making tomato soup from ketchup packets and living a migrant life while the father sought work. Through her bootstrap mentality, she was able to do well in school, with teachers supporting her she got grants to go to college and is now a lawyer, with a great income by most all our standards. And yes she is white. And privileged. She doesn’t have “generations of parents that were bank presidents ” she is the first person in her family to get a college degree much less a masters.

        My point is painting with a broad brush is wrong. And no, “America doesn’t seem to think all blacks are born in the ghetto.”

      • esthetix says:

        @WTW, wonderful comment!

        It’s so much easier to blame economic discrimination because, at least in America, your class or wealth is seen as malleable. If you’re poor, it’s kinda your fault and therefore don’t deserve our compassion. But, if you work hard, you too can make it. If this were a race thing, something that you have no control over…well, that would be really depressing.

      • The Original Mia says:

        @WTW, I applaud your statement. We don’t have generational wealth and privilege to fall back on.

      • V4Real says:

        @WTW Yep, definitely privilege.

        I also think they are missing the part where Taylor’s father invested into the record company that she was on. He pretty much bought her an opportunity. Unless you’re Lil Romeo (Master P’s son) How many want to be singers have a daddy that has stakes in a record company that you are signed to..

      • Pinky says:

        @Susan no one is saying poor white people who struggle don’t exist. You’re missing the huge elephant in the room that systemic racism exists and therefore every. single. POC. is affected by it, regardless of what socioeconomic bracket they were born into.

      • Susan says:

        @Pinky you missed my point as well. Painting with a broad brush is stereotyping. I don’t agree with it in any format. Perhaps it’s personal because if you knew me you’d know I defy many stereotypes and pride myself on that.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “Beyonce and Kanye were born into average middle class families.”

        I agree with your overall points about generational wealth and how that has such a long and lasting impact on a family for decades. I have to disagree about Beyoncé, though. I think she has made statements that suggest her family was not middle class, but wealthy. She has said she grew up with “servants” and her dad drove luxury cars. He invested in her career much like Taylor’s father did. I think her experiences are such an outlier, though, and it is far from a typical situation. I think she made the comments about her family’s wealth because of your other point, that some people assume most black families come from the “ghetto”. Her career and treatment in pop culture has been affected by race, no matter what her financial upbringing.

    • SloaneY says:

      This. I think this is more class privilege or wealth privilege. I’m sure the poor whites growing up in shacks with no electricity in the Appalachian mountains don’t feel privileged.

      • jc126 says:

        SloaneY, I agree that poor whites don’t feel privileged and that they are NOT privileged. I’ll be interested to see if anyone can come along and tell us how poor white people are in fact privileged.

      • Kitten says:

        Poor whites don’t generally get pulled over for being white or followed around in a high-end store for being white or shot on the street for being white.

        So while being poor in Appalachia is a struggle in and of itself, a poor white person living in an Appalachian community still has it far better than a poor black person living under the same circumstances.

        As I’ve said before, people around here get hung up on this very narrow definition of privilege. They like to isolate the term so they can define it as class and monetary wealth but really privilege has more to do with socioeconomics.

      • Pinky says:

        Are you for real? Maybe because statistically poor white people aren’t shot by cops on the daily? Or routinely incarcerated for misdemeanors, poisoned or hey how about left to drown by their government?

      • jc126 says:

        No, I’m not at all in agreement that poor white people in Appalachia have it better than poor black people, many of whom live in inner cites, while poor whites tend not to be in big cites. Large urban centers have infinitely more services available and better schools and hospitals, for one thing, as well as public transportation. Isolation is an enormous disadvantage.
        Interesting you mentioned poisoning – lots of poor white people who are lucky enough to find a job often go into coal mining, where they can develop black lung disease over the years. What poisoning are you referring to?

      • Kitten says:

        Sigh. Why is this so difficult for people to understand?

        You have to stop thinking privilege = wealth. That’s not what privilege is although it can and does include wealth, privilege is not DEFINED by wealth. Privilege is defined by rights that are granted to a group of people and not granted to another group of people, end of.

        An example of male privilege would be a man being able to walk home at 3AM in the morning without having to worry about being raped/attacked/harassed. While women technically have the ability to walk home alone at 3AM, most of us wouldn’t because we’d be too scared something could happen to us. Additionally, society tells us that as women, we need to be cautious and protect ourselves. A wealthy white woman or a poor white woman…doesn’t matter–BOTH would still avoid walking home alone at 3AM. It has NOTHING to do with how much money they have or don’t have.

        What’s bizarre to me is that many of these same commenters will acknowledge that a white man in this country has it better than a white woman. These same commenters will get outraged reading about women who make less than men for doing the same job yet there’s this strange mental block when that same scenario is applied to race.

      • Pinky says:

        +1 Kitten

        @jc126 I’m embarrassed for you right now. A little town called Flint, MI.

      • Susan says:

        See my above post. Appalachia is not easy.
        Google the water issue from two years ago in WV.

      • Marty says:

        @Kitten- Really all it takes is 10 minutes and a quick Google search to understand white privilege and how it attributes to a person’s success regardless of economic status BUT I guess people are more willing to write two paragraph comments on how it doesn’t matter?

        It’s not even noon and I’m already tired.

      • Saks says:

        Yes, but I also agree with Kitten, priviledge has a lot more to do with socioeconomics and the impact it has on cultural references,

        E.g. I have a very pretty Polish friend who has been almost detained twice because when two police officers heard her accent they assumed she was a prostitute. Yes, if she doesn’t talk people assumes she is a typical US citizen, as oppossed to a POC person like me (I’m Mexican) who, as someone said brilliantly in a past post, needs to prove we are some of the good ones and for example I know that when I am in the US, they will inspect my luggage more carefully and there is always a person to side-eyed me if I speak in Spanish with my family, etc. (I have stories for days…)

        It’s just that stories like this makes me think we sometimes just throw around terms, without a proper thought.

      • jc126 says:

        Aw, Pinky, you’re embarrassed for me? How sweet. Keep spouting catchphrases and trying to get the other girls to like you here, since you’ve clearly run out of arguments when you resort to “I’m embarrassed for you”. Or the ever popular “wow, just wow”.

      • Pinky says:

        Right, like when you say I’m “derailing the conversation” because you can’t conceptualize that Taylor Swift’s wealth is directly related to the white privilege steeped into American history. Keep coming at me, jeci126. What else you got?

      • ViktoryGin says:

        Super-late to the discussion and it’s been ages since I’ve commented, but the virtually willful ignorance is astounding. White privilege is the inequitable but completely calculated outcome of years of Western hegemony. It doesn’t even just exist within the West but in other countries where whites aren’t even an indigenous population. I lived and worked in South Korea for four years and repeatedly encountered examples of darker-skinned peers of mine being shut out of employment opportunities purely because they weren’t white. I dated this Finnish Tae Kwon Do intructor who had recommended his replacement when his contract was finished. His recommendation was a qualified Argentinian man, and his school director lamented that he feared that the Argentinian man wouldn’t be as good purely because the Argentinian man wasn’t “white” (nevermind how Latin American categorize race themselves). Or my acquaintance who would have doors literally close on him when he was scouting English-teaching gigs because “they only hire whites” despite being equally as qualified or teaching from textbooks where most of the foreigners were white and the dark-skinned one looks like caricatures out of a 19th century minstrel show. Or how the word for “foreigner” for in Korean immediiately codes for “white” when it’s supposed to be all-inclusive of people of non-Korean origin. There are more anecdotes where that comes from. White privilege if very real and stubbornly denying that it exists or is just a figment in the imaginations of minorities with axes to grind doesn’t make it so.

      • jc126 says:

        @Pinky, stop shifting the content of your argument. One minute it’s how blacks are mistreated by the police, the next it’s how generations of some white people have more wealth throughout U.S. history. None of that is news to anyone here. Again many of us are saying that it’s wealth privilege these days more than just white privilege.

    • Sam says:

      Yeah. I mean, the author is operating under the presumption that this is somehow a “white” thing. Britney Spears was raised a low-income white person in the south. Her family blew through their entire savings and nearly went into bankruptcy to try to support her career. The only major difference is that Swift’s family had enough of an income to not have to risk everything. And let us not forget that Kanye West had, by every account, a fairly comfortable middle class existence, largely because his mother Donda had worked hard and educated herself. This piece is stretching really far, I think. Taylor Swift is not representative of white musicians.

    • Gardenia says:

      Well said. Rich privilege, not white privilege. This website is too quick to jump on the white privilege argument.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree, it sounds like rich privilege.
      Considering she got her start in country music, I’m assuming she didn’t face prejudices that a person of color might, but everything the author is writing about has to do with the family’s wealth and ability to use it, not their race.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      So uh quick question can someone point me to all these lucky children of rich POC who are just skating through their careers?

      If we’re talking just being rich and around, sure, I can point to that easily but actually having and being successful in a career? Oddly enough I can’t point to that.

      Will Smith couldn’t buy his kid’s careers. Obama’s children are smart as hell and work hard. Whitney Houston’s daughter was basically constantly struggling with not being able to equal her mother.

      As others have said Taylor Swift is pretty damn average when you judge her purely on her talent and her material. Would an equally average black child with rich parents make it? Nope.

      • Tammy says:

        So Taylor is skating through her career? Maybe Will Smith couldn’t buy his kids careers because they have NO TALENT.

        I don’t know.. for someone so damn average, Taylor has not only made a ton of $$$, she’s won quite a few awards for skating through her career and being damn average.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        But Tammy…none of what you said disproves my point.

        The point is talentless average whites can be top of their field and talentless (going with the kids examples) average blacks aren’t. That would be white privelage. Even wealthy blacks can’t buy a career for their kids unless that child is already skilled/talented.

        The biggest name in male actors couldn’t get his son into more than one movie outside of his cute stage. Guess the check on the rich privelage for Will Smith bounced or something, hmm.

      • Susan says:

        Is Taylor average? Yeah that is subjective but I don’t disagree. But is she the first “average” pop star to come along? Will she be the last? HARDLY.

      • Tammy says:

        I don’t see Taylor Swift as average or talentless or skating through her career. She works hard. Whether it be marketing herself or staying relevant, writing songs about being done wrong by the man of the moment, she works hard at it. She’s smart. I’ve never seen her live and probably never will. It’s not the music I really listen to on a regular basis but my niece does and I will go, oh that is very catchy. Shake it Off comes to mind.

        Do I disagree about the white privilege? No, not at all. She has it and she;s tall, blond and thin. That opens a lot of doors. But for her to still be writing (somewhat), singing, touring and making A LOT of money after her dad bought her career 14 years ago is more than just white privilege. She’s not talentless or average.

      • Marty says:

        @Tammy- it’s nice that you’re a fan, but Taylor’s still mediocre and cruising on the opportunities not afforded to PoC.

      • Lindsay says:

        How do you know Obamas kids are ‘smart as hell and work hard’? We don’t know anything about those girls at all.
        I fail to see how getting internships due to nepotism and connections equals to ‘hard work’. Do you really think Malia had to fight very hard in order to get those cushiony jobs? Please! She probably barely lifted a finger in the entire process! We have no idea who his girls really are and just how hard they worked.
        The fact is yes Taylow Swift had rich parents but she got rejected from plenty of recording companies and did work very hard for her career. I highly doubt O’s daughters will ever face that.
        And Whitneys daughter was a spoiled kid while growing up, when did she even try to go into her ‘mothers shadow’?. People who grew up with her said Whiteny allowed her do sleep around and do drugs at a young age. She wasn’t some young woman who was working hard or even leading a purposeful life. She had a live in boyfriend at 14 you know.

      • perplexed says:

        “The fact is yes Taylow Swift had rich parents but she got rejected from plenty of recording companies and did work very hard for her career.”

        Which is precisely why her privilege has helped her. A person with that kind of wealth in her corner can afford to take more risks than the average person. A person in a different socio-economic bracket can’t afford that level of risk. Even if Taylor had failed in the long-term, she’d still have her parents’ money as a back-up to go to a prestigious college. Her parents’ wealth enabled her to off-set the possibility of winding up destitute if she had fallen flat on her face from trying to make her dream come true.

        I am of the opinion that Taylor works efficiently and smartly, but I don’t think we know for sure, even in her case, if she really works as hard as people claim. Once you get to that level, you have a whole team built around you to help you carry out your duties. I think she works smart because of how she executes the managerial aspects of her career, but we don’t know either in her case if she works harder than, say, the Obama children (i.e who are younger and I assume are working towards a different kind of career than pop star). Despite the fact that he’s the most powerful man in the world and has achieved the pinnacle of political aspiration, I do think President Obama knows more about experiencing racism than Taylor Swift does though.

      • Tammy says:

        @Marty…not really a fan. I don’t hate her though. If she had ZERO talent or was just average, she wouldn’t be making the money she is today.

      • Pinky says:

        “How do you know Obamas kids are ‘smart as hell and work hard’? We don’t know anything about those girls at all.
        I fail to see how getting internships due to nepotism and connections equals to ‘hard work’. Do you really think Malia had to fight very hard in order to get those cushiony jobs? Please! She probably barely lifted a finger in the entire process!

        @Lindsay Very problematic comment. If the Obama girls can’t be smart as hell and work hard because we don’t know anything about them, then how can you say Malia didn’t do anything to get where she is. And THEN drag a dead girl (who happened to be recording new music when she died) because she had the unfortunate luck of being born to addict parents, who very clearly were unable to raise her in a healthy environment.

        Lastly, you do realize that Taylor Swift’s daddy bought her a record company after all those rejections, right? And that even tho Obama girls are “priviledged” (which their parents have made them well aware), they are black and therefore thanks to systemic racism, will always be at a disadvantage in our country.

      • Lindsay says:

        @ perplexed
        Malia wants to be an actress or a movie director. So she does want a Hollywood career and will have no problem getting it I bet you.
        And I was not talking about who has experiences more racism but about how talking about who you all claim TS is only in Hollywood due to being white. She is not.
        If you are gonna cal her out for having wealth and status, then I can call out the Obama daughters for having the same thing. They haven’worked a day in their privileged lives yet I don’t hear anyone criticizing them for pursing what they want.

      • perplexed says:

        “And I was not talking about who has experiences more racism but about how talking about who you all claim TS is only in Hollywood due to being white. She is not.”

        But even the kind of privilege the Obamas have doesn’t insulate them from racism. That’s where TS being white does help her. If someone as powerful as Obama can face racism, then chances are a POC who doesn’t have that kind of power but aspires towards the kind of career Taylor Swift has is likely to encounter obstacles she won’t. That’s the implication to be drawn from President Obama as an example.

        I’m also not sure if I really get the point of calling out the Obama kids for not having a worked a day in their lives at the present time when they’re still only kids. In a decade, this might make sense, but right now? They’re not 25 yet like Taylor Swift. They’re still in high school, most likely trying to apply to college. Sasha Obama is only 14 — why would we expect her yet to have a job/career where she’s worked hundred of hours? And Malia is 17 — still 8 years younger than Swift. Their aspirations may lean towards Hollywood, but it looks like they also want to pursue an education as well, so obviously the way they’re going to approach their goals at the current time will be different from Swift. Right now, they’re probably studying for or have just completed their SATs, like other kids their age ( since it seem their parents appear to expect them to go to university), not looking for record companies to give them at a chance to record a pop album.

      • Pinky says:

        OMGGG who here is claiming Taylor is only here because she’s white? Is that what you’re taking away from this convo??

    • vauvert says:

      Whether you like TS or not, all the money in the world couldn’t keep her on the charts if music buyers didn’t actually go out and buy her albums. Talented or not (I like some of her music and I am nowhere in her target market) she is consistently selling albums and tours.

      Yes, she had tremendous advantage starting because her parents could afford to support her career and were willing to put all that effort into it. She worked damn hard to take advantage of it and reach this level of success. I call that benefitting from rich privilege, from a supportive family who wasn’t toxic and self destructive (LiLo), who helped her manage her talent (not a musician, but didn’t Tiger Woods’ family act similarly – supporting him financially from a young age to an insanely succesful golf career?)

      I don’t see why that is a problem. I would do the same for my kid. I imagine most loving parents would. I guess the only thing one could take issue with is that some of you feel like she is acting like she had obstacles to conquer. I sincerely have no idea about that, I don’t care enough to delve into it. I do like her clean image, I do like her generous acts towards fans and her general charitable actions. I couldn’t care less whether she had friends in school or not, that doesn’t affect my opinion. Would someone really buy her music if they believed that story, either way?

      • Susan says:

        I agree 100 percent vauvert. We keep trying to make this a race thing–and yes, I agree wholeheartedly, POC face discrimination and challenges throughout all aspects of their lives and it’s horrible and something needs to be done about it–but ths specific situation is about money.

      • Pinky says:

        Hey I’m not trying to troll you here, but what you are failing to recognize is that her money, how she started and how she got where she is now, is directly related to her white priviledge.

      • lucy2 says:

        I agree. Whatever one thinks of her talent, her upbringing, her privilege, the market has spoken and people have bought into it. Same can be said for Katy Perry, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, boy bands, etc. One may or may not consider them the most musically talented, but they have SOMETHING that people have responded to and made them stars.
        Many have tried to have a music career through money, fame, or connections, but if the fans don’t buy, it doesn’t last. Nobody demanded more albums from Paris Hilton or any of the Real Housewives. And there’s a long history of popular actors releasing albums and fizzling out fast.
        If they don’t catch on, no amount of money or promotion is going to make it happen.

      • Susan says:

        @Pinky well it sure appears like a troll.
        Opinions are like assholes everyone has one.
        Not sure why only certain opinions are welcome, though.

    • Marie-France says:

      @WTW: I agree a 100% with what you’re saying.

  7. Tiffany says:

    I thought this was common knowledge, she wanted to be a star and her parents made it happen. There was no struggle and she has never heard the word no. She is a work horse but not a particularly talented one. I also think she would have faded if people stop talking about her.

    • Ennie says:

      Her music is too catchy to just fade.
      I wasn’t sure of her music when the last album came. I was not eager to hear it ,but then I saw cops singing “shake it off” in youtube, and I gave up and checked her new songs.
      She might not be writing new classics, but she is doing her part, and a singer like her is needed around. Everything is too sexualized, and she is happily taking a place in the market. I prefer to see her style that the anaconda one, for example, and she has good videos and nice music.
      I think she is a hard worker, she could be relaxing by the pool instead.

      • snakecharmer says:

        yes! i do not think the vitriol for her is warrented at all. and as an aside i really respect what she did to help ke$ha

      • Lynnie says:

        “Everything is too sexualized…” lmao

        Doesn’t Taylor have lingerie as her tour outfits? “Wildest Dreams” isn’t your average going to church song. Why is Taylor’s version of sexy more acceptable than Nicki Minaj’s? Believe me if Taylor wasn’t so damn savvy about her target market (teenyboppers and their pearl-clutching mothers) she’d be looking for ways to tap into the reclaimed sexuality market going on too.

    • Pinky says:

      All too true. Genius marketer, hack artist. Which wins out? We’ve known the answer since time immemorial. And she’s got a crackpot team behind her helping her make excellent business decisions. (I’m giving credit where credit is due, here.)


    • lucy2 says:

      It’s not news to me either – ever since she got famous, I knew she came from money and her parents worked to start her career. I don’t think I’ve ever heard otherwise, or seen it implied that she didn’t grow up with money or struggled.
      There’s plenty to criticize her about, but this seems a stretch.

    • Josephine says:

      I don’t see her fading without her parents money. She displayed real talent at a young age and she somehow manages to connect to a lot of girls through lyrics that she writes herself. I’m too old for her music, but still find it nice that there can be a female pop star that doesn’t resort to T&A as her best asset.

    • Colleen says:

      @Tiffany, I think your comment most accurately and succinctly sums up Taylor Swift.

  8. aims says:

    Taylor is a very smart business women. She isn’t some shrinking flower. She’s very much about self promotion,and she’s not about positive female empowerment and helping one another.It’s about her and what someone can do for her. She isn’t as nice as everyone thinks she is.

  9. Eleonor says:

    Yes both Kanye and Swifty benefited from that mess, BUT now it’s Kanye who’s talking about it AGAIN, years later, there was no need to do that. Unless you need to bit@!! about the biggest name of the moment to get attention and free publicity. I am not sorry for her, but I think this is too much.

  10. shannon says:

    Her and every other white celebrity!

  11. Esther says:

    in before Taylor uses feminism to shield herself.

    also white women butthurt about being called out on their privilege.

  12. LB says:

    I will never root for Kanye and his messiah complex. But I will also never root for Taylor and her passive-aggressive victim complex. Team no one.

  13. Jegede says:

    I’m really starting to feel sorry for Swift.

    She seems to be the go to outlet for every frustration/anger/bile essay while her never ending detractors insist she deserves it cause she’s being played as a victim.

    All this is confusing me.
    But I’m neither a feminist nor a liberal, so I’m not the intended audience anyway. All’s well.

    • Jenny says:

      You’re not a feminist? So you don’t believe men and women should be treated equally? Well no wonder you’re so confused…

      • Miss Grace Jones says:

        Yes because the only reason someone could be against feminosm is because they hate women. Not for any other possible reason like it’s history of racism you can google or lack of intersectionality or lack of focus on groups besides privileged white women. Or the reactionary ‘you just hate women’ dismissal instead of focusing on internal problems with feminism that may turn other women off of it. I wish you people would grow out of this knee jerk response phase.

      • SugarQuill says:

        Nobody is saying that feminism is a perfect, flawless unicorn that didn’t or doesn’t still have problems, but few things are a home run right out of the gate. Feminism, like the civil rights movement and the LGBTQ movement or any other movement advocating social change, has evolved and changed throughout history. There are so many currents and trends in feminism today that the only reason I can think of for not identifying with at least one of them is ignorance and a lack of research. Intersectional feminism, for example, is a thing. IMHO, it seems much more sensible to try and change an already established movement/ideology for the better than to start from scratch (which would also inevitably end in disillusionment if you keep holding on to or hoping for a utopian fantasy of a movement geared toward female empowerment). Feminism has accomplished and is accomplishing many positive things, too, you know, and I don’t think they should be disregarded or dismissed as easily as you seem to be doing that.

        I’m also dying to hear what non-feminists like you and Jegede suggest as an alternative to feminism that would be just as impactful. And please don’t say humanism. That’s a whole different ball park.

      • Kitten says:

        Womanism is the alternative I see most people getting on-board with these days.

        FWIW, I’m a feminist and proud of it.

      • Miss Grace Jones says:

        @Sugarquill if you’re only response to someone pointing out the systematic racism in your precious movement is to wring your hands with flimsy excuses and ignoring that it has problems with the lgbt community-particilatly the trans movement–and make some pathetic jab about ‘oh what other options are there’ you are exactly part of the problem. Try doing a Google search of womanism instead of spewing out time wasting party lines and immediate defensiveness against any criticism especially when WOC have been trying to change the movement from within for long enough and don’t need to be told how to react and what’s ‘sensible’ when it comes to their complaints.

      • SugarQuill says:

        @Miss Grace Jones, my response is that, since we know better now, we can DO BETTER in order to make sure that feminism becomes a more inclusive movement for all women, regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion, etc. I won’t argue with you about how feminism has failed to be representative of women who face additional layers of oppression, that is absolutely true. But I also think there has been progress on that front (although slow), especially considering how intersectionalism and intersectional feminism have finally entered the mainstream in the past year or so. The latter overlaps quite significantly with womanism and shares most of its principles, which is what I was talking about when I said that there are so many different kinds of feminism that it is next to impossible to not find at least one you can get behind, although I understand why WOC and women belonging to other minority groups might want to distance themselves from feminism. I don’t necessarily agree with that decision, but I do understand. As long as we are working toward the same goal, i.e. equality and female empowerment, and as long as we are aware of the problems that women still face in society, I don’t really care about the label. One day, hopefully, we will have a women’s movement that isn’t quite as divided internally. Until then, you do you.

        @Kitten, feminist here as well.

      • Tara says:

        Well said Miss Grace Jones. I love that you can’t be for equal wages if you don’t call yourself a feminist. I’m just not an “ist.” At all. To me, it leads to lazy thinking and pack mentalities.

      • mayamae says:

        I don’t really want to wade into this argument, but I just want to say that the term “you people” is never very helpful, and tends to make people dismiss even the most well thought out comment.

    • Jegede says:

      Yes Jenny, I was expecting that and proves why I’m not a feminist.

      But thank you for understanding my confusion. ////

      • SEB says:

        Just know that you’re not alone!

      • Miss Grace Jones says:

        I’m so tired of this knee jerk response like feminism is this flawless movement that never had any internal problems that turns people. Like the condescending attitude that anyone who disagrees with them lacks intelligence or is a misogynist. It’s gratingly immature.

      • Misti says:

        I’m not one either and proud of it. I have reasons and my realities for my own belief system and I stand by it. When I get the usual “You’re stupid/ignorant/confused/e.t.c” from horrified angry feminists, I just smile politely and walk away briskly.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        A person who is for equality but chooses to reject the feminist label because of racism, TERFs, SWERfs, victim-blaming, and different forms of misogyny and bigotry within the movement is definitely NOT the same as the women and other people who are against the actual concept of feminism because they see progress as ‘immoral’ or ‘unnatural’ and subserviently want to uphold the Mike Huckabee/Donald Trump/Ben Carson/Rush Limbaugh/ Jim-Bob Duggar status quo. The first person is rejecting/questioning feminism because they’re not liking the systemic oppressions seen within the movement; The second person actively wants to stand in the way of equality and keep those systemic oppressions going. So while supporting pay equality is great, any woman (or anybody else) deliberately upholding those mens’ misogynistic, homophobic, racist beliefs in the name of “‘Free Speech’, The Natural Order Of Things, And Traditional Values is VERY confused if they think they’re promoting equality. #Sorrynotsorry.

    • HeyThere! says:

      Umm, you don’t believe in equality for women? It kills me when a female says she ain’t a ‘ feminist’! It’s not a dirty word. It’s okay to be a feminist! My husband is a feminist! He wants me, and all women, to have equality in the world. La sigh…

  14. Tala D says:

    And I’m sure the children of Kanye won’t benefit from any sort of privilege in their futures

  15. georgia says:

    So the author thinks because she was a model and won singing contest she was popular and cool and everyone liked her? Because her family is wealthy she didn’t work hard to get where she is now? Does the author know that Taylor Swift had a songwriters contract before a recording contract. That she’s been working practically her whole life to be where she is know.

  16. crack fox says:

    You know who else’s father was a higher up at a tech company who pulled resources to put his daughter on? Beyonce.

  17. Cookiepuss says:

    So she grew up in mansions and is a rich girl. Ok. The point that really sticks for me is that her dad essentially bought a record company so she could become a star. at that point it doesn’t matter how talented she is or not. Daddy is a main investor, daddy can threaten to remove funding for a company (and threaten the livelihood of employees) if baby girl doesn’t become a hit. Yeah that’s privilege. class privilege.

  18. MexicanMonkey says:

    Why is this specifically ‘white’ privilege? I feel like in the midst of all these fights for social justice people are forgetting the most important privilege anyone can have: Money.
    That’s what’s at play here. Rich parents handing their rich kids the career they want on a silver platter.
    Same with Jaden and willow Smith and the Hadids and Delevigne and Brooklyn Beckham.

    • Jayna says:

      Thank you.

      And Swifty is a gifted songwriter who has proven that by album after album, and the girl is driven and a workhorse. Lots of rich kids never make it to the heights she has, and I give her that credit, no matter what lift she got in the beginning.

    • Pinky says:

      Because historically, POC have been consistently & institutionally denied ANY economic opportunity. Context, people.

      • jc126 says:

        But the context in question is that being rich is the biggest advantage anyone can have, regardless of ethnicity. So the article blasting her for white privilege seems stupid when a lot of us believe it’s about wealth privilege.

      • Pinky says:

        Believe what you want, doesn’t change the fact that white people historically have controlled wealth (and access to it) in America.
        I seriously don’t get why this is so hard to grasp. Nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade.

      • Sam says:

        Pinky: except history isn’t what’s being argued here. It’s specifically about Swift and her resources. So please, let’s not try to derail.

      • Pinky says:

        HAHA try not to derail, that’s rich. History is what helped Swift where she is today. End of. Just like history has systematically and categorically denied POC economic opportunities over and over and over again. Get it now?

      • jc126 says:

        No one’s arguing it was true historically, and we’re not the ones trying to derail the discussion.

      • Marty says:

        Being rich is not the biggest privilege you can have. If it were rich PoC wouldn’t still be fighting racial inequality. It doesn’t matter how much money you have if you’re still thought of as “less”.

        In this instance I think it has to do more with the fact that Swift came from a wealthy family. But to say that the fact that she is a white, straight, thin, blond-haired, blue-eyed woman didn’t contribute to her success is being disingenuous.

      • WTW says:

        @Sam Pinky is not derailing the convo by mentioning history. Taylor’s father came from a generational line of bank presidents. History is very much relevant in this case. Any black celeb you can name are all new money. The white supremacist capitalist patriarchal system this country was founded on is very much responsible for why there aren’t generations of black bank presidents in the U.S.

      • Sam says:

        WTW: But what does that have to do with the current conversation? The article is about Taylor Swift (not her dad) – and you’re doing a tangent about bank presidents. What’s the relevancy? You’re arguing about entrenched wealth – but here’s a hot take: even a lot of rich white people don’t have that (Bill Gates? Steve Jobs?). Yeah, it’s a derail.

      • Pinky says:

        @Sam Your obtuseness confounds me.

      • perplexed says:

        “The article is about Taylor Swift (not her dad) – and you’re doing a tangent about bank presidents. What’s the relevancy? ”

        Taylor’s ancestors were bank presidents. That’s where their wealth comes from. And that is relevant to Taylor being able to get her foot in the door, and being able to keep it in there when times might have been tough in trying to find someone who could help her turn an album out.

        Bill Gates comes from a fairly wealthy family. I never thought of him as even just middle-class. He went to private school, where he had access to computers at a time when not everybody was familiar with what they could do — thus, the head start in being able to become learning how to tinker with them. And his mother was well-connected (she sat on the board of directors at IBM). And Bill Gates was able to network with other people like Paul Allen because of the privileged existence he came from.

        Steve Jobs was not as wealthy, but I think he did luck out in having Steve Wozniack being his best friend at the time. I dont think he could have achieved the success he did without Wozniack’s help (Jobs didn’t build that computer), and I’m not sure anyone would have listened to him about the magic of computers and how to market that magic if he weren’t white and male in the ’70s.

      • sanders says:

        WTW and Preplexed, Thanks for your analysis.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        That’s a good point Marty. I think that’s an easy thing for people to forget.

    • perplexed says:

      “Same with Jaden and willow Smith and the Hadids and Delevigne and Brooklyn Beckham.”

      People criticize these kids too. No one acts like Brooklyn Beckham got that internship on his own. And who doesn’t find Jaden and Willow Smith irritating? And the Hadids have been mocked for being too “fat” to model.

      I do think the fact that Swift is blond and blue-eyed helps in her marketing though.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      So let’s point to Jaden Smith’s thriving acting career and Willow Smith’s amazing music career.


      • Freebunny says:

        Taylor has the minimal talent to succeed, the Smith’s kids have not.
        If the Smith children were talented, even if a little bit, they would have career.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        So I guess you missed when Willow Smith’s first single was chart topping and everyone was on YouTube doing dance versions of it? Or the second single she did with Nicki Minaj…

        Or when Jaden Smith was praised for the Karate Kid remake with Jackie Chan.

      • Freebunny says:

        Please, I get that you want to defend the Smith children for whatever reason but Jaden is a terrible actor.
        Will bought his son an acting career with a blockbuster movie just for him and he failed.
        Willow’s single was an horror.
        So please, stop. They have no talent, people don’t want to hear them sing or see them act.

      • Lindsay says:

        @ Etnernal Side eye
        LOL where are you getting your facts from? The Smith kids have no talent at all. Jaden has been criticized for his poor acting in other movies and you can only name one of Willows song? Which was also being mocked at the same time?
        You do realize that Will Smith is not in the 2nd ID movie because he tried very hard to get Jaden a good role but the director told him no? So that alone probes how talentless his children are and why everyone is turned off by Will constantly trying to ram them down our throats!
        Please stop being delusional.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:


        Oh no. I’m not defending the Smith kids for ‘whatever reason’. I’m bringing up the point that it’s hilarious to watch white posters falling over themselves to say how talented Taylor Swift is and untalented everyone else is when they’re only judging economic success and chart position. Read any critical music review on Taylor’s work most rate her as medium to poor. Watch any live performance not under her tour and her voice cracks and struggles. In terms of guitar work she does nothing special just a basic chord progression and her lyrics that everyone trumpets as being written by her are terrible. Go ahead. Google a critical source. But she’s Americana packaged and your kid’s favorite artist so somehow all that averageness evaporates leaving behind the essence of success.

        @Lindsay and Freebunny

        To clarify my point I’m copying something I posted above:

        The point is talentless average whites can be top of their field and talentless (going with the kids examples) average blacks aren’t. That would be white privelage. Even wealthy blacks can’t buy a career for their kids unless that child is already skilled/talented.
        The biggest name in male actors couldn’t get his son into more than one movie outside of his cute stage. Guess the check on the rich privelage for Will Smith bounced or something, hmm”

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Eternal, your points are very clear. I hear everything you’re saying.

        I’m also perplexed by the amount of adult posters who are obsessed with trashing the Smith children. You would Jaden and Willow were criminals the way people talk about them here.

      • Pinky says:

        @AlmondJoy, just wait, it gets worse. 😏

    • Mona says:

      I agree. TS whether ppl like it or not is talented. And I fail to see how she beneifts from white privledge. If anything she has worked very hard in order to get where she is.
      I can name plenty of black children that are in Hollywood due to privileged. The Smith Kids, Malia Obama, AJ’s children, Ice Cube’s son, etc.

    • Tara says:

      IMO, it would be more helpful to discuss the “synergy” of rich privilege and white privilege. Rich privilege got Taylor her own vanity label, aka her start. White (thin / blond) privilege made it easier to sell her to the public.

      I do think it’s ludicrous for people to go into detailed comparisons of her music with other performers. In one breath, many of you are saying “yes, talent is subjective.” In the next, “but Taylor really SUCKS!” Then you go on to talk about record sales of your favorite artists… Because record sales prove superior talent. Except in Taylor’s case. Because she SUCKS!

      Frankly I haven’t listened to any of these poptarts. They’re all pretty boring. None of them should get the adulation they do, IMO.

      • Pinky says:

        What is this synergy you speak of? It’s one and the same. A POC can be extremely wealthy and still be profiled because of their color. That doesn’t happen with white people, does it? I’m a broke AF white girl and guess what? I’m never gonna get shot for wearing a hoodie. White priviledge doesn’t mean “blonde/thin” it means white, period. Fat thin blonde black haired poor rich, et al., it doesn’t matter. Even if Taylor was truly a rags to riches story, she would still benefit from her white priviledge. It’s just the way our system operates right now.

      • Anne tommy says:

        I can think a huge group of (mainly) white people who quite recently suffered atrociously Pinky: no white privilege for them. It was between 1939 and 1945 btw, and there were around six million of them. Not shot for wearing a hoodie, but gassed for wearing a skull cap maybe.

        No one with any intelligence would deny that POC are disproportionately disadvantaged socially and economically in the U.S and that POC experience horrible prejudice. Most people on this thread acknowledge that, even if they are referencing other people who are disadvantaged.

      • Veronica says:

        It can be argued whether or not Jews are considered part of what’s considered the traditional Caucasian demographic, but the racial demographics vary pretty heavily in that ethnic grouping either way. I’m not sure if it’s comparable in that regard. Anti-Semitism exists, absolutely, but I’m not sure how the Holocaust undermines Pinky’s point. The history of anti-Semitic backlash in Europe doesn’t undermine the reality of overreaching white privilege in the modern United States. Privilege and oppression are things that can overlap and exist within the same institution.

    • Ennie says:

      She’s talented enough to have lasted more than one single or just one album.
      Compare that with what Will Smith is trying to do with his children. Rich people privilege. If Will’s kids were charismatic and talented, then his efforts would be justified, and by this time they would be getting hired without their parents’ help. Whatever their color might be.

  19. kri says:

    You know, after all of this sh!t with Kesha and Dr, Luke coming out, I am seriously beginning to think that in the entertainment industry you must be “calculating (wise if you are a man), publicity-seeking(marketing yourself if you are a man), and taking advantage of opportunities give/presented to you ( taking charge of the situation if you are a man) in order to survive and thrive. I don’t like swift’s music, but that’s just my opinion. I do like that she manages her own self, she does do alot for charity, and it seem like even Kanye knows she is quite powerful. I think it galls the hell out of him. So while I’m not Team Swift, I’m gonna say if I was in her situation or my kid was, and I had those chances to take or give, I would do the same.

  20. Jade says:

    Taylor is not perfect (am I really looking for a perfect artiste anyway?) and she annoys me sometimes especially with her so called squad. Yes, she has had privilege and maybe her parent’s money helped. However, I still find her success at such a young age impressive and I have not heard stories of her being an unprofessional slacker. So far, she has been civil towards and good-natured towards her fans. So yes, I do not mind at all if she has longevity in the industry.

  21. OSTONE says:

    Taylor’s white privilege is just the same as all of my colleagues and friends whose parents paid for 4 years of university at top schools, have no debt of their own and cushy jobs right out of college because of who they know. Yes, the majority are white but I can safely say that it’s more of a wealth and class status than race in this case. There are white, black, Latino, Asians who struggle with a 40+ work week to make ends meet or are not privileged whatsoever because their parents could not afford to give them a jump-start. Taylor’s parents could, but damn let her be. She is highly successful, a brilliant business woman, calculating. Is she fake, twee etc? Of course, but who isn’t in hollywood? While I may not agree with her pick and chose feminism and her army or pretty girls, I see a highly successful woman that the establishment tries to bring down all the time because how dare she be unapologetically successful and influential?

  22. Allie says:

    It’s weird people are comparing Taylor to Beyoncé or Rihanna. Beyoncé may have had help from her parents and Rihanna may have had help from Jay-Z. Taylor had help from her wealthy parents and that’s fine. No one would judge her for that, if it wasn’t for her underdog image. Her marketing image shows her as a struggling artist, with constant rejection, bullied in high school and with journalists. This isn’t the case. She was handed a record deal. Her parents bought her a record company. She was rich and friends in high school. They’re just calling out the lies of her marketing. Beyoncé doesn’t keep projecting herself as an underdog.

  23. LtoZ says:

    all of this taylor swift drama and i can’t believe i am just NOW remembering but – i dated a guy who was a musician (oh right – that is why this is completely blocked from my memory). anyway he worked in a recording studio in PA and was in a band. a band he worked with got hooked up with Taylor b/c she was on the Jamboree in the Hills line-up – which is a big thing in WV and southern PA. She only had one album out at the time. They talked her into visiting the studio and she booked time there. They said her session was GOD AWFUL but her dad walked in, plunked down a check that was way more than the going rate for studio time/engineers and told them to make it work. That is also how she got her RCA contract…

  24. Cynthia says:

    Eh, I don’t think the writer should have insisted so much on her parents money, Beyonce’s parents pretty much did the same. Taylor is not extremely talented but she also has the looks and the smarts to make it in the industry. What I dislike about her is that she perpetually paints herself as the victim, it seems that the whole world is out to get her.
    I have never heard her making any kind of introspection on her relationships in her music, it’s always somebody else fault. She keeps leaving hints in her songs but the press is sexist to talk about her love life. Joe Jonas leaves her and after a while gets with another girl, that girl is a slut who plotted on her. A critic makes a bad review, Taylor writes a song about how mean and pathetic he is. Get my point?

    • dawn says:

      And Kanye West goes on a twitter rant and says nothing but made up jargon to try and make the guy look bad who dared to call out West. Rhi-Rhi just hides when it happens to her and I could just go on and on. And the first thing one learns in writing classes is to write what you know. Shame on Taylor for writing about her life but hey good for West for continuing to write about Nike for not giving him a designing job and money. But I get your point.

      • Cynthia says:

        I don’t know why you put Kanye and Rihanna in this, but they own their shit. Taylor writes about what she knows but apparently she is always wronged by somebody. Kanye admits f-king up and being to blame in Runway and Rihanna does too. So I really don’t know
        why you named this two.

  25. Lucy says:

    I have to admit, I can’t help but find her stone-cold, cunning, calculating, cat-owning villainess ways quite fascinating. That added to her work ethic. *hides*

  26. Nicole says:

    This is not news to me seeing as how I went to college with TONS of classmates of TS. And while all of this is true….she was not well liked at all. A lot of it her own doing but some of it being high school drama. Its actually funny to hear some stories but yes the TS fairytale of victimhood is great marketing. Its the same thing she does to this day. Every bit of valid criticism is being “mean” but her ability to slut shame a girl for dating her ex is a “mistake”

    Do I believe TS gets an unfair amount of ire? Sure but I really would love for her to grow up and take ownership of some of the BS she does

    • Cynthia says:

      I figured that out. The girl thrives on victimhood and keep painting herself as the victim when actually it’s all in her head.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Yep, I remember being surprised – but this was years ago – because I also believed the original Taylor Swift story about her HS and early music background and being shocked when several of her old classmates basically said it was all a lie.

      That she was the wealthy popular girl who got anything she wanted and quite often was the bully herself.

      It’s kinda funny in the grand scheme merely because ‘Poor Taylor’ has become such a huge part of her persona.

  27. Sam says:

    This isn’t white privelage. It’s called being rich. It’s no different than other people in the industry who have come up the same way. So many actors, actresses, and singers have come up the same way as Taylor. The difference has nothing to do with talent either. It has to do with being smart. She’s branded herself and she’s run with it. Think of how there

    • isabelle says:

      Exactly. Its rich syndrome rather than white privilege. Also lets face it, its pretty syndrome. Taylor skates by with her yes lack of voice range/talent because of her looks.

    • AlmondJoy says:

      Is it hard to believe that Taylor has rich privilege AND white privilege? A person can be privileged in more than one way.

      • lucy2 says:

        Fully agree she has both privileges (and a few others).
        But in the article above, all of the examples given seem to relate to the “rich” part, and I think that’s why there’s debate.

      • Ennie says:

        What would you cal what Will and Jada do with their children? getting them movies and record deals? it is the same. People get rich, they cut corners because they can, fair or not, they do this, mostly in every area of work. Staying, being successful , that’s different.
        Taylor stays because she has some kind of talent whether some like it or not, others just fade away after a few tries. Jaden Smith comes to my mind. He will keep trying. If he were to accept small roles, the nepotism and privilege would not be so blatant. It is like with the Beckham boy.
        I bet in countries where no white people live or are a majority, this type of privilege is very well alive. So, IMO, it is rich people privilege.

  28. Sam says:

    This isn’t white privelage. It’s called being rich. It’s no different than other people in the industry who have come up the same way. So many actors, actresses, and singers have come up the same way as Taylor. The difference has nothing to do with talent either. It has to do with being smart. She’s branded herself and she’s run with it. She’s just like her friend, Blake Lively. They both know how to play the game very well and everyone gets bitter about it. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

  29. Sisi says:

    Many people here on CB talk about 2 kanyes, the likable one and the unlikable one, and the transition from one phase to the other is often placed at either the death of his mother, or the start of the Kardashian-West age. They are treated as 2 different people. While in most posts Kanye is heavily criticised, when the Bush-slam was brought up a few months ago commenters seemed to think back to that in a very positive manner.
    The article referenced here only brings up pré-Kardashian Kanye moments. Sure those achievements count, but it’s been a while ago since we’ve experienced that guy. I remember that Behind the Music episode, he was cocky but also endearing.

    In the beginning of Kanye’s mainstream career he was mocked for being too emo for hip-hop, but because showing feelings in his music did not make him less than others in his opinion, he did make a difference and impacted the image of a genre known for toughguys.
    His latest albums are actually a step back from that imo – singing more about sex & money – and it feels like he’s regressed- and indeed lost influence.

    In my opinion Swift is considered a more influential artist because her target audience is easily influenced.
    Kanye has had an impact on a genre while Taylor hasn’t (pop = still pop), and his target audience isn’t easily influenced yet hers is. So it depends on how ‘influential’ is interpreted. And yes being influential also has to do with business savvyness, and Taylor & team beat almost everyone in the biz at the moment when it comes to efficiency and effectiveness in brand and target audience.

    • Monkeypox says:

      Someone who actually read the article! Amazing! But seriously, all joking aside, the article did a great job of articulating the reasons behind Kanye’s legitimate frustrations about being a black artist. I do disagree with you that all of Kanye’s recent work focuses solely on sex. I personally thought Yeezy was brilliant, particularly the songs New Slaves, Black Skinhead and I Am A God. He gave a great interview to Channel 4 news after the album dropped, explaining why he didn’t understand why people were so ready to buy up the thug persona, but the minute he declared himself a God (not The God), everyone was up in arms. Why can he not see himself as more than just negative stereotypes and tropes? Women can call themselves Goddesses but God forbid a black man call himself a God? Who does he think he is?

      I understand that Taylor works hard, no one denies that. But she is manufactured, and extremely shrewd, and frankly, I don’t think she’d be where she is now if she was a black, Asian, or Hispanic woman and not from an extremely wealthy background. She did a great job of making Kesha’s struggle all about herself with her donation. Why didn’t she take a vocal stand against Sony, like she did when she wrote a letter to Apple? Her vocal support would have been just as powerful as is her monetary donation. Again, I do think she uses feminism, sisterhood and all the other bells and whistles to position herself in a good light, but I don’t actually believe a word that comes out of her mouth.

      • Ennie says:

        Her donation was published by Kesha’s mother. If she had said something, she’d probably be accused of steeling the focus anyway. She was going to be criticized anyways.

      • Monkeypox says:

        Ennie, I respectfully disagree. Taylor Swift has never taken a stance against issues unless it directly benefited her in some way. I don’t think she would have been at all accused of stealing the focus if she had supported Kesha in some way other than monetarily. Direct from the article:

        “More worrisome, then, is the way Swift approaches current issues, not by shining a light on the issue itself, but by redirecting the focus back on her. When the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage throughout the U.S., Swift rejoiced by quoting a line from her own song; in her video for “Bad Blood,” she claimed to promote “sisterhood” by assembling a squad of heavily armed A-list friends to vanquish a Katy Perry surrogate; and when Nicki Minaj criticized the VMAs for its historical bias against black artists—which has been well-documented- Swift made it all about herself, accusing Minaj of not supporting other women (reminder: Swift’s nominated video was about recruiting a group of celebrity pals to destroy Katy Perry). Recently, she donated $250,000 to Kesha—while broadcasting the act, and the dollar amount, to the public. It’s a fine gesture, of course, but also a calculated one that’s deflected attention away from Kesha’s horrifying case and toward Swift’s altruism.”

  30. Squiggisbig says:

    Hmm…a white woman from a privileged background of questionable that is highly skilled at piquing and monetizing public interest in her through a series of high profile relationships. That sounds like someone Kanye knows really well….

  31. Guest says:

    Even though I’m not a fan of T. Swift,but really? “Kanye,entitled and white privilege” should not be in the same sentence.
    He married into a family who is nothing more then entitled,white and rich. They as a whole stand for nothing including kanye. Kanye stands for Kanye. The Kardashians/ Jenners stand for artificial beauty and…?
    But whatever. I’m not a fan of either.

  32. jm says:

    This article reads to me as a way to take away her success….look she may not be the most talented person ever but she writes decent catchy songs and certainly works her butt off. She’s not trying to coast on her fame even now…so her parents helped her that means she didn’t earn any of her success?

    • Dirty Martini says:

      While there is certainly truth to the privilege of being born to parents who can and did help……really some of this crap is just freaking over the top.

      Be fair……in addition to having that parental boost……it must be acknowledged that the girl works damn hard and she could have eff’d it all up…..but she didn’t.

      And the term white privilege is certainly a valid and existing phenomenon but it is overused in every conversation to the point that it has lost its true power. So swiftly is successful because of white privilege? Then why are the smith/pinkett kids successful? Black privilege?

      I’m just annoyed when our conversations are as deep as a puddle and basically boiled down to “he/she is only successful because (white/male/rich) and every good thing that has happened to said person is because of that “. As well as “every bad thing that ever happened to me is because I’m (insert race/gender/sexual orientation here)”.

      SMH at what passes for analytical discourse these days.

      • Marty says:

        You tried. You really tried it. But it’s easy to estimate the depth of water when you’re standing in a puddle. Try wading through the ocean of bulls**t that is systematic racism.

        White privilege has not lost it’s power, not when a white man who shot and killed six people is sitting comfortable in jail while black men are being shot in the head for traffic violations.

        Black privilege? Really? Nepotism, yeah, but you really tried to play that card huh? No one is saying Taylor isn’t a hard worker, but her money and the color of her skin certainly attributed to her success. To deny that is being willfully ignorant.

      • Kitten says:

        @ Marty-Nobody who should read this will read it but I’m posting it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/14/us/hospital-guns-mental-health.html?_r=0

        This American Life did a really compelling podcast in conjunction with the NYT article but this story perfectly illustrates the term “privilege”. Alan Pean is a young black man and the son of a doctor who grew up very wealthy and “privileged” –by the narrow definition that keeps getting trotted out around here. He drove a fancy car, was going to school to be a doctor, and still ended up getting shot AND arrested in a f*cking hospital.

        Aside from the central race issue, which was a huge eye-opener for Pean, it really speaks to how mentally ill people are treated as almost disposable in this country.

        Please please PLEASE read if you have time. It’s horrifying.

      • Tara says:

        Marty and Kitten: No one says white privilege has lost its power, but the phrase is. Any phrase used indiscriminately will start losing its meaning. Bringing in the fact of violent, systemic racism (a fact) and trying to use it to support a claim that a pop star embodies the term you’re using those images to support seems a very lopsided stretch. Then to shout down anyone who disagrees with the use of the term in this specific instance… Seems myopic at best.

        I’m well aware of systemic racism and think we should all find ways to fight it. Like protesting cop shootings of black people and showing up at the almost inevitable grand jury hearing choosing not to indict because “I feared for my life” “my fist was injured when he hit it with his face” “death by dying.”

        But this? Ha. No

      • Kitten says:


        “Bringing in the fact of violent, systemic racism (a fact) and trying to use it to support a claim that a pop star embodies the term you’re using those images to support seems a very lopsided stretch.”

        Whaaaaat? You must be confusing me with someone else..I find it odd that you’re coming at me when none of my comments about privilege had anything to do with Swift, but were stated within the context of the definition of privilege and how/why people were misunderstanding the meaning.

        Additionally, I’m sorry but you don’t get to decide what is or isn’t an example of white privilege or when someone should or should not get called out for it. The little, seemingly superficial or benign examples of privilege are just as relevant as the “violent” ones that you describe, all of which fuel and contribute to systemic racism. In fact, I would argue that the innocuous examples are often more detrimental as they are usually overlooked, justified, or downplayed, like you do here.

      • Marty says:

        @Tara- Oh you’re “well aware of systematic racism”? Congratulations. I’m sure the NAACP will be giving you a medal any day now.

        I was talking about white privilege as a whole and used it to tie back to the Swift discussion. I was not using her as an example although she obviously benefits from it.

        But please continue with your pseudo-intellectual, feaux progressive comments while telling me, a WoC, how to talk about white privilege.

      • Pinky says:

        +1 Your last sentence says it all, Kitten. Whoosh! Over their heads.
        Lol Marty, preach 👏🏼

  33. Micki says:

    I can’t believe I’m going to defend Taylot Swift, but she’s NOT the only one rich (white) privileged kid.
    But she is one of those who managed to DO something with all of her privilege. She could be a self hating drugged mess. She built successful career instead and is actually triving on hate. (My personal opinion)

  34. vava says:

    I don’t listen to her music at all, but once in awhile I do enjoy looking at some of her fashions. I like the haircut, I like the fringe. I also liked what she wore to the Grammy’s.

    So what if her parents helped her? Big deal. She’s obviously made a successful career, worked hard and all that. She has friends who love her. I’d rather read about her than some of these other people in the news lately (Kanye, Kardashians, Cambridges).

  35. OhDear says:

    Of course TS gets a lot of passes because of her race. Just compare people’s reactions to her vs. an equally famous nonwhite female recording artist (for example, Beyonce):
    * B and TS both have writing credits on their songs: “TS is so talented! She writes her own songs!” vs. “B must have only gotten the credit because she changed a word in the lyrics.”
    * B and TS both control their public images: “Oh, TS is such a great businesswoman!” vs. “B is such an insecure, fake control freak.”
    * B and TS talk about feminism: “Oh, look, TS is growing up and learning new things!” vs. “B must only be doing this for marketing purposes.” or “B can’t be feminist, she wears leotards onstage**.”

    ** Which provides as much coverage as TS’ stage outfits.

  36. Shannon says:

    Anything you want to do in life is probably going to be easier if your parents have a lot of money – period. I don’t respect her less because she came from money. I honestly don’t care one way or the other. I find her music catchy, so sometimes I listen to it. I don’t think that’s exclusive to white people. If little North decides she wants to go into music, you think Daddy Kanye isn’t going to pull strings to help her out, or fund her beginnings with his cash? I get that she’s privileged, but I don’t think her being white necessarily had anything to do with it (well, it may have helped since she started in Country music, which is notoriously white). It’s no different than parents going here there and yonder for sports events, band events, what-have-you, only on a much larger scale. Parents tend to help their kids achieve their goals to the extent of their ability. And water is wet.

  37. poppy says:

    none of this has been a secret, but her team, which has done everything for her, chose to really downplay certain aspects and polish others. it is why she is successful, she has a team of professionals, staring with her parents, from day one, carefully cultivate and manage her. all she had to do was show up and make the most of it. she can’t sing, but unlike many others, she hasn’t wasted one single opportunity (through ego, laziness, recklessness et al typical teen crap), and that is where she has been remarkable of her own volition.

  38. Hannah says:

    I really Dont think Taylor is all that but she’s everyones fave whipping dog now and it’s getting a bit over the top
    In this site everyone goes gaga for all those white posh male actors. It’s the same thing so if we are going to call out Taylor for white privilege then pleAse let’s call out all the white males too like hiddleston, cumbebatch, hardy, redmayne, etc etc the list is endless especially amongst the male Brits that are so popular in these parts. I never saw some liberal site like the daily beast or the guardian write a piece like this on a white male. They only call our white women for this kind of stuff.

    • J-Who says:

      So if all the black artists are hugely successful, should we attribute that to their black privilege in the music world?

      • Kitten says:

        Yeah no. “Black privilege” isn’t a thing.

        Let me explain it to you since you and others seem REALLY confused around here.

        Take a white family and a black family who are of equal income. Statistically speaking, the white family will have FIVE TIMES the amount of wealth that the black family has.

        Just let that sink in.

        FIVE TIMES the amount of wealth–wealth being anything that can be converted into money be it cars, savings, equity, etc.

        Why? Ever heard of the Jim Crow laws? Does the term “racist public policy” mean anything to you? You don’t recover from that overnight. It takes years and years to overcome that kind of systemic wealth disparity. THIS is what we’re referring to when we talk about “privilege”–consistent, systemic disadvantages faced by one group. Disadvantages that are so ingrained in our society that at one point in history, they were actually part of our LAWS.

        I can never get over how some people around here have this need to isolate an issue as if it exists in a vacuum, all so that they can claim that things are equal. Like, ignore years of slavery and denying people their basic rights because now things are different…except NO, it doesn’t work like that. Black people’s issues don’t exist alone, they exist BECAUSE of white oppression and a system that rewarded white people and punished blacks for decades.

      • Pinky says:

        Well said. And continues to do so. Guess who pays the highest interest rates on sub prime loans even if they qualify for a 4% fixed. That’s right! POC.

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Kitten, is it exhausting making so much SENSE all the time?! I mean, really girl, what’s wrong with you? 😉

      • Kitten says:

        @ Almond: ;)

        @Pinky-YES! And the new wage garnishing sh*t that companies are pulling as well. They’ve found that this primarily affects black people because guess what? Statistically speaking, the average poor white person can get their hands on $3,000 to pay back a loan FAR faster than a black person in the middle-income bracket. Again, disparity in wealth–it doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

        Even the family members of poor white folks have had years and years to accumulate wealth because guess what? They had the privilege and ability to do so. Point being that relatively well-off black people are still inherently more disadvantaged than poor white people. It’s soooo incredibly f*cked up and it’s infuriating and people need to stop getting offended by the term “white privilege” and start addressing the very real issues that this term describes.

      • SloaneY says:

        I really have to ask this– what is this accumulated wealth you keep going on about? Do you mean inherited wealth? Most people don’t inherit wealth in this country. Most are not inheriting cars or property, regardless of race. What exactly are you accumulating when you are living paycheck to paycheck at factory jobs and mired down in medical debt? Drowning in student loans. What wealth?

      • Pinky says:

        It can mean inherited wealth, and for the record statistically POC tend to inherit more debt than white people, but it’s really generational. It’s too in depth to go into here, but you have to look at it over the course of decades. So, for instance, when there was a housing boom after WWII, developers were building these huge suburbs with backing from investors, but those investors dictated who could live there. White buyers got the green light, POC nope OR we are gonna ding them with a higher interest rate on their loans. Take two working class men, one white, one black, and one man is paying more a month for his house than his neighbor, simply because the color of his skin. (Not to mention the black man is most likely making less than his white neighbor.) So you add that up over the course of that black man’s life, and you can see how his accumulated wealth is going to be less than his white neighbor’s. And this means less economic opportunity for his children, which of course will suffer the same prejudice, ad infinitum.

        FWIW White privilege doesn’t negate the fact that white people struggle and are faced with financial burdens, lack of opportunities, etc. It’s not a personal attack, it’s a systemic societal issue that inherently benefits white people as a whole.

      • SloaneY says:

        And I totally get that and understand that. Honestly, I do. But it feels like a personal attack. You can’t expect people to not generalize and see you as an individual when you aren’t willing to do the same. We need to help all people that are discriminated against.

      • Pinky says:

        Yeah I think that’s a huge challenge re: this subject. It’s not about YOU just because (I’m assuming) your white. I get what you’re saying, but POC have been generalized and not seen as individuals for a very long time. Acknowledging white privilege exists doesn’t automatically mean all white people are racist, you know? It just means we are aware of how our society operates, and how it categorically benefits some and not others.
        I’m a poor white girl btw, struggling in a lot of ways, and I benefit from white privilege every. damn. day. That doesn’t make me a bad person, it just means the system is flawed.

    • Kitten says:

      I do think she’s a favorite target these days, which is strange to me in the sense that there are dozens of young pop stars that are interchangeable with Swift, but nobody seems to sh*t on them. I don’t necessarily disagree with the article but I also don’t really get why Swift gets singled out. The characterization of her as an “evil villain” is particularly amusing to me, especially since the last story we had was about her donating $250K to Kesha’s legal fund. How evil! lol

      • perplexed says:

        The other pop stars aren’t as successful as her, I don’t think. In her Grammy speech, she pointed out that she’s the only woman to win the Best Album Grammy award twice (which made me go “wait, what?”. I think she’s interchangeable (which is precisely why her success surprises me), but I also do think her success is unparalleled at the current moment (she’s marketed well to teenage girls, which has resulted in great sales AND she wins the kind of awards that give an artist legitimacy — which is kind of rare). Only Adele can touch her. That would naturally invite more scrutiny.

        If Adele had a crappy personality and couldn’t sing, I think people would have a go at her because of how successful she is at the present moment, but she really is quite likable in interviews. I don’t think Taylor is unlikable, but I also don’t think she’s always that likable either. She’s somewhere in-between (like the rest of us).

      • Kitten says:

        Yeah you’re probably right in that Swift is more click-baity.

      • Susan says:

        I also think it’s a timing issue…wasn’t it a couple of years ago Katy Perry was THE GREATEST. (Please note sarcasm caps). Then, as we inexplicably do as a society, we built her up to tear her down. IIRC there was a scathing article about her recently calling her a “nothing burger.” I’m not even sure what that is but it doesn’t sound good.

        Basically it’s Taylor’s turn. She had a longer run than many.

      • perplexed says:

        Oh yeah! Yikes about Katy being called a “nothing burger”!

  39. J-Who says:

    Calling BS on this white privilege nonsense. She’s done very well because A) SHE WRITES HER OWN MUSIC, B) SHE WRITES HER OWN LYRICS, C) she worked her butt off to get where she is, D) she was able to connect with the teen girl angst group and E) because she’s a hardworking, genuinely nice person that gives back. Her career has reached the same heights as Beyonce, 50 cent, Kanye, P Diddy, Mary J Blige, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and countless other black artists that have also been HUGELY successful. Her success has nothing to do with her color or her “privilege” ( i get so effing tired of that phrase), it has to do with her work and her skills and her dedication to her music. And her fans. PERIOD!

  40. Shannon says:

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that “white privilege” isn’t a thing, I just don’t see it applying much to Taylor Swift’s success. That seems to be the biggest complaint about her lately: she’s white. I don’t think she had a lot of control over that and went all “white” to insult black people or something. She’s white, she’s successful, she came from a wealthy family – it happens. I don’t get how she’s become some kind of scapegoat for the existence of racism. She seems pretty legit and not offensive at all imo. She might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but she’s not, like, the antichrist

  41. Elle says:

    I always find she looks smug in photos lol. . But I do want to say that she is a privileged but successful woman. And regardless of privileged backgrounds- I’m all for successful women in general. That’s just my take.

  42. sauvage says:

    I’m not usually a conspiracy theorist, but this HAS to be the music industry fighting back because Taylor Swift publicly AND financially (talk is cheap, 250.000 $ is not) supported Kesha, and as a young, pretty blonde makes for a very nice target, RIGHT?

  43. word says:

    So what if her parents are educated and have good jobs? So what if her grandparents had money? She didn’t sit on her ass. She worked and earned her fair share. She’s not begging for hand outs like Kanye is.

  44. Div says:

    White privilege is a very real thing and Taylor Swift benefits from it. However, I believe it is a step too far to call her the “living embodiment of white privilege.” The Affluenza kid is the living embodiment; George W. Bush with his C average getting into Harvard Business School is the living embodiment. A young woman with a history of family wealth had a huge leg up in the business because of white privilege, but she’s not the embodiment because there are plenty of other rich white blonde girls who fall flat after being giving the same huge leg up. Being a rich white blonde girl is not the major reason for her success as some people say…the major reason is that she writes catchy hooks and she’s a marketing genius. Her white privilege is reason, but not a major one.

    I’ve also noticed that (primarily) white hipster writers have been misusing the term white privilege by either underplaying who benefits or exaggerating who does based on their own personal feelings (including the Daily Beast author). Very few people want to acknowledge that Adele, despite her extraordinary talent, benefits from white privilege as she is a likable, attractive, straight, white woman. However, with Taylor, who inspires some vitriolic loathing, people go to the other end of the spectrum and act like white privilege is the only reason she became famous.

  45. Elian says:

    I’m late to the party and don’t know if anyone will read this comment, but everyone on this thread needs to understand that TAYLOR SWIFT is NOT the “gifted songwriter” she gets described as often. It’s more wool being pulled over everyone’s eyes in her brilliant marketing. I work in the industry and a friend of mine wrote a song on 1989. It’s exactly the same process as happens with Beyonce, with Rihanna, with Adele. All these mega superstars DO NOT WRITE THEIR OWN MUSIC. They and their managers have lists of songwriters who write fully finished songs that are recorded with a vocalist and sent to the artist for consideration. If you’re lucky enough to have your sing chosen, you have to accept that the artist will take a songwriting credit along with you, even if they change nothing about the song or even just change one lyric. There are some songs that TS has written alone and they are incredibly juvenile and forgettable. It’s the same process for all of these “artists”, make NO mistake.

    • Pinky says:

      👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 I love it, thanks for sharing.

    • Aren says:

      That’s really interesting. It’s unfair to the real artists, but I’ve been suspicious that even ‘classic’ bands and such don’t write their own lyrics.
      What amazes me a bit is that there are so many dumb lyrics out there, and I wonder if it’s because professional songwriters are usually mediocre, or because dumb songs have a bigger potential to become popular.

      It’s awesome that you have a friend who wrote a song for 1989. I’ve never heard a song by Swift (well, maybe once at a restaurant) but I can imagine that if you’re a musician, having your song on such a popular album must be a great achievement.

  46. AlmondJoy says:

    I’m very confused as to where all the arguing is coming from up above 👆🏾👆🏾👆🏾 White privilege exists and Taylor has benefitted from it. Not sure where all the denial comes from. It’s very interesting that people get so defensive about this topic. It’s exists. With that said, this fact about Taylor also does not mean she is the devil or worthy of hate. I don’t think should be nailed to a stake because of being privileged.

    Benefiting from white privilege isn’t a bad thing. It’s just the way the system is set up. Why are people fighting the notion of it?

  47. Carey says:

    In response to some of the comments upthread. White privilege exist. But yeah Adele Is weak example for white privilege in this context. For those of you who obviously don’t know London. Adele is from Tottenham of recent London riots fame. Her mum was a single mum.
    Celebitchy poster boy Tom Hiddleston though, now you’re talking white privelege personified….

    • AlmondJoy says:

      I def don’t know London so I can’t comment on where she comes from or her family life. I WILL say though that Adele has talent coming out of her ears and she’s gorgeous. But when you compare her to other gorgeous, plus sized singers like Chrisette Michele, Jazmine Sullivan and Ledisi, who can sing just as well or BETTER than Adele but just so happen to be black and don’t get the exposure and praise that she gets, you realize that she too has benefitted from white privilege.

    • Div says:

      I was the one who mentioned Adele and I do agree with you that she has less “privilege” than other white actors and celebrities because of her socio-economic background. Someone like Benedict Cumberbatch, who is talented but isn’t conventionally good looking, benefits dramatically from white privilege. Part of the reason people love him is because he is “posh” in the way of a BBC drama set in the 1930s, which is something the public thinks only white people can be. I didn’t want to write that much in my original post but I do also believe that more people need to acknowledge the extreme economic inequality that exists. The fact that we don’t address it very often is part of the reason why so many poor whites are flocking to Trump since he’s a snake oil salesman. However, Adele still benefits from white privilege to an extent when you think about someone like Jazmine Sullivan or even Jennifer Hudson in comparison.

      It is weird to me that people don’t grasp white privilege and intersectionality. I am a mixed race WOC who grew up for most of her life in a privileged situation, even before my family immigrated to the United States when I was a young child. I fully recognize that I have many benefits that a poor white kid from Appalachia does not. However, that poor white kid also has benefits. That kid isn’t going to get disproportionately followed around a store, be pulled over by the cops, or stopped and frisked in comparison to people like me or you. Most people unfortunately make snap judgments based on one’s physical, most often ethnic, appearance in the United States and other places in the world and it’s the POC who get screwed over

      I think a lot of people are also clueless to their own privilege. I drive like an overly cautious old lady to the point that all my friends make fun of me for it, yet I’ve been pulled over by the cops several times for BS reasons (most recent example is one claimed I didn’t signal when I most certainly did). I mentioned it to a (white) friend recently and they were totally shocked since they’ve only been pulled over once…and I was like “well no shit.”

      • Pinky says:

        Ha, yeah there’s just like this…frustrating inability to grasp the situation sometimes. My (white) partner, who’s progressive and conscious and considers himself an ally, recently argued with me about white priviledge and it was really eye opening. As a child, he grew up so poor he stayed up all night catching rattle snakes to feed himself. He ended up going to college, having a successful career and one that he still works very very hard for. He told me white priviledge doesn’t apply to him because a) he is on board with all things BLM (and any other disenfranchised group), and b) he worked his ass off from the very bottom so he doesn’t count. I was like dude, so what, you’re white. End of. He was almost offended! Like it was a bad thing, like I was calling him a traitor, or something. No, like I was calling him racist because he benefits from the unfair system. It was so weird, but I think part of that is what is happening here. It’s OKAY to admit you’re white, people, and it’s okay to talk about white priviledge. Quit with the salty tears and let’s move forward so we can fix this ish already.

      • Div says:

        Exactly. People need to acknowledge their privilege for us to fix the racial and economic (and the commonly complex relationship between the two) inequality in this world. I agree that there’s this mindset that people feel like acknowledging their privilege is like calling themselves racist or not acknowledging that they had a really hard time (and it sounds like your partner had a rough time as a kid)….but that’s just not how it works. I tried to explain once to another friend who didn’t get it that nobody is saying someone only succeeds or has it easy because they are white—what it is is an acknowledgement that white people, and more so white straight men at a certain income level, have more benefits from an unfair legal and social system and that system has to change so that we are all treated equally.

      • Ollie says:

        @Pinky you hurt your partner. You belittled his personal struggle and childhood trauma and then shut him down a la “but you’re not black. Be grateful and stop whining white boy”.
        Talk to him. He obviously still suffers from his past and just wanted you to recognize his struggles and archievements.

      • SloaneY says:

        ^ not gonna lie, I thought this, too.

      • pinky says:

        Nope, not in the least. He thought, because of his struggles and because of his activism that he was somehow not benefitting from white privilege, that he was immune from it. I’m gonna say it again: white privilege isn’t personal. It’s a system and if you’re white, you are going to reap the benefits whether you agree with it or not. No matter who you are, or where you come from.
        I didn’t belittle him, I dried his salty tears and woke him up.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Oh Pinky
        Girl that last line, *swoons*
        Tell ‘Em again!

  48. Irene says:

    I feel like they picked the wrong person to write this article about. Surely there are more glaring examples of talentless white people getting ahead due to privilege?

    Maybe the Mara sisters, perhaps? Neither has shown any real talent, both are bland to look at, and yet these dead-eyed daughters of billionaires keep getting cast in huge Hollywood productions? That’s FAR more offensive to me than Taylor Swift, who at least seems to work her ass off and produces some enjoyable songs, even if her parents used connections to get her foot in the door back in the day.

    • Kitten says:

      As Perplexed mentioned above, I think it’s just because of how famous Swift is. The most recent thread about Rooney Mara conveniently side-stepping the whitewashing issue got like, 50 comments and we’re swiftly (har har) approaching 300 comments just because it’s about Swift.

      But yeah there is plenty of mediocre white talent to go around lol.

  49. Anastasia says:

    I know this is superficial, but I don’t get the hatred for bangs.

    Yes, some people don’t look good with bangs, but a lot of people don’t look good without them. I’ve always looked far better with bangs than without them. I just don’t think you can make a blanket statement about them. Depends on your face shape and size, your forehead, your hair, lots of things.

  50. Kate says:

    Good lord the vitriol on here is amazing…wow.

  51. Juniper says:

    Of course Swift benefits from white privilege – surely the argument to be had here is over that article’s (Daily Beast) claim to West’s influence – and particularly over Swift’s. It sites his influence due to him being some kind of talisman for black rage. But it holds no proof. Maybe, back in 2005 or around then, with his now infamous ‘Bush doesn’t care about black people.’ West held that kind of potential but he has utterly squandered it. Now he rants at everything and anything – in a manner that has more to do with mental illness than black power. And meanwhile the press seems to love to ignore the fact that he has married into and idolizes the ultimate in modern white privilege – the Kardashian family. The only reason anyone is still talking about him is because he’s a trainwreck. I don’t know much about Kendrick Lamar – but after watching his Grammy performance – I can certainly tell you that there are black artists out there that are clearly and much more coherently expressing and representing for black rage than Kanye West ever has or will.

  52. Jwoolman says:

    So is Swift supposed to go back in time and choose different parents?!?

    Parents do give their kids whatever they can to help them get started in life. Rich parents can do things that others can’t, but it’s universal. Parents drive for hours and then wait around for a few hours more so their kids can play sports or get special lessons or audition for TV/movies/commercials. My mother put up with a crappy job on campus to make sure I could get free college tuition (she was able to leave it only because I had a scholarship). She also never charged me room and board and never told me to get a job after high school instead of going to college. (In contrast, my elderly next door neighbor’s mom kept pulling her out of grade school to take care of the younger kids. When my neighbor left home at 16 to get a job and live on her own, she actually took the two youngest kids with her…) Parents get jobs for their kids despite lack of wealth by urging that second cousin once removed to put in a good word for the lad or lass. They use whatever connections they have. Rich parents just have more connections and more options.

    What matters is what you do with the opportunities your parents manage to wrangle for you. I would say Taylor Swift’s parents have no complaints. She apparently works hard and has taken full advantage of all those opportunities. I don’t really know much about her music, but it sells well and I don’t think that’s because of her parents’ wealth. Obviously her music resonates with enough people to make her a pile of money and give her quite a bit of fame. In contrast, all the money thrown by rich parents at trying to make Jayden Smith into a star has been wasted because he doesn’t work hard and doesn’t really have acting talent. He was adequate as a child only because the bar is set so low for child actors. His parents initiated the attempt to buy him a career. But Taylor Smith seemed to be self-driven as a youngster, and her parents invested in her music career for that reason. That’s the proper order of things.

  53. Dani says:

    I’m late, but here are some quick statistics anyway for those saying it’s not about “white privilege”, but “rich privilege”:

    96.1 percent of the 1.2 million households in the top one percent by income were white.

    Meanwhile, 1.4 percent of the top one percent by income were black.

    RICH PRIVILEGE = WHITE PRIVILEGE for the most part, although I agree that white privilege does encompass more than income.

    (from http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/americas-financial-divide_b_7013330.html)