Why does Taylor Swift get a free pass to be a ‘mean girl’?
Despite endlessly attacking exes, singer holds on to innocent image.
We first came to know young Taylor Swift as the curly haired country cutie who would sit in her childhood bedroom writing songs about love and feeling left out at school. She's all grown up now and despite shedding the innocence long ago, the 22-year-old is still hiding behind the virginal image of the naive little girl and it's allowing her to get away with just about anything.
For someone who was bullied in high school, the "Mean" singer certainly doesn't mind dishing it out to others, more specifically the long list of ex-boyfriends who have turned into the superstar's lyrical punching bag in song after song on her albums.
And while Swift feigns innocence by never coming right out and revealing who her songs are about, the lyrics in the albums' liner notes provide some pretty slam-dunk clues and in cases like "Dear John," which is presumably about her relationship with ex John Mayer in 2009, it couldn't get any more obvious.
The six-time Grammy winner's latest album Red is saturated with songs about her short-lived romance with Oscar-nominee Jake Gyllenhall in 2010, including the first single "We Are Never Getting Back Together." And despite using personal details about her relationships knowing full well they'll become fodder for tabloid coverage, Swift is somehow taken aback when her exes aren't exactly thrilled by it all.
"You'd be surprised by how many angry emails I get," the singer told David Letterman this week.
While Swift has no problem criticizing her exes for fans to feverishly dissect, the coward in her can't handle when they have something to say about it. After Mayer told Rolling Stone he was "humiliated" when she penned "Dear John," Swift refused to hear a word about it.
"I know it wasn't good, so I don't want to know," she told a Glamour reporter. "I put a high priority on staying happy and I know what I can't handle."
The unhappiness of her exes though - that she can handle!
In fact, Swift seems to take great joy in enacting revenge on them with the world as her audience.
Presumably speaking about Gyllenhaal, a noted Mumford & Sons groupie and all-around indie music lover, Swift told USA Today she wanted to get back at an ex-boyfriend who made her feel like her songs weren't as good as the "hipster" bands he listened to.
"So I made a song that I knew would absolutely drive him crazy when he heard it on the radio," she gloats about the "We Are Never Getting Back Together" smash hit.
And what about the double standard Swift illustrates with her kiss-and-tell song-writing? If Mayer wrote a tune criticising every notch on his belt the lynch mob would be out in full force.
Of course artists almost always use aspects of their personal lives as inspiration for songs - and we wouldn't expect anything less from Swift - but she could stand to be a little more elusive and spare these guys a bit of dignity in the process.
Otherwise she's just as bad as all the ex-boyfriends she's so keen to call out.