Taylor Swift: I “Shake Off” Tab Stories, But Don’t Take “Cheap Shots At Songwriting”

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Taylor Swift says she has “come to terms with the fact that anyone can say anything about me… and it will be an international headline.”

But she won’t let it get to her, and has committed — much like her new hit single “Shake It Off” — to “just shake it off and figure that as long as you’re having more fun than anyone else, what does it matter what anyone else thinks?”

Swift recently sat down with The Guardian and talked about the tabloid media, what she’s learned about feminism, and the “cheap shots” at her songwriting.

The superstar tells the paper, “In the last couple of years I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that anyone can say anything about me and call TMZ or Radar Online or something, and it will be an international headline,” adding, “You can either go crazy and let it make you bitter and make you not trust people, and become really secluded or rebellious against the whole system. Or you can just shake it off and figure that as long as you’re having more fun than anyone else, what does it matter what anyone else thinks? Because I’ve wanted this life since I was a kid.”

Swift notes of the tabloid intrusion on her life, “I am not gonna let them make me miserable when I could be enjoying my life.”

She believes, “That’s why you see these artists become a tabloid regular and then become artistically and musically irrelevant, because they let [gossipy websites] stifle them,” but reassures, “It’s not going to happen here.”

For now, Swift is focusing on her work and her female friendships.

With the release of a new album — and an almost assured upcoming tour in support — having a boyfriend “isn’t really possible right now. It just doesn’t seem like a possibility in the near future. It doesn’t ever work. What works is having incredible girlfriends who I can trust and tell anything.”

Swift explains to the paper how she began to understand what feminism is really about, and credits her friend Lena Dunham for, in a way, teaching by example. 

 “As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities,” says the singer. “What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all. Becoming friends with Lena – without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for — has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so.”

Swift says she’s unfairly judged, when it comes to her lyrics, for being a woman.

“I really resent the idea that if a woman writes about her feelings, she has too many feelings,” she says. “And I really resent the ‘Be careful, buddy, she’s going to write a song about you’ angle, because it trivializes what I do. It makes it seem like creating art is something you do as a cheap weapon rather than an artistic process.”

Swift adds, “They can say whatever they want about my personal life because I know what my personal life is, and it involves a lot of TV and cats and girlfriends. But I don’t like it when they start to make cheap shots at my songwriting. Because there’s no joke to be made there.”

What do you think of Swift’s comments?

Michael Lewittes