My apology letter to Taylor Swift


Josiah Taylor

Taylor Swift has dominated the music industry for over a decade, subjecting her to criticism and backlash.

Dear Taylor Swift,

This should be a congratulatory letter. Afterall, you are easily one of the most iconic pop stars in the world. Yet here I am, typing with nervous fingers and sweaty palms because I am sorry.

I am sorry the music industry failed you. You were only fifteen years old, thrown into the spotlight, mocked for resembling a deer in headlights. Although judgement and backlash would have reared their ugly heads had you shown any confidence. I’m sorry your early success was dwindled down to luck and public stupidity, your every move observed under the harsh lens of a cruel microscope. You were fifteen carrying the weight of double edged expectations. Had you not met the bar, you’d be a failure, and I’m sorry that when you did, people managed any justification to invalidate your success. They spit out your name as if it left a sour taste on their tongues. I’m sorry that while they spoke with venom inflected insults, you were still expected to sing with sweet and heavenly rhymes. You were forced to prove yourself over and over again, a race you just can’t win, an infinite conveyor belt whose only end product was abuse and manipulation.

I am sorry you were completely and utterly humiliated while millions of eyes watched you, judged you. Kanye West was 32 years old at the time, you were 19. I’m sorry your valid reaction was met with resentment, while his toddler-like outburst was deemed complex. Your emotions were dwindled down to your gender while his gave him a pedestal to dehumanize you. 

I’m sorry your worth was wrongfully wrapped up with the men you chose to associate with. You were slut shamed, criticized, and denounced for dating men who had committed far more destructive sins than you. I’m sorry your lyrics were blown off and dismissed as simple love songs. Your heart was broken time and time again by immature lovers. You were the one demonized for writing about it, leaving those responsible for your sorrow untouched. I’m sorry I can’t Google your name without “boyfriend” being the first thing to come up. You are an artist. A force to be reckoned with. And your name always seems to have someone clinging onto it for dear life, as if you are a new artifact for the male gaze to get its grubby hands on. You are whole on your own. 

I am sorry we didn’t keep you safe. I’m sorry you would’ve been the perfect son, but the fact that you’re a daughter made you not worth protecting. I am sorry that regardless of all of your awards and regardless of all of your accomplishments, men like David Mueller still roam the streets. You should’ve been untouchable, yet your sexual assault was caught on camera and displayed for the world to see and for that I am so sorry. If anyone could earn safety, you’d be first in line, but the heinous truth is that misogyny will never care how good your music is. Misogyny only sees one thing. 

And most of all; I am sorry. I’m sorry for being part of the problem. I have been the biggest fan of yours since I was 6 years old. I danced around my butterfly themed bedroom while “Love Story” blasted from my Karaoke machine. But once I got older and boys began to pique my interest, the butterflies wore off my walls and “Love Story” was confined to the privacy of earbuds. I acted as if your music wasn’t the cause of my weak knees. Your voice had the calming effects of a rainy Sunday and I covered my ears. I turned the radio down in the car when my friends were watching. I nodded yes to their unfair criticisms because I wanted validation. I needed validation. I’m sorry that you wrote songs in an attempt to unite and empower women everywhere and you were met with internalized misogyny. The truth is, I hated myself more than I ever hated you. I hated that I loved boy talk and shiny lip gloss. I hated that I loved the color pink, and I wanted to stomp on the piece of me that yearned to read Elenor and Park every Christmas like clockwork. But I love butterflies, and sad movies make me cry. I hate watching sports games and when it comes to some of the newest rappers I just don’t see the appeal. I’m sorry I pretended that I was too good for you. I pretended that I was too good for feminine women. There’s nothing wrong with writing love songs. And there’s nothing wrong with womanly qualities. Thank you for writing good music regardless of the backlash. Thank you for blessing my ears with “Evermore.” Thank you for developing my feminism to be more inclusive. And thank you for teaching me to love every piece of myself. Even the piece that loves love songs. 


Your most apologetic fan