This excerpt of Taylor Swift‘s cover story for the April issue of Vanity Fair is equal parts wonderful and annoying. We’re just going to put that out there. During the interview, Swift was unusually candid about the media’s obsession with her love life and made some very solid points regarding sexism and tabloid culture. But — and keep in mind, the whole interview isn’t available yet, so perhaps we’re just lacking context — during other parts of the chat she seems kind of terrible.
Anyone who’s heard her songs knows she’s incredibly self-aware, and yet at times she doesn’t “get” it, and the question is whether it’s a symptom of Taylor Swift the person or “Taylor Swift” the sweetheart singer who just wants to settle down with someone. What we’re saying is, speaking out against sexism (especially considering your history with the “feminist” label): good! Hiring someone to trash-talk your exes because you are “above all that,” or something: bad!
First, the enlightening fare. “If you want some big revelation, since 2010 I have dated exactly two people,” she told VF, and you can probably guess she’s talking about Conor Kennedy and One Direction’s Harry Styles. “For a female to write about her feelings, and then be portrayed as some clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend in need of making you marry her and have kids with her, I think that’s taking something that potentially should be celebrated — a woman writing about her feelings in a confessional way — that’s taking it and turning it and twisting it into something that is frankly a little sexist.” Truth!
Swift continued to lay into the tabloids for their obsession with her every friendly gesture, batted eye or, well, interaction with a male human: “[T]he fact that there are slide shows of a dozen guys that I either hugged on a red carpet or met for lunch or wrote a song with… it’s just kind of ridiculous [...] It’s why I have to avoid the tabloid part of our culture, because they turn you into a fictional character.” The latter is sort of what she does in song, no? But anyway, yes, she’s absolutely correct.
She even spoke about the gossipy circus surrounding her alleged purchase of a home in Hyannis Port, to be near Conor Kennedy. “One of these things I say to myself to calm myself down when I feel like it’s all too much… If there’s a pregnancy rumor, people will find out it’s not true when you wind up not being pregnant, like nine months from now, and if there’s a house rumor, they’ll find out it’s not true when you are actively not ever spotted at that house.” But here’s where the interview began to leave a bad taste in our mouths. Taylor denies she ever bought that house, yet the magazine proceeds to report that Swift actually did buy it.
Then, while she was open about the generalities of her relationships, Swift wouldn’t talk about the specifics. Which is fine, classy you might even say. Except, no, she authorized “a source” to do the dirty work for her. This “source” told VF that Harry Styles “chased” Swift for years and “wore her down.” This unnamed person said after Swift finally gave in, “the whole time she says she feels like he’s looking at every girl” and that one night he disappeared “and after that it was like he just didn’t want to keep going.” Why sling mud when your handlers can do it for you?
By the way, Styles’ camp says these claims are “undeniably false.”
Clearly, though, the most significant takeaway from the excerpt is that Swift describes her home as “Tim Burton–Alice in Wonderland–pirate ship–Peter Pan,” so we don’t even know what to think about her at this point. Our brains have been mashed into a quivering heap of cognitive dissonance.
Read the full cover story preview here.