Taylor Swift Isn't Mad At Hayley Kiyoko For Saying She Only "Sings About Men" & You Shouldn't Be Either
Taylor Swift defended fellow musician Hayley Kiyoko after the artist, whose fans affectionately refer to as “Lesbian Jesus,” used Swift as an example when talking about originality and songwriting in an interview with Refinery29.
“I’ve had several music industry execs say, ‘You’re doing another music video about girls?’ I literally looked at them and was like, um, yea ...Taylor Swift sings about men in every single song and video, and no one complains that she’s unoriginal,” Kiyoko said in the interview published earlier this month. Swift’s fans were quick to criticise Kiyoko for a comment misconstrued as a slight to the pop star for only writing songs about her relationships. In the context of the interview, Kiyoko was speaking to the industry’s history of fetishising same-sex relationships between women and her anti-gimmick stance on being portrayed as the industry’s token lesbian.
Swift cleared the air for her fans by defending Kiyoko on Tumblr. She responded to a comment saying, “We should applaud artists who are brave enough to tell their honest romantic narrative through their art, and the fact is that I’ve never encountered homophobia and she has. It’s her right to call out anyone who has double standards about gay vs straight love interests.”
In fact, when it comes to women singing about their love lives, Swift and Kiyoko are very much in agreement. Swift has expressed a similar opinion on tokenism in past interviews. “No one says that about Ed Sheeran. No one says that about Bruno Mars. They’re all writing songs about their exes, their current girlfriends, their love life, and no one raises the red flag there,” Swift said of the double standard in music in a 2014 interview with Time.
Women, regardless of their sexual identity or preferences, have been presented with a no-win situation. If they sing about their relationships, they are branded as “the woman who always talks about her love life.” If they chose to sing about other things, they are criticised for being unrelatable.
Björk, no stranger to the inner-workings of the music industry, wrote an open letter in 2016 calling out the challenges women face in music in order to be multidimensional, saying, “Women in music are allowed to be singer-songwriters singing about their boyfriends. If they change the subject matter ... journalists feel there is something missing.”
Music is about honesty, creativity, and the ability to connect with other people, things that both Swift and Kiyoko possess. They are at the forefront of women asking for the same opportunities as men. They want to be able to sing about who they love, and the people they have loved, as much as their male peers. Or, if they prefer, to sing about something completely different.
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