I Don’t Hate Taylor Swift

After watching the Grammys Monday night, I was a little shocked by just how much Taylor hate was flying around the interwebs. When the show was over, I just sat on my couch thinking…what was so bad about that? It’s one thing if you’re just not a fan of her music—that’s totally cool. But most of it seemed like people were just mad that she was winning again, that she’s still successful.

I’m still into T. Swizzle. I’m just as big of a fan as I was in high school, if not more. Clearly her music has changed over the years, and the same can be said for her as a person. So here are all the reasons why, 10 years later, I still like Taylor Swift.

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She’s relatable.

I was a shy, awkward kid when I was in high school. Hell, I’m still a shy, awkward kid now. Taylor has said in early interviews that she wasn’t the popular girl in school, and that just goes to show how different things are when you find where you fit and where you’re suppose to be. I’ve always been told that you should just do what you love and you’ll find the people who actually matter to you, the people who value you, and the people who will support you no matter what. I think Taylor is a really good example of how this works.

She brings people together.

I admit I thought it was a little weird when Taylor went from representing the underdogs to being in the center of a squad full of models. She went from being relatable to being something that most people found unrealistic. But she has a zillion girlfriends in the music and acting industries too. I like that she brings all these people together. One of my friends in college had two friend groups she hung out with separately, and she did not like it when they crossed. I think it’s cool that Taylor doesn’t do this. She likes to include everyone—just watch the “Bad Blood” video.

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She is more diverse than you think.

Recently Taylor’s been getting a lot of flack for not bringing enough diversity to the table. Yes, she could have included some people of color in her “Wildest Dreams” music video. I don’t know why she didn’t. But, I would like to point out that while many of Taylor’s friends seem to be white supermodels, they are not all white supermodels. She’s friends with plenty of women of color and various ethnicities who are not supermodels. They range from Zendaya, Serayah, and Camila Cabello to Alessia Cara, Hayley Williams, and Lorde, just to name a few she’s been in photos with recently. Caucasian, New Zealand, Latina, Canadian/Italian, African American, and mixed ethnicities—that is a pretty diverse group. And her friends aren’t all female. At the Grammys, Taylor was caught on camera being extremely excited for her friends Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar, and Bruno Mars. If you need more proof of diversity, take a look at all the people she featured on her 1989 tour.

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She’s a fantastic business woman.

Everyone knows this about Taylor. But with 1989, I noticed her doing some things that I’m surprised more people still aren’t doing. Maybe artists have brought along surprise guests to concerts before, but not the way Taylor did it. The diverse list ranged from fellow artists (of all genres) to actors and athletes, and they appealed to all ages. Sure some of them made us scratch our heads a little, but I think it was all in good fun. Creating hype and excitement by surprising fans this way was wildly successful; everyone wanted to know who she was going to bring on stage next.

Another thing I love that Taylor’s been doing recently is how she premieres and promotes her music videos. With 1989, Taylor began approaching them like little films, including the director in the opening credits and putting together the casts. Suddenly, there was all this chatter about who had been cast for her love interests. For “Bad Blood,” she even released movie-poster-esque images daily leading up to the premiere to build up the hype. And this is what I like the most: when she drops new music videos, she usually premieres them at big events or award shows. “Bad Blood” premiered at the Billboard Music Awards. “Wildest Dreams” premiered right at the end of the VMAs pre-show, literally minutes before the actual VMAs began. And “Out of the Woods” premiered during New Year’s Rockin Eve with Ryan Seacrest. These are TV events that anyone interested in pop culture is probably going to watch. The only other place artists can really present new music videos is online, and in a world where everything can be so easily swept away in ever-moving, overcrowded social media feeds, Taylor Swift makes sure she is seen.

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Taylor also stood up for the rights of other artists and musicians in the music industry by publishing an open letter to Apple Music on her Tumblr. Many criticized her, saying she just wanted more money to add to the millions she already has, but she is very clear in the letter that she isn’t doing this for herself. She did it for artists who are just getting their start, for artists who aren’t already on their fifth album, for artists who are trying to tour. She did it for the crews, producers, and management teams who all receive a portion of the money earned from record sales.

She doesn’t take herself too seriously.

Taylor knows what people say about her, but she also knows that the best way to handle it is to recognize the truth and poke fun at yourself. In “Shake It Off,” she acknowledges what many have thought—that she can’t keep a boyfriend and has “nothing in [her] brain”—but she doesn’t let it get her down. In “Blank Space,” she over-dramatizes how over-dramatic she can be when it comes to relationships and breakups. Honestly, I love these moments when celebrities struggle with the same things us average people do because we’re all just human beings when it comes down to it.

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She’s the first woman to win a Grammy for best album twice AND SHE’S ONLY 26.

I turn 26 this year and I often feel like I haven’t accomplished half of the things I would like to have accomplished at this point in my life. Just think about all the records 1989 broke, all the people in countries around the globe who showed up to see her. Think about pouring your heart, soul, personal struggles, and true inner feels into an album, releasing it into the world, and letting it go knowing it could do really well, land somewhere near ehhh, or it could 100% flop. Then think about selling 8 million copies worldwide. Think about how Taylor Swift is only 26. The only other people who have won album of the year twice are Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder, and that seems pretty huge to me.

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She doesn’t let anyone take credit for her hard work.

Taylor’s album of the year acceptance speech was fantastic for so many reasons. First and foremost, she stood up for herself and shut down Kanye in the classiest way possible: without even mentioning him. Second, Taylor could have said, “I got myself here” or “I got this award because I worked hard.” Instead, she recognizes that she didn’t become one of the biggest pop stars of our time by herself, but she’s also not going to let others take credit for her success. And third, she directed her acceptance speech to young ladies everywhere, telling them not to give up on their dreams or let people sidetrack them. Here I am at 25 and I don’t even really tell people what my real dream job is—what I secretly aspire to be while I sit at a desk all day—to do what she’s doing.

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So thank you, Taylor, for being a nice person. For being a great role model through your career and business capabilities. And for still inspiring me just as much today as when I was in high school. Even though I still cannot play guitar or get up the nerve to sing in front of people, you make me want to. You make me want to really show people who I am and what I’m made of, and you make me want to be really good at it.

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