There is more to Taylor Swift than a pretty face and songs filled with lyrics about falling in love. This past August, Swift released her seventh album titled Lover. With that release signals a new era for the influential pop star as she starts to focus on activism.
Although this album still has the classic Taylor sound, the lyrics give a new depth and meaning to her music. NPR’s Tiny Desk series, which invites singers to perform in an intimate setting for employees at NPR, recently featured Swift.
The single “You Need to Calm Down” focuses on the LGBTQ community and the harassment those who identify with it face, becoming an anthem for equality and recognizing Swift as an ally in the LGBTQ community.
The music video features celebrities who identify in some way with the LGBTQ community, like Ellen Degeneres, the hosts of Netflix’s Queer Eye, Laverne Cox and the producer of the video, Todrick Hall. That representation is a clear cut view of influential people today coming together to normalize the idea that love is love, no matter sexual orientation, and that people are people, no matter their gender.
At the end of the video, Swift writes “Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, all of our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally.” She then goes on to ask viewers to sign her petition for senate support of the Equality Act.
Audiences have never necessarily seen that from Swift; In past albums, she doesn’t focus heavily on issues within society, but she now is advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ community.
Although “The Man” isn’t a single on the album, Swift should have considered making it one. The representation of the double standard within the song highlights an important issue seen today that should be talked about on a wider scale.
“Over the course of my life it has occurred to me that we have a bit of a double standard issue within our society,” Swift said in her Tiny Desk performance. “I thought the most fun thing to do would to imagine what my life would be like, and what people would say about my life, if I did all (of) the same things but if I was a man.”
Swift points out that toxic behavior and calls for a change by not only empowering the women listening but reaching a new audience as well — men.
With those two powerful songs, Swift showcases her ability to write about social issues and channel them into well-thought out lyrics, potentially giving her genre of music a new focus.
Rory Ball is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Rory know by tweeting her @roryellizabeth.