I didn’t used to pay much attention about Taylor Swift. I knew she had a slew of fans, a handful or two of (ex-)boyfriends, and a fair number of awards. I’d heard a few of her songs but didn’t know they were hers until well after the fact. This wasn’t calculated on my part, it’s just a truism that the older you get (especially if you don’t have kids) the pop sensation du jour doesn’t have nearly the allure it had when you were in their age cohort. I do, however, pay more attention to her now.
The inciting incident came with the 2014 Guardian interview where she came out as a feminist. Having been a feminist since the Steinem/Friedan days, my ears perk up when someone who was previously a denier publicly asserts that now they “get it”.
Since then, without intentionally meaning to, I started noticing and reading more stories about the singer. It helped that this coincided with a period when most of those reports weren’t about her dating life — a topic about which I have negligible interest. Over the better part of a year, a picture emerged of someone who wasn’t a celebutant but was instead a pretty decent and talented human being. And, apparently, tireless. Somehow, despite being in ten locations at once: having fans over to one of her homes, doing interviews, playing guitar for some up-and-comer named Madonna, spending time selfie-ing with friends, grabbing an armful of awards, and so on; she still manages to squeeze in time for rehearsals, concerts, recording in the studio, and so forth. It’s awe-inspiring.
I don’t think I can say that I’m a Taylor Swift fan in the usual sense. The songs I’ve heard I’ve pretty much liked, but I still don’t seek them out on radio, streams, or for purchase. What I am, and solely due to her example as has been reported, is a Taylor Swift respector. From what I’ve seen this past year, although she’s had imperfect moments, she seems to be a real mensch. It’s not a common quality — especially in our instant-celebrity, scripted-reality society — so when you see it, note should be made.