Society these days seems to have picked up the innate ability to pick out vulgarity in even the most innocent circumstances. Its most recent target? Taylor Swift’s recent single, “Shake It Off,” which rather ironically focuses on “shaking off” the criticism of her work, her personal life and her role in society as a whole.
Swift’s video, currently wielding a hefty 18,000,000 views and growing, featured different forms of music and iconic fashions in each genre and highlighted the fact that she may not fit into the boxes in which the public places her. The stereotypes themselves were more of a parody, but many picked out tiny details and blew them out of proportion.
Attacking everything from Swift acting “too black” to her excessive use of eyebrow movement, it becomes clear that critics of this new single are simply looking for something to hate.
Chief among these critics was hip-hop artist Earl Sweatshirt via Twitter. “Haven’t watched Taylor Swift’s video and I don’t need to watch it to tell you that it’s inherently offensive and ultimately harmful,” Sweatshirt said. He also criticized Swift for “perpetuating black stereotypes to the same demographic of white girls who hide their prejudice by proclaiming their love of the culture,” essentially explaining that racists love having permission to “twerk” and act “ghetto”.
However, what Sweatshirt fails to recognize is that his very comment revealed how racism, sexism, and discrimination as a whole became such a prominent issue in this day and age. He, along with many other critics, refuse to look past their original judgments into the actual meaning of the song itself. Such an opinion is not only narrow-minded, but also an incredible overreaction to such an innocent mistake.
Granted, the white girl rapping and the use of the phrases “hella good hair” and “this sick beat” were mildly disturbing, but the flamboyant outfits and homage to certain musical cultures have been used by countless other music icons in the industry. Why can’t Swift do the same?
It seems to be a cultural tendency to try to knock celebrities off the pedestals on which we once put them, and that’s not a good thing. Criticism is by no means a bad thing. However, we should be condemning things that actually need to be shot down.
Instead of attacking an artist for creating a song accepting herself for all her flaws and encouraging others to do the same, the public should be focusing on much more vulgar work.
Take Sweatshirt’s work for instance, which contains both incredibly misogynistic and homophobic messages. One of his 2010 gems entitled “WakeUpF—-t” easily proves both that his work is far more blatantly offensive than Swift’s new pop song and that his attack on her song is severely hypocritical.
While the song may not be the most beautiful ever heard, it’s by no means the most offensive.
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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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