It's a widely known fact that Taylor Swift is one of the most polarizing celebrities that currently exist, especially once you get past the younger fans and move into the older crowd. But, whether you hate her or love her, it's undeniable that Swift is one of the most powerful people, selling millions of copies of her latest album, "reputation," and grossing millions of dollars from her most recent concert tour across North America, the reputation Stadium Tour.
With all of this money and success, it becomes clear that Swift's fanbase is made up of more than just 13-year-old girls who are naïve, impressionable and see the world through rose-colored glasses. That's where I––as well as many others—come in. Those of us who are over twenty-one, or even over eighteen if I'm being honest, not only help Swift with all of her success but also make up a large portion of her fanbase.
But what exactly is it like being a Taylor Swift fan at an older age?
Taylor Swift debuted in 2006 when she was seventeen with her self-titled album, "Taylor Swift." I, myself, was only around 11-years-old at the time, and instantly fell subject to her spell of soothing guitar chords and lyrics that felt as if they were lifted straight up from my diary.
After that, every album that followed I was sure to purchase and no doubt fall in love with.
As the years passed, Swift grew up and her music evolved.
She quickly became the icon for writing "breakup songs," both in a positive and negative light. With Swift and her music both growing up, the fans followed alongside them, growing up themselves. It's unclear at what age declaring yourself as a Taylor Swift fan became uncool, but after you hit that mark, it was quite shameful to proudly name yourself as such.
Still, the fans that started by Swift's side remained (most of them, anyway—the brave ones) and faced criticism, humiliation, endless arguments with internet trolls, and what is popularly known amongst the fanbase as The Drought (2016-2017), which occurred after the infamous Kanye West and Kim Kardashian Snapchat-phone call scenario.
With all of this getting in the way of the fans being able to enjoy the music, it seemed unreasonable that anyone of age would subject themselves to such torture and drama. Yet, there I was, sticking up for Taylor Swift at every moment and letting people poke fun at my loyalty.
Because she's Taylor Swift, that's why.
What many people don't realize is that beyond all of the surface level drama that the media feeds to us, lies a now 28-year-old girl with the same dreams she had when she was only seventeen.
Taylor Swift was able to capture the love, loyalty and admiration from all of us, not only because she wrote songs that spoke to our hopeless romantic side, but because she opened herself up to us when celebrities in traditional media weren't really doing that.
In her first five albums, Swift left a hidden message inside of the lyric booklet for each song. These messages were hints as to what (or who) the songs were about, something only the fans knew about, making us feel closer to her. Along with that, Swift also held live streams for her second, third, fourth, and fifth album announcements in order to connect with the fans and to get them excited for the new era that was to come.
Swift also joined the Tumblr scene in 2014, just ahead of her fifth studio album, "1989," being released. This platform gave Swift and fans a whole new relationship, with her inviting hundreds of fans to her many homes for "secret sessions" where they would listen to the upcoming album ahead of time, hang out with Swift, and take photos with her—all for free, a tradition which she would proceed to continue with her next album.
Swift was privy to the fact that gaining a close relationship with us, the fans, was how to make her career last even through all of the drama that sparked the #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty hashtag in 2016.
Through all of the ups and downs that come with standing by her side, even now as a 23-year-old, I can't say I would make any changes in my decisions to support and love her.
In fact, especially now as a 23-year-old, I find it important to be bold and blunt with my support so that all of the new young fans can see that it is possible to love Taylor Swift when you get older, despite what others may tell you.