As someone who promotes herself as a feminist, it is remarkable to see how Taylor Swift misses the mark when it comes to acting in a way that actually promotes feminist values.
Her latest song, “Look What You Made Me Do” speaks volumes not only for her inability to move forward with her life after she was exposed for lying about a phone call that she had with Kanye West, but also for her lack of understanding of how toxic the expression is that she repeats.
Ooh, look what you made me do/Look what you made me do/Look what you just made me do.
What Swift either does not realize or does not care about is that her lyrics and the track’s title send a toxic message that people can place blame on others for their actions. Our culture continuously feeds on the idea that if someone wrongs you, then anything you do in retaliation is justifiable. That is simply not the case. When you constantly believe that you are the “victim” of those around you who do not agree with your every move, then the root of the problem is you.
You do not get to claim that everyone is "attacking you" because you do not like being opposed.
I've got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined/I check it once, then I check it twice, oh!.
What I consider to be the most unsettling aspect of the song is Swift’s use of the phrase, “Look what you made me do”, and how that phrase can be used with ease by abusers to their victims. When I was younger, I remember watching the Soap Opera “General Hospital”, and one of the stories was centered around an abusive teen relationship, where the guy would fly into rages and hit his girlfriend. Once he was done, he would immediately blame her, on one occasion screaming, "This is all your fault! You made me do this!" and on another, sobbing, “Look at what you made me do. Why do you always make me so mad?”
Swift is promoting the same unhealthy view. She validates the use of the phrase and justifies anyone who feels that they have “the right” to “seek revenge” when they perceive themselves as “attacked.” As far as I am concerned, we should be treating Swift with the same disdain as many rightfully aimed at Robin Thicke for his 2013 song, “Blurred Lines”, which uses the similarly stomach-turning phrase, “I know you want it.”
Regardless of what people will try to convince you, words mean something. We cannot place blame on others for actions that only we can make. Likewise, we cannot expect everyone to be on our side 100 percent of the time. Everyone will make mistakes (yes, even Taylor Swift) and these mistakes should be acknowledged by those who witness them, as well as the by the person who makes them.
Until people — at the moment, Swift and her fans — realize that accountability is crucial, we can only expect that toxic messages will be perpetuated, and people, as well as feminism, will suffer for it.