Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Don't be so Swift to judge Taylor, she's only 23 after all

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift

Jennifer Aniston was once the poster girl for single women, but now that she has handed in her notice and is set to marry Justin Theroux, that position is being filled by country-pop princess Taylor Swift.

The 23-year-old musician is rapidly becoming better known for her romantic adventures than for her considerable musical achievements.

Her dating modus operandi involves high-profile men – most recently One Direction's Harry Styles – and usually for a short period only.

As a young, successful, rich, talented woman, Swift has the world at her feet. That she would want to date similarly attractive men, who also happen to be celebrities, shouldn't be much of a surprise. Given the circles she moves in, she is far more likely to meet them, anyway, than she is a computer analyst from Pennsylvania.

But, apparently, she's not allowed do any of the above. Swift has been deemed "promiscuous" and called "the black widow of pop" for doing what any 23-year-old in her position would probably do. And there is the distinct whiff of the double standard about it. Her former boyfriend, Styles, has developed quite the reputation as a Lothario, having been linked to a series of often-older women, including Xtra Factor presenter Caroline Flack, who is 33 to his 19.

But we don't see words like promiscuous being levelled at him, with the more congratulatory "ladies' man" tag being used, instead.

Whether you know, or care, for her music, Swift is an interesting character. If you are looking for a car-crash celebrity in the style of a Britney Spears, you won't find it here.

Since she moved to Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 14 to pursue her music, she's had a triumph of a career and is now worth an estimated $165m (£110m). There have been awards (at least seven Grammys), 26 million albums sold worldwide and her songwriting skills universally feted by critics.

Never papped looking anything but decorous, never mind falling out of nightclubs, she is also known for her philanthropy, supporting children's literacy and natural disaster relief, among other good causes.

That Swift has a fairly prolific and seemingly tumultuous love-life alongside all of this is not sitting comfortably in the eyes of some, who clearly think this is inappropriate behaviour for a role-model, as she is often deemed.

Of course, she hasn't exactly helped her cause by immortalising her relationships in her songs. By doing this, she has made several short-lived relationships enduring. Forever & Always was written when she was dumped by Joe Jonas in a 27-second phonecall. Back to December is an apology song to Twilight actor Taylor Lautner for breaking up with him.

We Are Never Getting Back Together is almost certainly about the actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who was said to be uncomfortable with the media attention their relationship attracted.

Understandably, some of her former lovers are not very happy with this. Musician John Mayer, who was the inspiration for Swift's Dear John, said he was humiliated by the song where she asked: "Don't you think I was too young to be messed around with?"

He said: "I know she's the biggest thing in the world and I'm not trying to sink anybody's ship, but I think it's abusing your talent to rub your hands together and go, 'Wait till he gets a load of this'. That's bull****."

Or is it? Once again, Swift just did what any 21-year-old broken-hearted girl – as she was then – would long to do, if she could.

Swift has the power and she's not afraid to use it.

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