Taylor Swift Demands End To ‘Toxic Male Privilege’ At Woman In Music Awards
Taylor Swift called for an end ‘toxic male privilege’ while accepting her Woman of the Decade award, proving exactly why she’s worthy of winning the accolade in the first place.
The singer took to the stage at Billboard’s Women in Music Awards event where she recalled the past ‘magnificent, happy, free confused, sometimes lonely, but mostly golden’ 10 years of being a world-famous artist in the industry.
She spoke candidly about losing the rights to her master recordings to Scooter Braun in a deal she says was agreed without her ‘approval, consultation or consent’.
‘So what does it mean to be the woman of this decade?’ Taylor asked. ‘Well, it means I’ve seen a lot.’
When this decade began I was 20 years old. I had put out my self-titled debut album when I was 16 – the album that would become my breakthrough album, which was called Fearless.
I saw that there was a world of music beyond country music that I was really curious about. I saw pop stations play my songs ‘Love Story’ and ‘You Belong With Me’ for the first time, and I saw that as a female in this industry some people will always have slight reservations about you.
Whether you deserve to be there, whether your male producer or co-writer is the reason for your success, or whether it was a savvy record label.
Taylor smirked and told the audience, ‘It wasn’t’.
The 30-year-old went on to say:
I saw that people loved to explain away a woman’s success in the music industry and I saw something in me change due to this realisation. This was the decade when I became a mirror for my detractors.
Whatever they decided I couldn’t do is exactly what I did. Whatever they criticized about me became material for musical satire or inspirational anthems. The best lyrical examples I can think of are songs like ‘Mean,’ ‘Shake It Off’ and ‘Blank Space.’
Basically, if people had something to say about me I said something back in my own way. This re-flux dictated more than just my lyrics.
Taylor explained how she faced backlash over her Album of the Year win at the 2010 Grammys, recalling how it prompted people to question her musical abilities, leaving her feeling the need to constantly please her critics.
They’re saying I’m dating too much in my twenties? Okay, I’ll stop. I’ll just be single for years. Now they’re saying my album Red is filled with too many breakup songs. Okay, I’ll make one about moving to New York and deciding my life is just more fun with my friends.
Oh, they’re saying my music is changing too much for me to stay in country music? Here’s an entire genre shift and a pop album called 1989. You heard it? Sick!
She finished her moving speech by condemning the way women are criticised for their bodies, their romantic lives, their fashion.
I’ve watched as one of my favorite artists of this decade, Lana Del Rey, was ruthlessly criticised in her early career and then slowly but surely turned into, in my opinion, the most influential artist in pop. Her vocal stylings, her lyrics, her aesthetics, they’ve been echoed and repurposed in every corner of music, and this year her incredible album is nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys because she just kept making art. That example should inspire all of us. The only way forward is forward motion. We shouldn’t let obstacles like criticism slow down the creative forces that drive us.
This is one of the many reasons you are the woman of the decade, Taylor.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]