At this point, everyone knows that Taylor Swift has become one of the most popular and powerful artists of recent years. Her influence on the music industry is enough to sway even Apple. The media who once wanted to tear her apart for every song she wrote, everything she said, and every boy she stood next to, are now falling over themselves (and rightly so) to point out how awesome she actually is.
I went to see Taylor this week when her 1989 World Tour came to Dublin and you can just see from start to finish in her show how hard she works and how talented she really is. She puts on an almost flawless performance and connects with the crowd so that for a minute you feel like she is actually noticing you. Many artists show their appreciation for their fans as a collective whole, but few can make them feel like they care for them as an individual like Taylor does.
She carries out a number of outfit changes during the show and in between there’s various video montages on the giant screen on stage. Some of these are of Taylor’s friends (most famous, all female) talking about their relationship with Taylor and with each other and there was a real emphasis on the importance of girls being there for each other rather than against each other. So many of the people at her show were young girls and it can’t be denied that sometimes when growing up, girls can have a really negative attitude towards one another – there might be a bit of a stereotype around it, but stereotypes have to come from something. But if young girls are looking up to Taylor and people like her, if what she says means something to them, then maybe it can help to turn around those negative attitudes. Unfortunately that’s not all it takes. When you look at the way women tear each other apart in the media or even just in the sneaky comments they make to each other about someone’s outfit or appearance, it will take more than that. However, it helps to encourage those young minds not to see each other as something to judge but to accept and support and it’s not only young people who should listen to that message.
At her shows, online, in her songs, through so many different mediums, she reminds us that none of us are perfect, including her. In this world almost everyone strives for perfection and nothing less is ever acceptable, even though we never do reach it. I definitely see her as perfect most of the time, so it’s good to be reminded sometimes, by the person you see that way, that perfect isn’t actually possible and there’s no point being hard on yourself because you can’t make it that way.
A quote from her show when she is speaking to the crowd in between songs is “no voices are as mean as our own voices to ourselves”. My hope is that people who go to see her and who look up to her will come to realise that what they tell themselves in their heads isn’t what everyone else thinks about them. We can completely isolate ourselves by telling ourselves that no one likes us and we can cause so much anxiety inside in social situations if we worry the whole time that other people see us the way we see ourselves. I hope that anyone listening to her that night was reminded not to be so hard on themselves.
Lots of people will probably disagree with me and say that Taylor Swift isn’t going to single-handedly solve anyone’s self esteem issues or magically make everyone be nice to each other. Of course, there’s only so much she can do. But if going to her concert has made me reflect on all of the things I’ve written in this post, I’m sure I’m not the only one. If she can make a difference for only a few people, she has still made a difference.