Taylor Swift may be a polarizing figure, but you can’t deny that she’s created her own space within the music industry’s revolving door.

Point blank PERIOD.

1. Her lyrics.

[Image description: close up of Taylor Swift singing and getting emotional.]
[Image description: close up of Taylor Swift singing and getting emotional while singing, “and you call me up again just to break me like a promise, so casually cruel in the name of being honest” from her song All Too Well.] via Giphy

Who has ever been heartbroken and not cried to a Taylor Swift song? Taylor Swift’s lyrics are always incredibly honest and to the core. She writes about her personal experience and creates songs that everyone can relate to. She is also the queen of bridges. If you doubt me, check out the All Too Well bridge.

2. The Man song and music video.

[Image description: Taylor Swift in movie set talking to another Taylor dressed as a guy in a sport outfit. Next to them is a director chair.]
[Image description: Taylor Swift in a movie set talking to another Taylor dressed as a guy in a sports outfit. Next to them is a director chair.] via Wikimedia

This song is the feminist manifesto we didn’t know we needed from Taylor. And the music video with male Taylor is ABSOLUTE GOLD. She calls out all the double standards that successful women have to face every day.

3. She invites fans to her house and bakes for them.

[Image description: Taylor Swift in a black dress holding a plate of chocolate cookies to a group of girls.]
[Image description: Taylor Swift in a black dress holding a plate of chocolate cookies to a group of girls of different ages.] via Wikimedia

When Taylor was about to put out 1989, she was worried about what her fans would think about this full-on pop album. She decided to invite 89 of them to her house and play the album for them in a secret session.

Since then it has become a tradition for Taylor to choose fans from social media and play them her albums before their release date. She even bakes cookies for them! To date, these sessions have never resulted in her songs being leaked, which is a real testament to the love her stans have for her.

4. She filed and won a sexual assault lawsuit – all for a $1 settlement.

[Image description: Taylor Swift in a concert wearing black and singing "if a man talks shit"]
[Image description: Taylor Swift in a concert wearing black and singing, “if a man talks shit then I owe him nothing.”] via Giphy

If you don’t know the story, this is how it goes: Taylor Swift went to court in 2017 against the Denver DJ David Mueller. Mueller had sued Taylor for defamation and losing his job after the singer had complained to his employer that he had grabbed her inappropriately during a photoshoot. The moment was caught on video and there were witnesses.

He asked for $3 million in compensation. Taylor filed a countersuit in response, claiming assault and only requested $1 in compensation to make a point.

I still get chills reading her testimony, especially in light of the fact that she won.

5. She was a ‘nice girl’ that learned to make her voice be heard, and let’s be real: we’ve all been there.

[Image description: Taylor Swift wearing red lipstick and a red shirt and saying "thank God I don´t do that anymore.]
[Image description: Taylor Swift wears red lipstick and a red shirt, saying, “thank God I don’t do that anymore.”] via Giphy

Her recent Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, is a reflection on how Taylor went from wanting to please everybody and being seen as a “good girl” to learning to be happy despite other people’s opinions.

The documentary — which has already reached critical acclaim, according to review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes — touches on a multitude of issues. And most of those issues aren’t pop star problems. They’re human problems.

6. She flipped the script on the bullying that people put her through, reclaiming the “snake” sign they used for her new signature. 

[Image description: Taylor Swift in a red dress drinks tea and acts surprised while snakes appear from behind her.] Via Tenor
[Image description: Taylor Swift in a red dress drinks tea and acts surprised while snakes appear from behind her.] via Giphy

After Kim Kardashian West “exposed” Taylor Swift’s supposed lies in a tweet about National Snake Day, Taylor’s social media was flooded by snake emojis. People used that emoji to call her fake.

Taylor disappeared from social media for a year after that but came back with a whole era based around snakes. She claimed an image that people used to bully her and turned her into her personal brand: there’s nothing more badass than that.

7. When she used the attention from Kanye’s leaked call to ask for donations, instead.

[Image description: pictures from Taylor's Instagram stories replying to the Kanye West controversy]
[Image description: pictures from Taylor’s Instagram stories replying to the Kanye West controversy.] @taylorswift / via Instagram

Continuing with the Taylor vs. Kim feud, in 2020, the full call between Kanye West and Taylor was finally leaked. It resulted in proving that she was telling the truth all along. Kanye never mentioned the line “that bitch” in the call.

Taylor then used all the media attention that she was getting because of the leaked call to ask people to donate money to Feeding America and The World Health Organization.

8. The Easter eggs. All the Easter eggs.

[Image description: Taylor Swift with pink highlights and a blue sweater smiling with a series of pastel Easter eggs in front of her.]
[Image description: Taylor Swift with pink highlights and a blue sweater smiling with a series of pastel Easter eggs in front of her.] via Entertainment Weekly

If you’ve ever followed the release of Taylor Swift’s music, you know that it is very similar to a treasure hunt. Taylor loves to leave clues and Easter eggs in her posts, songs, and music videos for her fans to find. And we love looking for them!

9. Taylor’s hard-hitting points in her acceptance speech during Billboard’s Women of the Decade Award.

[Image description: Taylor Swift against a pink background pointing at herself with both hands]
[Image description: Taylor Swift against a pink background pointing at herself with both hands.] via Wikimedia

Taylor Swift was awarded Billboard‘s first-ever Woman of the Decade, thanks to the singer’s vast musical accomplishments over the course of the 2010s. During her acceptance speech, she used the opportunity to call out sexism within the music industry.

She spoke out on the barrage of criticism typically accepted around women’s bodies and relationships. She called out Scooter Braun and the role of private equity in the music industry. It was an empowering and honest speech where she spoke out about issues of the music industry that are not commonly brought up.

Ettika - Jewelry designed just for you in Los Angeles!

10. The song Ronan and the story behind it.

[Image description: Taylor Swift in a red dress tries not to cry.] Via Google
[Image description: Taylor Swift in a red dress tries not to cry.] via Giphy

One of Taylor Swift’s saddest songs is RonanShe wrote this song using phrases from the blog of a fan that had lost her 4-year-old son, Ronan, to cancer. Taylor credited the fan, Maya Thompson, as co-writer and donated all the proceeds from the song to cancer charities. Taylor has only performed this song once, during a Stand Up To Cancer gala.

11. She has been honest about her struggle with her body image.

[Image description: Taylor Swift with her hair undone singing to a microphone.]
[Image description: Taylor Swift with her hair undone singing to a microphone.] via Giphy

One of the most shocking scenes within Miss Americana is the moment that Taylor confesses that she had an eating disorder. She even pulls out a picture of herself and points out all that she hates about it before stopping herself.

“This would cause me to go into a real shame, hate spiral. I caught myself yesterday starting to do it and I said, ‘Nope. We don’t do that anymore. Because it’s better to think you look fat than look sick.’ There’s always some standard of beauty that you’re not meeting,” she said. “It’s all just fucking impossible.”

It shows that the biggest star on the planet is feeling the same insecurities and pressures that millions of people face. It’s important we reject society’s unrealistic expectations.

12. The “Taylor Swift effect” in voter registration.

[Image description: Instagram post of a polaroid black and white picture of Taylor Swift sitting in the sofa with her head resting on her arm.]
[Image description: Instagram post of a polaroid black and white picture of Taylor Swift sitting on the sofa with her head resting on her arm.] @taylorswift / via Instagram

In 2018, Taylor Swift broke her long-held silence with a post on her Instagram urging people to vote for the Democratic candidate in the Tennessee primaries. She stated all the reasons why she was voting for this candidate and reminded people to register if they wanted to vote.

In the next 24 hours, 65,000 people registered in what the media called the “Taylor Swift effect.”

13. 13 is her lucky number.

[Image description: a young Taylor with curly hair showing the number 13 painted on her hand ]
[Image description: a young Taylor with curly hair showing the number 13 painted on her hand.] via Wikimedia

Who chooses the only number that everyone else considers unlucky as their personal lucky number? Only a queen. And she uses it everywhere.

14. Taylor’s Equality Act petition.

[Image description: Taylor in a concert with her hands in the air and wearing a rainbow outfit.]
[Image description: Taylor in a concert with her hands in the air and wearing a rainbow outfit.] via Wikimedia

When Taylor dropped the song and music video for You Need to Calm Down she was criticized for queerbaiting.

However, many forgot that the song went along a Change.com petition for the Senate to pass the Equality Act, a law against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation that had been approved by the House.

15. She was the sole writer in her third album, Speak Now.

[Image description: Taylor dressed with a golden jacked talking to Jimmy Fallon about having written a song by herself .]
[Image description: Taylor dressed in a golden jacket talking to Jimmy Fallon about having written a song by herself.] via Giphy

Taylor’s greatest talent has always been songwriting. When people criticized her second album, Fearless, saying that such a young girl could not have written those songs, she decided to write her third album, Speak Now, all by herself. It is a masterpiece and shut up critics everywhere.

16. Taylor does free meet-and-greets for her fans.

[Image description: Taylor and two fans with unicorn headbands and pretending to be cats .]
[Image description: Taylor and two fans with unicorn headbands and pretending to be cats.] via Wikimedia

Instead of requiring fans to pay for meet-and-greets, Taylor finds them on social media and the audience. Then she spends hours before and after every show hanging out with the Swifties. Know any other mega celebrity that does that? No? Thought so.

17. She calls out sexism.

[Image description: Taylor Swift with short hair complaining about sexism in music]
[Image description: Taylor Swift with short hair complaining about sexism in music.] via Giphy

She actively speaks out about sexism in the music industry, particularly how people criticize her for writing about her love life yet don’t do the same to male artists.

18. The Apple Letter and her defense of artists’ rights.

[Image description: a series of tweets by Eddie Cue in response to Taylor Swift saying that Apple0s policy will change.]
[Image description: a series of tweets by Eddie Cue in response to Taylor Swift, saying that Apple’s policy will change.] via Wikimedia

For years, Taylor’s used her influence to support artists. In 2015, Taylor wrote an open letter to Apple explaining why she was going to pull her albums from Apple Music. She criticized the policy of not paying artists during the free-trial period of the app. Apple changed its policy less than 24 hours after that.

The latest? In Taylor’s recent deal with Universal Records, she included a clause that stipulates that all of Universal’s artists will be compensated if the label sells its Spotify shares.

Women's clothing

19. She is a proud cat lady.

[Image description: a Taylor riding a giant cat with a unicorn horn in a forest and throwing glitter.]
[Image description: a Taylor riding a giant cat with a unicorn horn in a forest and throwing glitter.] via Giphy

Taylor’s cats are almost as famous as she is. Who could resist Dr. Meredith Grey, Detective Olivia Benson, and Benjamin Button?

20. She doesn’t take herself seriously.

[Image description: Taylor Swift on a running track and falling from it]
[Image description: Taylor Swift on a running track and falling from it suddenly.] via Giphy

Taylor Swift is hilarious. Who else would allow an ad like this one to air?

21. She wrote songs for both The Hunger Games and Hannah Montana: The Movie.

[Image description: Taylor Swift playing the guitar ans singing. At the top there is the Hannah Montana logo.]
[Image description: Taylor Swift playing the guitar and singing. At the top there is the Hannah Montana logo.] via Wikimedia

Two movies that symbolized our teenage years feature the musical genius of Taylor Swift. Who could forget about them?

She wrote You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home for Miley Cyrus, and wrote and performed Crazier. For The Hunger Games, she co-wrote and sang the masterpieces that were Safe and Sound with The Civil Wars and Eyes Open.

 22. She made being 22 cool. 

[Image description: a close-up of Taylor wearing a black hat and red lipstic and mimicking the number 22.]
[Image description: a close-up of Taylor wearing a black hat and red lipstick and mimicking the number 22.] via Giphy

Who hasn’t sang along to Taylor’s song 22 on their birthday? Before her song, turning 21 was the biggest highlight of your early 20s. Then Taylor came along and reminded us that you can still party and have fun, no matter your age.

23. She taught Zac Efron how to play the guitar.

[Image description: Taylor Swift and Zac Efron sitting on a red couch and holding guitars.]
[Image description: Taylor Swift and Zac Efron sitting on a red couch and holding guitars.] via Wikimedia

Vote for Taylor to star in a High School Musical remake?

24. THAT Miss Americana scene.

[Image description: Taylor Swift sitting with her legs crossed in a sofa saying "I need to be on the right side of history".]
[Image description: Taylor Swift sitting with her legs crossed on a sofa saying “I need to be on the right side of history”.] via Giphy

During Miss Americana, Taylor shows the moment when she stood up to her team and her own father and decided to make her political views public. It is a very emotional moment and I still cry every time I watch the scene.

25. Taylor is the first youngest woman in history to win two GRAMMY Awards for Best Album of the Year (plus a couple of others!).

[Image description: Taylor Swift holding four Grammy awards in the red carpet and looking shocked.]
[Image description: Taylor Swift holding four Grammy awards in the red carpet and looking shocked.] via Wikimedia

The first album was awarded to her when she was just twenty, making her the youngest person to win this award (until Billie Eilish). We love us some successful women.

26. She stalks her fans on social media (in the nicest possible way!).

[Image description: picture of an instagram account with a message from Taylor saying: SABRINA I LOVE YOU.]
[Image description: Screenshot of Instagram account with a message from Taylor saying: SABRINA I LOVE YOU.] via Buzzfeed

Taylor Swift recently offered financial help to fans who were left without work amid the COVID-19 pandemic, sending them $3,000 each.

She also has secret social media accounts where she follows her fans and sends them monetary help or concert invitations. 

27. She made country music cool and then switched into a whole new music genre. 

[Image description: Taylor Swift dressed in a purple dress and jacket shrugging.]
[Image description: Taylor Swift dressed in a purple dress and jacket shrugging.] via Giphy

Taylor was a successful country artist and could have continued being one for years. Instead, she decided to take a leap and switch to pop, teaching us to not be afraid of change.

Search and buy domains from Namecheap

28. Her self-awareness.

[Image description: Two Taylor Swift looking at each other dressed in costumes from her tour. One of them is crying because the other one is calling her 'fake'.]
[Image description: Two Taylor Swift looking at each other dressed in costumes from her tour. One of them is crying because the other one is calling her ‘fake’.] via Giphy

Songs like Blank Space and Look What You Made Me Do are great examples of how Taylor parodies the image that the media has created of her in a brilliant and catchy way.

29. She taught me that it’s okay for people not to like you.

[Image description: Taylor Swift singing to the camera 'Haters gonna hate'.]
[Image description: Taylor Swift singing to the camera ‘Haters gonna hate’.] via Giphy

At the end of the day, the only person that needs to like you is yourself.

30. Her constant reinvention.

[Image description: Taylor Swift's style evolution]
[Image description: Taylor Swift’s style evolution.] via Universal Records

Any Taylor Swift fan will be able to recognize the year and album it is whenever Taylor posts a throwback photo. Taylor changes her style, hair, and aesthetic for every era she enters.

31. That time when she learned to apologize for apologizing and showed us that it’s okay to be angry.

[Image description: Taylor Swift sitting in a couch apologizing and then apologizing for apologizing.]
[Image description: Taylor Swift sitting in a couch apologizing and then apologizing for apologizing.] via Giphy

During the last scene of Miss Americana, Taylor is seen ranting about sexism. Then she stops herself and apologizes for getting angry. A woman behind a camera tells her not to apologize because she is allowed to be angry. At that moment, Taylor recognized her moment to learn and took it to do so.

32. Last, but definitely not least, I’ll always love her for just how imperfect she is.

[Image description: Person cries into the camera with the text, "LEAVE TAYLOR ALONE."] via Youtube
[Image description: Person cries into the camera with the text, “LEAVE TAYLOR ALONE.”] via Youtube

She hasn’t always used her voice, and she’s been involved in drama. But no one is perfect, and Taylor genuinely is someone who treats her fans and everyone the way they want to be treated — with respect. 

Can’t get enough of The Tempest? Check out our other newsletters for more email goodness:

  • The Tempest Weekly: Sent every Sunday, a dose of good news and storytelling, intel, and eye candy.
  • Need/Want/Love: A handpicked selection of themed stories with a personal twist from around the world, sent on Mondays and Fridays.

https://thetempest.co/?p=132182
Beatriz Valero de Urquia

By Beatriz Valero de Urquia

Junior Pop Culture Editor