#HerTake: Taylor Swift, empowering young women

April 29, 2024

Photo of Taylor Swift RED Tour (cropped) by Jana Beamer, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Katie Clark and Olivia Wells celebrate the music of feminist icon

With ten record-breaking albums and four re-recordings, Taylor Swift stands as a trailblazer in the 21st century music industry.

Her skilful song writing, and captivating lyricism has resonated with generations of self-proclaimed ‘swifties’. From the genre-defining pop hit, 1989, to the powerful storytelling of Folklore, and the pure-hearted country classics of her debut album Taylor Swift, there’s a favourite song for everyone.

In recent years, Taylor Swift has embarked on the exciting journey of re-recording her first six albums. With each release, across those 11 years of Taylor’s life, we find ourselves reliving these changes in snapshots of time alongside her.

Her career has spanned our lifetimes. Growing up in the 2000s, her music supplied the soundtrack to our youth, guiding us through difficult emotions, relationships, while raising our self-awareness.

The 2008 song Fifteen encapsulates for us what it’s like being a teenage girl in a small town, with lyrics such as “say hi to your friends you haven’t seen in a while, try and stay out of everybody’s way” and “you’re 15, feelin’ like there’s nothing to figure out”.

On her next album, Speak Now, the song Never Grow Up beautifully captures the universal rite of passage inherent in the process of growing older. The lyrics express emotions like, “Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up … just stay this little … it could stay this simple”.

On Taylor’s 2012 pop-country fusion album Red, her number one single 22 expresses the freedom and fun of being a young adult, in comedic yet relatable lyrics, such as “We’re happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way: it’s miserable and magical”.

Now, as we listen to Taylor’s re-recordings, it feels almost as though we’ve grown up beside her. Her lyrics resonate as closely as if they were taken straight from the pages of our diaries.

Taylor Swift uses her music to courageously address deep-rooted misogyny

Taylor Swift’s music is a potent emotional catalyst, and its impact goes beyond mere enjoyment. A recent report by The Children’s Society highlights the significant positive impact of listening to our favourite tunes on our mental health. Scientifically, it has been proven that engaging with music triggers the release of hormones, including serotonin and adrenaline. This not only boosts mood but also provides an increase in energy and motivation.

Taylor, a feminist icon, uses her music to courageously address prevalent issues like deep-rooted misogyny, empowering her audience and challenging societal norms.

Her song, The Man universally strikes a chord with women, capturing the frustration of societal double standards. It resonates with young girls who are sick of hearing the phrase from their teachers, “I need a strong boy to help me move these chairs”, through to successful businesswomen, consistently underestimated simply because they aren’t men.

Some of her more introspective songs, such as This Is Me Trying and You’re On Your Own, Kid, have helped us adapt through changing periods in our lives, including moving to a different college, and adjusting to the change from GCSE to A-Level. With over 108 million Spotify monthly listeners, we are clearly not alone in these beliefs.

In 2023, Taylor Swift’s music achieved over 26.1 billion streams globally, significantly impacting our lives. We’re appreciate having a strong positive female role model who writes relatable, empowering and comforting music.

Taylor Swift’s latest album, April 2024, The Tortured Poets Department, is filled with a myriad of references to celebrities from both the realms of music and poetry. Check it out here, it’s amazing!

__________________________________________________________________________________

Olivia Wells, co writer of this article is currently studying A Level English Literature, Geography and Psychology. With a strong passion for reading, writing, film and music, she delves into societal topics with great enthusiasm and curiosity.

Katie is studying A Levels Politics, English Literature and Language at Woodhouse College. She enjoys writing articles and creative writing pieces. Katie loves dancing and has been taking ballet classes since the age of four. Listening to music is very important to Katie and helps her make sense of life.

Other work

Donate via PayPal

Exposure is an award-winning youth communications charity giving young people in north London a voice.

Please support us to continue our work. Thank you.