Don’t be ‘Mean’ to Taylor

Don%27t+be+%27Mean%27+to+Taylor+

Elizabeth Campbell

By Stacey Stein, Editor-In-Chief

In today’s music industry, few singers serve as role models for young girls. In a scene dominated by performers like Rihanna and Ke$ha, who are well known for partying, it is refreshing to see an artist who has found success while still managing to stay tasteful. After having her newest album Red, go triple platinum, Taylor Swift has proven that she can reach the highest levels of success while maintaining her wholesome image.

Ever since bursting onto the music scene at the age of 16, Swift has come to be known for her relatable music, most of which is about love. Contrary to what many say, Swift has a great deal of music about other topics.

Granted, many of Swift’s songs are about relationships. But, what about “Tied Together With A Smile,” her song about a friend with an eating disorder? Or “The Best Day,” in which Swift thanks her mom for always being there for her? Of course, nobody can forget “Mean,” her Grammy-award-winning song that has become an anthem for bullied kids worldwide. These serve as just a few examples of songs where Swift explores  issues important to her.

Still, after Red’s success, Swift was criticized for her multitude of love songs. However, most popular songs today are about love. Two of the top songs in America right now are Maroon 5’s “One More Night” and Rihanna’s “Diamonds.”

“One More Night” tells the tale of a man who basically stays with a girl in order to keep having sex.  In “Diamonds,” Rihanna sings not only about sex, but drugs too.

Unlike these artist’s,  Swift’s songs about relationships serve a higher purpose. She chooses to sing about the emotional rather than the physical aspects of love, while giving messages to her fans and allowing them a window into her personal life.

Swift has also received criticism for calling out her exes, but this accusation is baseless. Only once, has Swift confirmed who a song is about when she told Ellen Degeneres that she wrote “Forever and Always” about Joe Jonas after he left her a 27-second phone voicemail breaking up with her.

Other than this one instance, Swift maturely stays quiet about ex-boyfriends in public. Instead of discussing with the media how she’s been wronged, she chooses to express both heartbreak and happiness through her art.

Outside her music, Swift enjoys a lifestyle that sets her apart from others in the business. She is constantly looking for ways to give back to fans.

Swift has invited fans to her apartment. When a cancer patient asked her to prom and she couldn’t make it, she invited him to be her date to the American Country Music Awards. After Swift made an online contest for schools to vote for her to come and perform, pranksters made Horace Mann School for the Deaf receive the most votes. Her response? Giving $10,000 to the school and a concert ticket to each student.

Swift has donated thousands of dollars to promote the arts and children’s literacy, and she has given to multiple natural disaster relief funds. However, she doesn’t just write checks. In 2008, she recorded a PSA for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Network.

One of her most recent charitable endeavors was Sept. 7, when she performed “Ronan” at the Stand Up to Cancer telethon. Swift drew inspiration from Ronan’s mom’s blog for this emotional song about a boy who died just before his fourth birthday. Pictures of Swift crying after the performance prove how much she truly cared.

Thompson, who was credited as a songwriter, is donating her proceeds to The Ronan Thompson Foundation ,while Swift is donating her royalties to cancer-related charities.

Swift’s hard work and philanthropy have earned her respect inside and outside of the music industry. Take Michelle Obama’s word for it—she presented Swift with the Big Help award and commended her for being “someone who has shattered every expectation of what a 22-year-old should accomplish.” She was also awarded the Ripple of Hope award, whose past recipients include Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Bono.

Swift gives hope to her numberless fans. She was bullied as a teen and struggled to find a label to sign her. When she did sign to her tiny label, she had to forge her own connections and reach success the hard way.

Despite obstacles, Swift continues to stay on top of the music world and use her fame as a platform for philanthropy, all while maintaining an incredibly loyal fan base. Does she write a lot of songs about love? Yes. But if fans truly listen to her songs, they will discover a different overbearing theme. More than anything else, Swift tries to encourage fans to be themselves. After all, as she once said, “If you were lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change.”