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The Taylor Swift Phenomenon: Creating a Cult Like Following

marquinamarie, Instagram
Graffiti on bus stop mocking Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift, the name that divides people into hardcore enthusiasts or aggressive critics. When it comes to the realm of pop culture, few celebrities are able to create such polarizing views. Some view her as a songwriting legend, a cultural icon whose work goes above and beyond. Furthermore, there are some who believe her music is nothing to write home about, and she is just another catchy pop artist. My problem with Swift is not with her music, but with her fans.

There’s no denying Swift’s monumental impact on the music industry. Swift started from humble beginnings and worked to become a worldclass popstar, and she has earned every right to fame and success. There is no doubt that Swift deserves all that she has achieved and succeeded in. However, her fans make it hard to support Swift for many reasons.

First of all, the main problem I find with Taylor Swift fans is the way they defend her, and it seems as though they believe Swift, as well as themselves, can do no wrong. Taylor swift, like everyone else on earth is open to valid criticism. There is a ginormous difference between criticizing to be mean and having real critiques and valid criticism. However, any real criticism given to Swift is combatted and met rudely.

For example, Swift produced 138 tons of CO2 waste within the course of 3 months flying her private jet` to visit her boyfriend, Travis Kelce. The average US citizen produces 16 tons of CO2 waste per year, so Swift produced the same amount of CO2 waste in 3 months to visit her boyfriend that would take almost 9 citizens to generate in a year. There is valid genuine criticism there, Swift is producing a ridiculous amount of CO2 waste to fly to visit her boyfriend instead of driving or taking an alternative such as train. This same criticism is applied to countless celebrities who also use private plane rides liberally, but it does not become a problem until the criticism is used against Swift. The moment Swift is the one being criticized her fans jump to her aid blindly and will defend her despite there being clear hypocrisy and genuine criticism, often using crude remarks to put you down.

The problem does not come with Swifts fans defending her, the problem arises in how they defend their idol. Swift fans will refuse to acknowledge your argument, they get angry, they swear, and over the internet will often threaten violence and death.  The inability of the fans to hear their idol be criticized and being unable to take the criticism as constructive is the signs of someone who lacks maturity. A famous Youtuber “Meat Canyon” made a satirical cartoon in which he depicted a hypothetical situation of Travis Kelce attempting to leave Taylor Swift, only for Swifts fans to capture Kelce and have Swift devour Kelce’s soul. The cartoon, while untasteful, was created to emphasize the way fans will follow Swift. The cartoons creator was soon met with streams of death threats from Swift fans, and accusations of hating women. While the cartoon was untasteful, the fans proved the creators point by acting in the manner that he was making the satirical joke about.

Furthermore, what also has me sometimes cringing and confused is the level in which Swift fans will celebrate her. Everybody has a hyper fixation on something, we all have passions and things we follow like hawks, but Swift fans are in an entirely different bracket. For example, when it was announced that Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce had gotten together, the sale of Travis Kelce jerseys shot up by 400%. This is just one example of how dedicated Swift fans are to Swift’s life. I have had personal experiences of hearing a Swift fan say aloud that they will be celebrating Swift’s birthday, and to celebrate will be decorating and seeing the Eras tour movie. I simply do not understand celebrating a celebrity to that level, especially when celebrities do not even know that you exist. There are videos online of Swift fans at a concert and she will be preforming and will look in the direction of the fan recording, and the fan will say that Swift noticed them, when it is clear she did not.

Finally, Swift fans will combine their idolization and bitterness for criticism and will judge you for your taste in music. One does not need to even criticize Swift; one can simply say they just do not like Swifts music, and that is enough to start a chain reaction of unruliness. Swift fans will hear you do not like Taylor Swift and whether it was stated rudely or not, will proceed to ask what you listen to and then pick it apart. Firsthand I have seen this happen, somebody said they did not like Swift, and the Swift fan proceeded to make the other person feel guilty and shame their taste in music.

Overall, for these reasons, supporting Swift becomes difficult when the fandom comes off so unwelcoming to unfamiliar people. If the Swift fandom was more welcoming and did not devote so much of their own life to a celebrity, Swift would not be as controversial of a subject.

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About the Contributor
Christian Witte
Christian Witte, Reporter
Christian is a junior at Utica Highschool and it is his first year on staff. Christian spends his spare time with loved ones and friends. He also enjoys going to concerts, going to new places, and anything music. Christian is a fan of self-expression and improvement. He believes everyone can learn to be better.

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    Martha WoodworthFeb 18, 2024 at 12:34 am

    Not a “Swiftie” but I do admire Taylor Swift. She’s real and she’s intelligent, a good role model for young women coming up in the world. Her following is not a cult, however. Cults are groups led by narcissistic power mongers who try to control their followers’ personal lives and demand loyalty only to them, even going so far as to ensnare them in group criminal behavior or a death trap. Swift clearly champions other musical artists and is a respectable, law-abiding citizen.

    • F

      FishApr 23, 2024 at 2:29 pm

      How to spot a Swiftie:

      SWIFTIE: “I’m not a “Swiftie”, but…”