Images provided by Lauren Swanson. All rights reserved.
Taylor Swift and Feminism
Taylor Swift, the (sometimes country) pop princess, has been America’s sweetheart since she set the country music world ablaze in 2008 with songs like “Our Song” and “Teardrops on My Guitar”. Since then she’s been on dozens of magazine covers, countless red carpets, and won more than a handful of Grammy’s. Her endearingly spiraled hair and teenage soap-opera lyrics charmed the industry and inspired millions of young girls to become fearless and never let a man define their future. She sounds pretty perfect, right? Alongside her list of accolades is another list of a different sort; her list of men that she has dated (I’ll admit, some are probably just rumored relationships). Here’s the most current list (which reads a lot like an A-lister’s phonebook): Joe Jonas, Lucas Till, Taylor Lautner, John Mayer, Cory Monteith, Toby Hemingway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zac Efron, Garrett Hedlund, Eddie Redmayne, Conor Kennedy, and Harry Styles. While there’s nothing wrong with a young woman playing the field, especially since men are often congratulated for dating countless beautiful women, I do have a problem with the way Swift has apparently manipulated her relationships and failures with these men to make a profit. Penning a song may be her version of writing in her diary, but following through and recording a song that is obviously aimed towards someone else is not only spiteful, but embarrassing. One of the biggest objections to “Sex and the City,” HBO’s evergreen which now has become syndicated on E! during their “Ladies Who Lunch” marathon every afternoon, was that Carrie Bradshaw and her gal pals use and abuse men. While all four ladies on the show have a prominent professional life, dating men seems to be their only career. Bradshaw, in particular, created a livelihood based on publicly airing her relationships with men. This objectification of males and relying on them to aid your success seems suspiciously similar to what Swift does in her own songs. Swift, like Bradshaw, writes about the men in her life through thinly-veiled lyrics which accuse men for being always wrong. This is not a good message to be sending young girls who listen to Swift religio+usly. Everyone should be held accountable for their own actions, especially in a relationship. If young girls are taught to believe that they are always the victims, they will never become anything but victims. While Swift’s intentions may be to empower females who have struggled similarly to her, the result has evolved into quite the opposite. Publicly, Swift has claimed that she is not a feminist. In a recent “Vanity Fair” interview, Swift said that she believes that feminism is about “guys vs. girls.” If her definition of feminism was accurate, which I believe it’s not, then she could be labeled a feminist. However, feminism is all about men and women being treated and viewed as equal human beings. Through Swift’s lyrics, she has a tendency to objectify men, thus creating an unequal balance between men and women. So, if Swift, who is the voice for so many young women, is confused about her own beliefs regarding her gender role, where does that lead all her female fans? In addition, Swift has publicly slammed Tina Fey, who joked about the singer and her dating habits at the Golden Globes. Instead of laughing it off like any other person with a sense of humor would do (c’mon T-Swift, it’s Tina Fey), the thin-skinned Swift backlashed against the comedienne in a very hypocritical way. “You know, Katie Couric is one of my favorite people, because she said to me she had heard a quote that she loved, that said, ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women,’” Swift said in a recent “Vanity Fair” interview regarding the Fey incident. This quote seems very contradictory to the statement that she tries to make. By claiming that women who don’t help other women go to hell, isn’t Swift herself not helping other women? Also, it appears that Swift has either been living in a cave or is incredibly misinformed and self-centered if she believes that Fey doesn’t help other women. Fey’s role in helping women be viewed as funny and successful comedy writers and producers has been incalculable. As a result of this “feud”, Swift comes off seeming like the popular girl that peaked in high school and blames others for her fall from grace. Album after album, Swift has created songs that are centralized around men. This fact echoes a theme that is overwhelmingly popular in the film industry today. The female role in most movie genres, aside from female gothics or film noir, is to be the object of desire to men. Even romantic comedies, which are aimed towards a female audience, revolve around the concept that women’s only goal in life is to be desired by a man. In contrast, men have more significant roles in film that surround themes of following their destiny, defending their honor (which includes protecting their property and woman), and being a strong leader in the face of adversity. The female lead characters are limited and divided into two roles. As explained in the first “Sex and the City” movie, a woman can either be a “witch” or a “sexy kitten”. With her male-centered songs, Swift is confirming society’s notions that females are simply there for the benefit of men. I would love to see Swift escape from her fairytale, ice-cream cone world and write a song about something much more powerful than about how you’re never ever ever getting back together.
During the summer of 2013, Lauren worked as an intern to the Editor-in-Chief of VIP Magazine in Dublin, Ireland. Because of the small staff that worked on the magazine, she was given the amazing opportunity to have hands-on experience working with the magazine.
Lauren has been freelance graphic designing for several years. She often does posters or advertisements for online campaigns. In the past, she has created online campaign designs as Brand Manager for Georgie & Elaine, based out of New York and Cleveland.
Faculty & Senior Dance Concert
Poster designs made for the Spring 2015 Faculty & Senior dance concert for Wittenberg's Theatre and Dance Department
Georgie & Elaine
Work done as Brand Manager for Georgie & Elaine
Images provided by Lauren Swanson. All rights reserved.
Dance has always been a means to communicate that which I cannot speak, explore that which I cannot grasp, and release that which chains me. The act of dancing, for me, involves as much the mind as it does the body. I thrive in movement that requires a coordinating analytical thought and idea.
I am specfically interested in dance that explores the darkness of one’s mentality and the lightness of one’s spirit. I strive to create works that are both haunting and beautiful, much like a midnight walk through a cemetery under the celestial sky.
Dancing has always been a part of my life and as I grow older, I see dance everywhere in the world around me. I draw inspiration from poetry and art, along with pedestrian actions. I find beauty in the minimalistic and simplistic movements, particularly because of the weight and power they hold despite their size.
My goal is to create choreographic works that capture the feeling of reading a poem- dripping with repetition, deep symbols, and mental stimulation. I believe in the power of literature and dance to engage areas of one’s mind that are previously untapped.
Recently, I was the Artistic Director of the Faculty and Senior Dance Concert. This role consisted of organizing the show order, designing programs and posters, designing the concert t-shirt, working directly with the stage manager and lighting designers, and operating all light tech and dress rehearsals. In addition to all of these tasks, I also choreographed three pieces based off of the journey of womanhood.