When the pop star testified against the DJ David Mueller, whom she accuses of sexual assault, she was admirably cool, calm and composed
My musical solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should Donald Trump act unwisely. And guess whos at the top of my Motivating Music for a Nuclear Winter playlist? Taylor Swift.
The last few days have seen a temperamental Trump tweet the world closer to world war III. The president has been emotional, voluble and reckless traits one would tolerate in a toddler but which are treacherous in a head of state.
Presenting a far more presidential demeanor, however, has been Taylor Swift. This week, the pop star has been settling a score of her own in a Denver courthouse. And while the White House may be a hot mess, Swift has been the picture of cool, collected and courageous. If Trump wants to learn what tough really looks like, he could do with taking some lessons from Tay-Tay.
In case youre unfamiliar with the case, a quick recap. In 2013, Swift took a photo with a Denver radio host called David Mueller during a meet-and-greet. According to Swift, Mueller groped her butt as they were having their picture taken. Mueller was subsequently fired and, in 2015, sued Swift for at least $3m, claiming he lost his job because of allegations he says are false. The singer swiftly counter-sued for sexual assault.
Swift is seeking a symbolic $1 and has said she wants to be an example for other women who have been assaulted; any money she wins will be donated towards a charity that fights sexual assault.
On Thursday, Swift took to the stand for the first time to testify. Immediately, she was subjected to the sort of victim blaming-and-shaming that stops so many women from coming forward about sexual assault.
Muellers lawyer, Gabriel McFarland, for example, asked Swift how she felt about her accusations costing his client his job. Swift defended herself in a manner that has been an inspiration to women everywhere: Im not going to allow you or your client to make me feel in any way that this is my fault. Here we are years later, and Im being blamed for the unfortunate events of [Muellers] life that are the product of his decisions not mine.
While Swift has rightly been lauded by many, shes also been criticized and accused of attention-seeking. Of course she has. Anytime a woman stands up for herself, there are always people ready to knock her down. Anytime a woman refuses to be treated as if her sole purpose in life is the pleasure of men, there are people quick to punish her for it.
Last year, for example, the supermodel Gigi Hadid fought off a man who attempted to grab her from behind as she was leaving a fashion show in Milan. As if it wasnt bad enough that Hadid had to defend herself from a stranger who thought he was entitled to manhandle her, the supermodel was then forced to defend her actions to critics who basically accused her of overreacting.
NOT MODEL BEHAVIOUR, read one headline from the Daily Mail, which presumably thought Hadid should have been flattered by the attention. The incident was also severely played down by journalists, with the man routinely described as a prankster.
Forcing yourself on to someone like that isnt a prank, however its assault. That shouldnt be something you have to explain. Nevertheless, women are constantly forced to explain the fact that their bodies arent public possessions over and over again. Swift is doing just that at the moment.
Women are also constantly forced to fight for proper recognition of and respect for their work. Throughout her career, Swift has routinely been portrayed as crazy and obsessive; a silly boy-obsessed little girl.
This despite the fact that the 27-year-old is worth $280m and the youngest woman on Forbess list of Americas richest self-made women. This despite the fact that she was the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a number one on the Hot Country Songs chart.
This despite the fact that, in 2009, Swift became the youngest album of the year winner at the Grammys. I could go on and on. Ever since she started working in music at the age of 14, Swift has amassed an impressive list of accolades. And yet shes still got men trying to negate her achievements.
Take Kanye West, for example, whose song Famous features the line I made that bitch [Swift] famous in reference to when West famously interrupted Swift at the VMAs in 2009.
But as Swift is reminding the world this week, she made herself famous, and for good reason. Swift is a force to be reckoned with: underestimate her at your peril.
With a misogynist in Americas highest office a man who treats women like objects for his personal amusement Swifts public declaration of her self-worth and her assertion of her rights is incredibly powerful.
So Tay-Tay 2020, anyone? If there is a 2020, that is.