Like millions of others, I eagerly awaited the release ofmidnight“Taylor Swift’s latest album. Although I’ve always loved Taylor’s music, my obsession has kicked in at full throttle with”folklore” And the “foreverHer two albums for 2020.
In fact, I combined the two into a playlist that I dubbed Everlore. You have already ordered “Midnight” On vinyl, then the lavender version was pre-released at Target, and I mean purple is my favorite color, and the Victrola spinning tray I recently bought is lavender, so yeah, you probably ordered that too. (I apologize to my husband Thomas for finding out this way.)
We’re currently on a big road trip so I probably won’t listen to it until we get home, but I had to watch video for the song”against the hero On my phone this morning as soon as I wake up. And I mostly loved it! (Taylor bleeds brilliant purple pen ink, and I’m here for it.)
Just as I suspect many of us would, I have been very attached to these words. It should be “midnight becomes afternoon when my depression works to shift the graveyard”, for example, it should be my next tattoo. (It wouldn’t be the case, but I feel deeply–and live–these words at times.)
There is a clear sense of deep self-loathing and doubt in the lyrics of this song. I love that Swift wrote about these feelings, and that she’s willing to let people see that you can have what feels like everything you want, and still feel the malicious whispers of depression.
Depression is not a measure of a happy and fulfilling life. You can have both. You can’t have either. The more people with major platforms openly talk about their mental health struggles, the less stigma, and the more people will be willing to talk about their struggles — and hopefully seek help for them.
Swift has spoken in the past about Her problems with body image, so it’s no surprise that this appears in these words, where she sings, “I’ll stare straight at the sun, but never in the mirror.” Again, I expect this to resonate with many of her fans well.
Unfortunately, this is where we take a turn for my love of the music video, because at one point, Swift’s “Anti-Hero” version, clearly her worst inner critic, put her on the bathroom scale. When the real Taylor looks down, the scale reads “fat.”
sigh. The worst part of this is that the moment I got to that range, I knew. Before word came, I felt like it was coming in the hole of my remaining stomach that was surgically partially amputated just so I could get an MRI more easily. Because fat phobia is pervasive in our culture.
Taylor Swift has never been fat and never has been. In fact, some of the negative criticism she has faced regarding body image has revolved around her being “too skinny”. Swift admitted that it bothers her, but she also spoke about how she’s seen comments speculating that she might be pregnant, and how those comments led to her not addressing her.
But “fat” is not a bad word (to be clear and not too skinny). It is a descriptive word that turns society into an insult. It took so much (treatment, time, and support from other obesity activists) for me to be able to use “fat” to describe my body in a neutral way, and I’d be lying if I said there aren’t days when it never does you still think in my head exactly the same way this means the video.
The obvious difference is that unlike Taylor, I’m not just fat; I’m often the fattest person anyone knows. I “increase“ This comes with a lot of luggage that I didn’t pack, but still had to carry. Someone who looks like Taylor will never understand how fat one feels. They may “feel fat,” because our culture has turned body size into feelings, and because even skinny women are hurt by the malicious and painful messages from our society about bodies, but it’s not the same as obesity actually. There are millions of lived experiences erased by this message, including mine, and they are bad.
There are many other words this scale would have displayed that would have conveyed the feelings Swift experienced regarding body image, without referring to obesity — or thinness. Because to be clear, I wouldn’t endorse that scale that says “too thin” either. (But she didn’t, and there’s a reason “fat” is what her brain tells her is the worst word here.)
Alternative words this scale can display: not worth. Unloved. hated. awesome. bad. This list goes on and on. The point then would be that the scale can’t measure your value, but if you allow it, it will lie to you about your value. For her millions of fans, I would love that this was a message that “your body size is not the most important.”
Instead, we see a skinny woman being told she’s fat by the scale, sending a dangerous message that even skinny people (especially women and women) aren’t actually thin enough. As I write this from the perspective of a fat person, I want to make it clear that this message hurts skinny people as well. That’s not maybe, not in a video that has already garnered 16 million views and 1.4 million likes in less than two days.
I’m not trying to “un-” Taylor Swift. If anything, I’m heartbroken because with all her success and talent, being overweight is still one of her worst fears. But it is not difficult for me to understand.
She was only 15 years old when she became famous. (At 15, I was hospitalized for a seven-week eating disorder.) She has literally lived more than half her life, starting as her young, impressionable teen, in the spotlight. She grew up in an industry where she was fortunate to still have the main profession to play, especially as a woman, because many young artists don’t maintain this level of success for long.
I’m not sure there is anyone who can live in her world (let alone grow in it) without internalizing these messages on a deep level. Obesity could end her career completely – because that’s how fat phobias are in the world in general, forget the entertainment industry. Let it soak for a moment.
However, that’s exactly why I love nothing more than Taylor changing this scene in the video. Edit it or change the word. They both work. There is a responsibility that comes with a platform of its size, and given the number of its young fans, and sometimes second generation Swifties, this is really something that can make a powerful and positive impact. But as it stands, she’s pretty negative—especially for her chubby fans of all ages. It also allows her industry to perpetuate situations that have led to her feeling this way.
When was Lizzo lately Out-of-service For using a word in her lyrics that was an insult to many disabled fans, she changed the lyrics. Beyonce They used the same word and changed it too. This was unbelievable. These two wonderful and talented women listened to fans and not only responded. They have acted.
Given that most people consider obesity an option, I don’t expect much, if any, outrage about this moment in the video, at least outside Fat Activity social communication Who was trying to start a dialogue about this scene. But if it did… well, that would send a very powerful message to millions of people.
I don’t want anyone to suffer from ED, but obese people also have eating disorders, Including loss of appetite. We’re already struggling to get a cure for these deadly conditions — not hearing our pleas for help, lost in the din of voices screaming about how obesity itself is a disease. We celebrate weight loss, even if – as Taylor said – we are actively starving ourselves, skipping meals or engaging in other harmful behaviors. We’re supposed to try to be skinny at all costs… Even if it’s slowly killing us, as it kills Our skinny peers. This is why this is so important.
I wouldn’t be waking up in the middle of the night obsessing or expecting this scene to be changed or removed…but I still dreamed it could happen.
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