“Feminist Taylor Swift” is absolutely delighted with feminist Taylor Swift.
On Monday, Maxim announced that pop-star extraordinaire Taylor Swift had topped their 2015 “Hot 100” list. In the accompanying interview, she discusses why she has recently become more vocal about her feminist views.
“Honestly, I didn’t have an accurate definition of feminism when I was younger,” she told the men’s magazine. “I didn’t see myself being held back until I was a woman. Or the double standards in headlines, the double standards in the way stories are told, the double standards in the way things are perceived… Misogyny is ingrained in people from the time they are born. So to me, feminism is probably the most important movement that you could embrace, because it’s just basically another word for equality.”
Tay-Tay started to come out as a feminist last August. In an interview with The Guardian, she revealed that she had abandoned the false definition of feminism (“that you hate men”), in large part due to her friendship with fellow feminist celeb Lena Dunham. “Becoming friends with Lena… has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so,” Swift admitted.
This is all a significant shift from how she felt in 2012, when she told The Daily Beast, “I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls,” when asked if she considered herself a feminist.
This is a development that deeply pleases the other Feminist Taylor Swift.
Two years ago—well before Tay-Tay was a self-described feminist—Clara Beyer, then a rising senior at Brown University, pitched a simple idea on Twitter: “Idea for a single purpose twitter: feminist Taylor Swift.”
Then, with the help of her classmate Kevin Carty, she created the “FeministTaylorSwift” Twitter account, which reconfigures Swift lyrics with feminist messages. “@feministtswift” now has 100,000 followers (which is a fraction of Tay-Tay’s 57 million, but still impressive), and gained plenty of news coverage from everyone from ABC News and The Washington Post to BuzzFeed and Mashable. Here are some examples of the feminist tweets:
Today, the title of Beyer’s parody account sounds, thankfully, redundant.
“I’d like to take full credit, obviously,” Beyer told The Daily Beast in a discernibly sarcastic tone. “I am clearly the reason this has happened. It has nothing to do with Lena Dunham, or experiencing more of the world—it was all me and my Twitter.”
Beyer, who is now working as a web developer at Veracity Media in Washington, D.C., still runs the Twitter account—although she doesn’t tweet from it as often as she used to.
“The reason I made the account was because she was one of my favorite artists. And I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to make a feminist version of this artist, who doesn’t say she’s a feminist right now?’”
After “@feministtswift” made national news, Beyer started getting trolled online by the occasional hardcore Taylor Swift fan—colloquially known as “Swifties”—who accused her of hating on their pop idol. (Many others were unsure what to make of the parody at first, but eventually came around to the joke after learning that Beyer was staunchly pro-Tay.)
"Beyer’s friends would joke that if Swift had any knowledge of the parody account, she likely didn’t find it amusing."
“She probably hates you,” they would say.
Fortunately, Tay-Tay soon proved to Beyer that there was no bad blood between them. It was the moment “Feminist Taylor Swift” actually got to meet the real Taylor Swift.
“I met her [last] summer! I got to go to her house,” Beyer said.
Last year, Beyer entered a contest, in which each candidate had to write a couple sentences on why he or she was the most devoted Swiftie. Winners would get to meet Taylor Swift. So, Beyer wrote in, and explained that she was behind “FeministTaylorSwift.” Shortly thereafter she found herself among the winners. She attended the Yahoo! livestream where Swift premiered her song “Shake It Off” last August.
“After the livestream, they brought us to her Tribeca apartment to eat pizza, dance in the kitchen, and meet her cats,” Beyer said. And to Beyer’s relief, Swift only had nice things to say about @feministtswift.
“She told me that she had seen the account, and that she thought it was cool,” Beyer recalls.
Here’s a group shot featuring Swift and Beyer (far left) at the apartment in New York City. The singer apparently told everyone to grab an award for the photo, so that’s Beyer wielding a CMA:
As for Swift’s relatively recent embrace of feminism, Beyer is, naturally, thrilled.
“I’m just so happy for [Taylor],” Beyer said. “She’s seemed so happy in the past year or so.”