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Opinion: I’m not ashamed of being a Taylor Swift fan despite being told to listen to ‘better’ music

Anyone who knows me will know that I am a massive ‘Swiftie’. If you’re not aware of the term, it means I’m a big fan of the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.

For me, this happened when she brought out her biggest album ‘1989’ (named after the year she was born) in 2014. I had just finished university and distinctly remember listening to it with my friends while visiting one of them who was completing a Masters in Sweden.

So when Taylor announced that her re-recorded version (as she seeks to take back ownership of her music) was being released last Friday, it’s fair to say I was among the hundreds of thousands around the world who were more than a little bit excited by this news.

Taylor Swift's 1989 Taylor's Version
Taylor Swift's 1989 Taylor's Version

But when I spoke of my excitement to some of my colleagues – who let’s be fair here, have listened to me and one of my other workmates mention Taylor multiple times a day – it was suggested to me that I listen to other “better” music instead.

I felt this was unfair, as (up to a certain point) music taste is totally subjective. Yes, I like a huge range of music genres and styles, but I believe you cannot call Taylor’s music bad.

You can say it’s not to your liking, sure, but it’s not bad – more than one million people who listen to her music each month on Spotify (making her the platform’s second biggest artist) would beg to differ.

And this got me thinking about all the times that culture, that is more often than not popular with women, is dismissed. I’m sure it’s not always the conscious reason to bash these TV shows, films, music and books… but it is quite the pattern.

It first occurred to me when Harry Styles himself – formerly of boyband One Direction – said to Rolling Stone several years ago: “Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music – short for popular, right? – have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy?”

He went on to say that young girls were some of the first who backed The Beatles – who of course went on to be one of the biggest bands of all time.

There’s also a podcast that delves deeper called Sentimental Garbage, hosted by Caroline O’Donoghue, about the “culture that society can sometimes make us feel ashamed of”.

All I know is that I’m certainly not ashamed to be a Swiftie – and neither should you be of the culture you enjoy, even if others don’t like it.

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