By now you’ve probably read Taylor Swift’s incredibly revealing interview with The Guardian in which she declares her hatred for Donald Trump and announces that she’s pro-choice.
While most are currently obsessed with Taylor’s new outspoken political views (and for good reason!), there’s one small part of the interview that everyone has pretty much ignored: her comments on white privilege.
The comments came amidst a conversation about her perceived tendency to “play the victim” — a narrative that can be traced back to the 2009 Kanye West VMA incident. Since then, there have been numerous occasions which have contributed to Taylor’s reputation of victimhood.
In response, Taylor told The Guardian,
“A lot about how my privilege allowed me to not have to learn about white privilege. I didn’t know about it as a kid, and that is privilege itself, you know? And that’s something that I’m still trying to educate myself on every day.”
Taylor’s insights are pretty spot-on — it’s a privilege in itself not to have to reconcile with your own privilege.
Recognizing your privilege is certainly the first step. But the second step? Actually putting it in check, which Taylor seems to be having a difficult time with.
Just a few months ago, Taylor wrote an open letter after manager Scooter Braun bought her former music label and thus her back catalog of music.
Her letter explained her disdain for Scooter and all the ways he had wronged her. Since then, she’s continued to bring up the topic numerous times, most recently talking about it on CBS Sunday Morning.
It’s certainly understandable that Taylor would be upset and she has every right to her feelings. But going public with those feelings continues to play into the victimhood narrative.
A big part of checking your white privilege means knowing when to pick your battles. Taylor’s decision to sue the DJ who grabbed her ass? Definitely worth fighting. And her more recent decision to use her platform to fight homophobia? A perfect way to use your privilege. But Taylor feeling angry that a man she dislikes bought her former music label? Probably something she should have kept to herself.
As a white woman — and a pretty one by societal standards at that — your problems are going to be heard a lot louder than those of a woman of color. You have a lot of power to bring attention to certain issues that may otherwise get ignored. But you need to use it carefully. So far, Taylor has abused that power.
It’s great that Taylor is finally starting to learn about her white privilege but it would be even better if she could learn what to do with it. Hopefully, this is only the beginning of her journey.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.