I used to hate Taylor Swift.
Or, more accurately, I used to have a really poor definition for the word "hate."
"I hate Taylor Swift and all her music," I'd say to my partner as my girls rocked out to a song about a break-up. "I hate that every song is about a break-up; I hate that she dances around even though she looks ridiculous doing it; I hate everything about Taylor Swift."
I'm no sure how many times I said this, but it was probably more than 10 and less than 50.
And then Taylor Swift ignored what I thought of her and kept on making music and my girls kept dancing to her songs about break-ups.
"Ugh, I hate Taylor Swift."
Well, you know what dad? Fuck you. Because Taylor Swift is awesome.
You just said she made your girls dance. She makes millions of girls dance. She makes millions of boys dance. She makes people happy.
As a dad to daughters, I'm always on the lookout for good role models. I share stories of women scientists and women athletes and women who build computers and women who fix people's hearts and brains. I have no idea what these women do during the day, but I know they do things I think I should be telling my daughters they can do. Odds are, these people aren't perfect. Maybe they swear in front of kids or talk shit about their relatives when they're behind closed doors. Maybe they smoke or drink at lunch when they're working. Who knows? Who cares?
But why not choose someone who's successful and caring and sings for a living and gets photographed often? Because of break-up songs?
I'm also sure Taylor Swift isn't perfect because there are sites about hating Taylor Swift. You can Google reasons to hate Taylor Swift and get very specific reasons why you shouldn't have her as a role model.
Screw you again dad, so she isn't perfect. Neither are you and neither should your daughters be. People aren't perfect, that's what good role models show kids.
But good role models do:
- make surprise visits to Hasbro Children's Hospital
- write a song, "Ronan," about a young boy who died of brain cancer (and later donated $100,000 of the proceeds from the song to the V foundation for cancer research)
- give a fan $90 to buy Chipotle for her birthday after running into her
- hang out with a 12-year-old fan with a life-threatening heart condition
- write a check for $1,989 to help a superfan pay student loans
- surprise fans with Christmas presents
- be her damn self even when asshole dads say "I hate Taylor Swift."
TAYLOR SWIFT IS THE GREAT, IMPERFECT, ROLE MODEL WE NEED.
I-Hate-Taylor-Swift me would have argued every one of those things. "She's able to do that because she's a kajillionaire," I'd have said. "I bet her next song is about a break-up," I'd have reasoned. I'd look for every reason to not have a successful young woman who makes other people smile NOT be a role model for my girls. Because I didn't like her songs and because I saw stories about her being successful every three hours.
And that's why I love Taylor Swift.
She can't dance. Who cares.
She wrote six (guessing) songs about break-ups. Who cares.
She's broken up that many (guessing) times. Who cares.
Really, the thing I'm most upset about now is that Taylor Swift and I aren't friends. I want to play Scrabble with her because I bet she would. And I bet she'd cheat at Snakes and Ladders just like my daughters do, because she's amazing just like they are.
Taylor Swift isn't perfect and that's exactly why she's a perfect role model for my girls and for me.