Wednesday, December 20, 2017

In Defense of Taylor Swift, "The Nazi Princess."

"There will be no further explanation. Just reputation."

For various reasons, Taylor Swift has gotten a lot of hate these past few years; mostly because she's a "serial dater" (uhh... She's in her 20s. That's what people in their 20s do.) and then writes songs about her exes (uhh... She's a songwriter. That's what songwriters do!).

But the other day, I saw a ridiculous comment on an article from one woman about how she can't respect Taylor Swift being on the cover of Time Magazine because "She's a Nazi Princess." When another commenter asked how Taylor's a Nazi Princess, the original poster replied that Swift had been hailed as a "Nazi Princess on a Pro-Nazi website and she hasn't publicly denounced Nazism. Therefore, she's a Nazi."

Uhh... Okay...

Let's forget the fact that the initial claim of Nazism came from a website that had little to back its claim other than Taylor herself is white. Or that Taylor has featured people of color in her music videos before, and her current ensemble of back up singers aren't exactly white. Or that out of all the hate on Taylor I've heard over the years, not once has it been centered around her saying anything racist.

Let's instead focus on what happens when ridiculous rumors start flying around about you and why I think Taylor is actually smart for not denouncing those baseless claims made about her.

For those of you that don't know, I'm a bit of an anomaly in this business. I'm a woman in a department where the working pool to pull from is >97% male. Of the <3% in set lighting that make up my gender, most of them are bigger and/or physically stronger than me, making me stand out like a sore thumb. Therefore, I'm constantly watched, talked about, and speculated on.

And whenever that happens, so do the rumors. Some of the more outlandish ones I've heard about myself involve me breaking up relationships and hooking up with married men. Which is quite an impressive feat since apparently, according to some people in this business, I'm a lesbian.*

All these rumors lead me to have a policy on not commenting about my personal life at work. Not only because there are so many rumors that commenting on every single one of them would be exhausting, but because before I put this policy into place, this is how one of those conversations would go:

Them: Crafty thinks you're a lesbian.
Me: Ha. No. I'm straight.
Them: That's what we thought. But we hadn't heard you mention a boyfriend before.
Me: That's because I don't have one.
Them: Yeah? When was the last time you did?
Me: Um... It's been a while.
Them: Like months? Years?
Them: So do you, like, just go to bars or something?
Me: What?
Them: What do you do when you're looking for a hook-up?
Me: I don't really do one-night stands.
Them: So you haven't had a boyfriend in a while and you don't do hook-ups... Oh... Are you asexual?

I SWEAR I WISH I WAS MAKING THIS UP!!! (And yes, this is based on real conversations I've had.)

...And that's how easy it is for a simple denouncing of my lesbianism turns into a conversation about my sexuality and personal life for all our colleagues around us to hear.

If at any point I were to stop the conversation, it'd be assumed that my silence on the matter answers their questions one way or another:

Them: Like months? Years?
Me: I'm not going to answer that.
Them: Oh... So like several years.

Sometimes they'll even get angry because apparently, answering one question about my personal life means it's okay to ask me all the questions about my personal life. And apparently me answering me one question means they're entitled to all the answers. Then suddenly, I'm a stuck up bitch and not a team player if I don't comply.

Them: Like months? Years?
Me: I don't want to talk about this anymore.
Them: Geeze, no need to get defensive. I'm just trying to get to know you better. I can't ask you a simple question?

So basically, the only way for me to ensure the original rumor isn't built upon and for me to have a semi-sane workplace is to take a page from Publicity 101: neither confirm nor deny. Just let it ride.

Them: Crafty thinks you're a lesbian.
Me: Ha.

[End of conversation.]

The same method could be applied to Taylor and her Nazi rumor:

Them: Taylor's a Nazi.
Them: ...

[End of conversation.]

By not joining into a conversation based on ridiculous claims, we side-step all the other ridiculous mess that would surely come after it.

"But how can denying being a Nazi be a bad thing?" you might ask?:

Them: You're a Nazi.
Her: No, I'm not.
Them: Prove it.
Her: I marched with the counter protesters. 
Them: You marched with the counter protesters but you didn't do the Women's March?? You must hate women's rights!!!
Her: No, I don't hate women or their rights.
Them: Prove it.
Her: (Sigh...)

See? Ridiculous.

Again, acknowledging one claim sets the precedence that you must acknowledge them all, and answering one question makes them feel entitled to know all the answers to their questions. The headache that usually follows makes rebutting rumors totally not worth it.

And often times, those who spread nasty rumors about someone (famous or not) are just looking for any reason to hate someone anyway.

When Kesha was going through her legal battles with her producer, Dr. Luke, Taylor was hated on for not Tweeting in support for her fellow female artist like many other pop stars were. I repeat: She was hated. For. Not. Tweeting. **

Then it came out that while everyone was accusing her of not supporting Kesha, Taylor had donated a quarter of a million dollars to Kesha's legal fees (!!!). And she was still hated; this time for just "doing it for the publicity" and because it's just a small percentage of her net worth and she could've done more.

In other words, there's no winning. Haters gonna hate. You're basically damned if you do, but you're only slightly less damned it you don't say anything at all.***

* Main reason for the rumor: apparently the only reason why a girl like me would be interested in a job like this. Also, people are stupid.
** She's still hated for not Tweeting now, this time for not jumping on #MeToo, despite her having a very public sexual harassment trial this year where she sued for a symbolic $1.... AND WON. If you haven't already, do yourself a favor and read about her badass testimony. And by "badass," I mean, seriously, it's the most times "ass" has been said in Colorado federal court.
*** Please note, I'm specifically talking about addressing ridiculous rumors. If an injustice is happening, MOST DEFINITELY SPEAK OUT.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License .