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Slate: "YNTCD is a cringeworthy attempt to write another Born This Way”

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Bovary

Taylor Swift’s New Single Is a Teachable Moment About How Not to Be an Ally

The singer’s would-be Pride anthem is a cringeworthy attempt to write another “Born This Way.”

Taylor Swift released the second single from her just-announced forthcoming album Lover on Thursday, and the gist of it is classic Swift: “You Need to Calm Down” tells Swift’s haters that their mission to diminish her brilliance is doomed, that she’ll always prevail over petty insults, and that she and her friends are having much more fun than their detractors. This “haters don’t get to me” message is so central to Swift’s modern oeuvre, I’m starting to suspect she doth protest too much.

But “You Need to Calm Down” stands out from the other Swift tracks in this vein for its muddled references to LGBTQ culture and politics. In the second verse, Swift calls out the jerks who are “coming at [her] friends,” asking them, “why are you mad when you could be GLAAD?” (The lyric video for the single confirms that the line doesn’t say “glad”—it’s a nod to the major LGBTQ nonprofit.) She scolds counterprotesters at Pride celebrations—“Sunshine on the street at the parade/ But you would rather be in the dark ages/ Making that sign/ Must’ve taken all night”—and tells them their efforts are pointless because “shade never made anybody less gay.” Then, in the chorus, she asks homophobes, “Can you just not step on his gown?”

With all the wishful theories that Swift is secretly queer floating about, a cursory listen might suggest that she’s slowly making her way toward the closet door. But on their face, the lyrics above are pretty explicitly about her “friends,” not herself. This puts gay people who like Swift’s pop, like me, in bit of a pickle, because it seems like Swift has been queer-baiting fans. Her current aesthetic motif—in her YouTube icon, her Instagram posts, the lyrics to her first Loversingle “ME!”, the “ME!” video, and the costumes she’s worn in live performances—is rainbow. She hinted that she’d be making an announcement in an interview with lesbian news anchor Robin Roberts, then released the first single from Lover on Lesbian Visibility Day. She’s dedicated a song some fans interpret as a love song to her best friend/secret lover Karlie Kloss to the pioneering lesbian dancer Loie Fuller. The uncharitable explanation for all this queer-signaling is that Swift is trying to profit off the intrigue around her sexuality by giving queer fans just enough material to keep them interested while never actually coming out—either because she doesn’t want to hurt her career or because, you know, she’s straight.

But by the law of Occam’s razor, the less speculation you have to do to get to any given explanation, the more likely it is to be true. So I’m going to assume Swift is simply trying to signal her allyship to LGBTQ people, who make up a not-insignificant swath of her fan base. On that front, “You Need to Calm Down” is … fine, I guess? Swift is clearly coming out in support of gays, which is much better than being against gays, and considering her roots in the South and the country-music community, her message is less likely to reverberate within a friendly echo chamber than that of some other pop stars.

But wow, are there a lot of annoying things about this song! First of all, invoking GLAAD in a line that sounds like it belongs on Sesame Street (“why are you mad when you could be GLAAD”???) makes absolutely no sense. Why hate on gays when you could be … a nonprofit that tracks how queers are represented in media? This is the lyric of someone who has learned the names of exactly three LGBTQ advocacy groups and thought she was the first one to get the pun. The reference to a man in a gown is confusing—is she talking about drag queens? Gender-nonconforming men? Worst of all is her faulty conflation of the queer term shade, which refers to the art of subtle yet unmistakable contempt, with attacks on LGBTQ people’s rights, dignity, and self-expression.

To be fair, Swift’s lyrical laziness and bad arguments about bullying are equal-opportunity in “You Need to Calm Down.” In the first verse, about herself, she recalls her haters “taking shots at [her] like it’s Patrón,” which makes about as much sense as the GLAAD line. And the whole song is ostensibly just a bout of tone-policing, taking greater issue with the form of the slights against her and her friends—their volume, their timing, their hysteria—than their substance. It’s an earworm for sure, but it’s a bad song for straights and gays alike.

Still, even though Swift has advocated for the Equality Act and put her money where her lyrics are with a donation to GLAAD, gays have reason to take particular affront to this careless pat on the head. It is not a particularly radical stance for a celebrity to be anti-homophobe in 2019, yet Swift is promoting “You Need to Calm Down” like it’s going to be the straw that breaks homophobia’s back. Eight years after Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” which came from an artist who was out as a bisexual woman at a time when the gay rights movement had far less mainstream traction than it does now, “You Need to Calm Down” looks even more pathetic. Witnessing a relative newcomer to LGBTQ allyship have this daft single marketed on Apple Music as a “Pride-ready” anthem with a “protest message” doused in “synths, glitter, and sass” is like watching a straight bachelorette party go nuts at a drag show. Straight people will interpret it as supportive and affirming, but for many queer people celebrating Pride Month, it feels hopelessly, insultingly out of place. 

 

https://slate.com/culture/2019/06/taylor-swift-new-song-you-need-to-calm-down-queer-baiting.html

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RoughLove

:flop:

I hope you find yourself before I find somebody else to be my lover

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GypsyRomance

That's is why a lot of people are depressed cause they do not know how to enjoy things :huntyga:

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Bovary
1 minute ago, GypsyRomance said:

That's is why a lot of people are depressed cause they do not know how to enjoy things :huntyga:

Well, as a person who is suffering from depression I can tell you: no, that's not how it works :triggered:

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Ryusei

we f*cking get it it's the worst song ever bla bla bla you dont need to post every f*cking review. There were also positive reviews but FUUUUUUUUUUUUUVK Puta Swift

I'm hardcore triggered, gimme WPs or smth idc

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Morphine Prince
1 minute ago, Ryusei said:

Puta Swift

Hey, I’m a hoe! I’m on a roll! 

The friends I've had to bury, they keep me up at night
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ThisGuyTony

It's better than ME! and those lyrics actually sound clever. :air: 

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Bovary
4 minutes ago, Ryusei said:

we f*cking get it it's the worst song ever bla bla bla you dont need to post every f*cking review. There were also positive reviews but FUUUUUUUUUUUUUVK Puta Swift

I'm hardcore triggered, gimme WPs or smth idc

If you really read the article, you can clearly see that the author doesn't just say it's bad. She really gives an insightful, detailed argumentation about what's problematic about it. Please read. I am not a part of the LGBT-Community and as she points out, is it important how to be an ally - and how not.

Edited by Bovary
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Blue Madonna

God how cringey.

The way I interpreted it, the song is not at all trying to enforce the same as Born This Way; BTW was about self-love and not listening to others' hate. YNTCD is a less upfront song but it does have strong messaging about keeping your negative opinions out of the world. Taylor isn't trying to create an LGBT+ anthem, it's just a theme in the song that does show up at some points. 

Ironic honestly, this person making stupid connection and dragging Taylor just for a hit article.

Lady Gaga ✽ Lana Del Rey ✽ Lorde ✽ Bleachers ✽ Tyler, The Creator ✽ Billie Eilish ✽ Kali Uchis ✽ A$AP Rocky ✽ BØRNS ✽ Frank Ocean
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Pray4FameGa

Omg, “can you just not”... “you need to stop”... “you need to calm down”.

As a gay guy, ****ing rock on that Taylor is flying the pride flag. I don’t really care how she does it, the song is a fun bop and makes me feel really good.

These criticisms are next level. Obviously it’s no BTW, I think TS would GLAADly admit to that. :stalkga:

So the LGBT community are just gonna reject her attempts to be an ally until she can write better puns? Can we talk instead about the killer tropical **** you beat this song has.

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monster78619

Lowkey annoying that every time a straight person makes a song referring to gay topics, it’s seen as more of a money grab than anything :green: issa cute song, she wasn’t trying to make a BTW 2.0, let her live 

EDIT: everyone in the comments of the YouTube vid are saying the song is better at 1.25 speed and they ain’t lying :air:

 

 

Edited by monster78619
Feel free to send me money btw
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PinkPop

1) This person is a journalist and journalists want to get your clicks, your money for their papers and views on their videos. They are obviously going to put triggering headlines and controversial content to make you click on their content which then makes them money. This may not even be the view of the author.

 

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LaLuna

I mean, it is pretty damn terrible (the lyrics are just cringey), and the fact that she dropped it on Pride month is a little too convenient.

She's obviously trying to score points with the LGBT community.

 

 

 

"Social media is the toilet of the Internet"
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OG Gaga Stan

I don't agree with the queer-bating criticism at all (I'm on Twitter all the f*cking time and I've never heard any mass, hysterical speculation about Swift's sexuality), but this bit is spot on: 

18 minutes ago, Bovary said:

I’m going to assume Swift is simply trying to signal her allyship to LGBTQ people, who make up a not-insignificant swath of her fan base. On that front, “You Need to Calm Down” is … fine, I guess? Swift is clearly coming out in support of gays, which is much better than being against gays, and considering her roots in the South and the country-music community, her message is less likely to reverberate within a friendly echo chamber than that of some other pop stars.

But wow, are there a lot of annoying things about this song! First of all, invoking GLAAD in a line that sounds like it belongs on Sesame Street (“why are you mad when you could be GLAAD”???) makes absolutely no sense. Why hate on gays when you could be … a nonprofit that tracks how queers are represented in media? This is the lyric of someone who has learned the names of exactly three LGBTQ advocacy groups and thought she was the first one to get the pun. The reference to a man in a gown is confusing—is she talking about drag queens? Gender-nonconforming men? Worst of all is her faulty conflation of the queer term shade, which refers to the art of subtle yet unmistakable contempt, with attacks on LGBTQ people’s rights, dignity, and self-expression.

Nearly identical to what I said in one of the million YNTCD threads yesterday. It's just lame!

And the people getting angry that some queer people have the audacity to criticize a straight celebrity trying to signal their allyship in this particular way with this particular corny song: We don't have to suck up to these people! We don't have blindly thank straights for any self-serving, branded™ cynical support they give us simply because they're not homophobic! :saladga: 

Not all displays of support are effective and we're allowed to criticize them. More radical, angry queer politics and less stan bs. please. :madge:

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