Why the Online Right Is Suddenly Hating on Taylor Swift
Conservatives are slamming the star’s love life, even as her tour has revived local economies across the country with a fan base representing more than half of Americans.
“You need to calm down,” a Taylor Swift fan might say in response to the recent barrage of right-wing fury directed at the second richest self-made woman in music, quoting her hit song.
Following the media frenzy surrounding Ms. Swift’s attendance at the Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday, critics have admonished the star for her romantic endeavors, even as her sold-out Era’s tour has revived local economies across the country with a fan base representing more than half of Americans.
“Taylor Swift is dumb and her music sucks,” the chief executive of the conservative cultural and political magazine, the Federalist, Sean Davis, said in a Monday post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “That’s always my first thought when she shows up with a new fella,” one user responded.
Outrage is even being directed toward American football itself for its inadvertent connection to the pop star. After Ms. Swift cheered for Chiefs tight-end Travis Kelce at his game, the media personality Nick Adams, whose work has been praised by President Trump, is “calling for a complete and total boycott of the NFL.”
The 33-year-old star’s alleged mistreatment of her boyfriends is fueling the wave of fury against her. She is “vicious toward her exes,” a conservative political commentator, Candace Owens, declares in a Daily Wire article published Thursday.
Ms. Swift has long been disparaged for dating and dropping a slew of male celebrities, many of whom became the focus of her songs. In a campaign of “public humiliation,” the media has “shamed” her for “chasing” guys, she told Glamour magazine when she was 25.
Much of today’s criticism is being voiced by “incels” or “involuntary celibates” as they are designated by the Anti-Defamation League, which defines the caste as “heterosexual men who blame women and society for their lack of romantic success.” They believe “80 percent of women want to date only the ‘top’ 20 percent of available men, lavishing their attentions on only the best-looking and richest men.”
Mr. Adams, for one, even describes himself as an “Alpha Male” in his X bio, the kind of men he says “always crave more and know they deserve more.”
Such vitriol might stem from male insecurity, an advocate for gender equity in the workplace at the public policy think tank, New America, Vicki Shabo, tells the Sun. “As we sort of move towards a more equitable society, the people who feel like their dominance is being threatened get more and more agitated.”
While critics are fixated on Ms. Swift’s love life, her net worth has surpassed Madonna’s $580 million bankroll and Beyoncé’s of $540 million. Her Era’s tour has also reinvigorated cities across the country — a capitalist success story that one would expect conservatives to champion. Her show at Philadelphia, for one, boosted hotel revenues to the highest point in the city since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, a fact noted by the Federal Reserve in one of its Beige Book surveys.
Part of the so-called “Taylor Swift effect,” the star’s appearance at the Chiefs game on Sunday led to a 400 percent increase in Mr. Kelce’s merchandise sales in the 24 hours after his victory and could garner as much as $10 million in his off-the-field earnings, the Post reports.
“Between Barbie, Swift, and Beyonce, this was the summer of extremely successful women who have raised untold sums of money for local economies,” Ms. Shabo says. “Yet we still see biases, double standards, questions about success, questions about impact.”
Another Swift-hater claims her popularity is “a sign of societal decline.” Artists must produce “music that takes us places and challenges us with insights into the human condition,” writes journalist Mark Hemingway in the Federalist, and “Taylor Swift just doesn’t have it in her to do that.”
To the 53 percent of American adults who say they are fans of Ms. Swift, though, the star represents much-needed societal glue in a country bereft of social connection. “Taylor is neither your progressive savior nor your tortured post-feminist artist,” the Free Press reports. “She is, however, your long-awaited true pop star.”
Ms. Swift’s sprawling support base includes plenty of men, too: spanning from Justin Trudeau, Mark Zuckerberg, and even the late Kobe Bryant, who once proclaimed in an interview, “You can’t have that level of success and not be a killer. It’s impossible.”
The “true pop star’s” celebrity prowess extends from the economic and the musical to the political. She urged fans to register to vote on National Voter Registration day last week in a message that led to more than 35,000 registrations on the nonpartisan, nonprofit Vote.org within a day. “I’ve heard you raise your voices, and I know how powerful they are,” she told her 273 million Instagram followers.
In the face of this cult following, anti-Swift rhetoric from the right could backfire. “If you attack Taylor Swift, you also attack Gen Z,” a delegate for President Biden in 2020, Victor Shi, asserted on X. “Good luck, Republicans. You’re screwed.”
Representatives for Ms. Swift did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Sun.