Is Swift teaching my daughter to define herself by her relationships to bad boys and the frustrating quest for Prince Charming? Should fairy-tale romance be on such heavy rotation in my preteen daughter’s playlist?These are the questions Hans Eisenbans asks when contemplating his 11-year-old daughter's love for Taylor Swift. Despite purposely raising a very sheltered girl, she's fallen for one of the biggest pop stars of the moment, and he's wringing his hands.
What's missing from the essay is that he doesn't mention any other pop stars that his daughter could have liked, and implicitly, the comparison between them. Taylor Swift, like all pop stars, has her pros and cons, and all artists have messages spewing forth--but is Taylor Swift really that bad? Whatever happened to Madonna, to Courtney Love, to Britney Spears? Even Lady Gaga?
Sure, Taylor Swift is all about sappy, teenager love...but she's not an aggressive sexpot, she's not weird or wild or subversive. She's pretty clean-cut, but that's not what worries him. It's the fact that she's being exposed to the world of boys and heartbreak.
Grow up. Most songs on the radio are about boys and heartbreak, and she's actually learning healthy ways of dealing with these issues through Taylor Swift, rather than the dismissive toying tone that Katy Perry has.
By the end of the piece, however, he understands, based purely on Taylor's own merits in concert. She's the teenager she sings about, spazzy, a bit awkward, but self-assured, taking names when she can. That's why his daughter loves her, and why she's a good role model.