Seven-time Grammy winner and global star Taylor Swift broke records with her newest album, 1989- selling almost 1.3 million albums its first week. Lots of us are big fans of Taylor (myself included, others of us... maybe not so much), but even as a self-proclaimed fan, the music videos for one of her latest singles, "Blank Space", leaves me disappointed. Violence runs rampant throughout the video, and the whole thing shows a very violent relationship. Notably, Taylor Swift is the abuser.
Haven't seen it? Don't believe me? Let's take a closer look.
Cut to 1:54: Verbal and Physical Abuse Taylor yells & threatens her boyfriend, violently grabs his face, and throws a vase... hard.
2:15, 2:31, 2:44, & 3:13: Destroying Property Let's be honest- dropping his phone in the pool sure doesn't look like an accident! And let's not forget that she not only destroys his clothes, but lights them on FIRE. Oh, and takes a golf club to his car. NBD.
2:54: Poisoning? What's the deal with the apple? Was she really trying to poison him?
2:22 & 3:21: Threats More scary and threatening gestures....
3:38: Physical (and Sexual) Abuse Sitting on top of his unconscious body...
... and biting his lip and he lay motionless. This doesn’t look consensual to me.
The message that this video sends is that jealousy is a good reason to be violent. Not only do we know that jealousy is never an excuse to be abusive (or to try to control a partner), we also know that music videos like this one are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to the normalization of violence (meaning the more we see violence, the more we come to believe it is okay and acceptable). "Blank Space" is just one example- have you seen Maroon 5's video for "Animals" yet?
Although her intentions of this video may have been to poke fun of the way the tabloids portray her, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would be laughing if the genders were reversed. If the roles were reversed, and it was a male carrying out these acts of violence, there would be controversy. Public outcry. And yes, that would be a good thing! The type of violence portrayed music videos (and the media in general) should not be tolerated.
Come on, Taylor. You can do better than this. Next time, think twice before making domestic violence look glamorous. It's not.