Taylor Swift reprised the tunes from her well-liked pop album from 2014 in 1989 (Taylor’s Version), but she also added a key chapter to her life story and the media’s close scrutiny at the time. Swift was open and honest about many topics, including the persistent sexuality rumors and her choice to surround herself with only female pals.
Swift stated that she was tired of having romantic ties to every man she hung out with, which is why she chose to encourage female friendships in the public eye. In the album’s preface, which she wrote, she stated:
“You see—in the years preceding this, I had become the target of slut-shaming—the intensity and relentlessness of which would be criticized and called out if it happened today. The jokes about my amount of boyfriends. The trivialization of my songwriting as if it were a predatory act of a boy crazy psychopath. The media co-signing of this narrative. I had to make it stop. Because it was starting to really hurt.
It became clear to me that for me, there was no such thing as casual dating, or even having a male friend who you platonically hang out with. If I was seen with him, it was assumed I was sleeping with him, and so I swore off hanging out with guys. Dating, flirting, or anything that could be weaponized against me by a culture that claimed to believe in liberating women but consistently treated me with the harsh moral codes of the Victorian era.
Being a consummate optimist, I assumed I could fix this if I simply changed my behavior. I swore off dating and decided to focus only on myself, my music, my growth, and my female friendships. If I only hung out with my female friends, people couldn’t sensationalize or sexualize that, right? I would learn later on that people could and people would.”
Swift realized there was no such thing as casual dating or even having a guy buddy she could spend out with on a platonic basis. She avoided male friendships, dating, and anything else that might be used against her by a culture that claimed to support women’s liberation but consistently upheld strict moral codes reminiscent of the Victorian era. If she was seen with a man, it was automatically assumed that there was a romantic connection.
She was always the optimist and thought she could change this by changing her conduct. Swift vowed to stop dating and devote all of her attention to her music, personal development, and female friendships. She believed that by just having female acquaintances around her, she was preventing people from sensationalizing or sexualizing her relationships, but she would eventually discover that these attitudes persisted.
But during that time, she was as steadfast as a basket of golden retriever puppies in her resolve and faith. She was filled with new songs that had come to her from her mind and had the keys to her own apartment in New York.
Her sincere message, nevertheless, went beyond her love life. Swift also discussed the reasons for her decision to “completely reinvent” herself during that time, as well as her experiences working with producer Jack Antonoff and composer Max Martin, both of whom she had just met. She recognized there was a lot she still needed to learn as she thought back on that time, which was almost ten years ago: “This time of my life was marked by the right kind of naivete, a hunger for adventure, and a sense of freedom that I hadn’t tasted before.”
Swift naturally thanked her fans profusely, admitting how much they enjoyed and supported her record. She even added a humorous twist, joking that rather than founding a girl cult, her fans might have believed she was surrounding herself with female friends in adulthood to make up for the dearth of female companions she had as a youngster. She ended by expressing gratitude to her admirers for the unending magic they had bestowed upon her life, something she could never have anticipated in her wildest dreams.