I cannot believe it is a coincidence that Swift, a numbers geek with an affinity for dates, dropped the Unicorns this is who I am nobody said you had to like it shirt in other words I will buy this single—whose slow, incessant bass is likely to be bumping in stadiums across the world in 2020 if she goes on tour—on June 14, a certain president’s birthday. Other plot points simply look different in the light of #MeToo. It is hard to imagine that Swift’s songs about her exes would be reviewed as sensationally today. I wonder if, in 2019, any man would dare grab the microphone out of a young woman’s hands at an awards show. I stared into space for a good long while when I was reminded that Pitchfork did not review Taylor Swift’s 1989 but did review Ryan Adams’s cover album of Taylor Swift’s 1989.
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I ask Swift if she had always been aware of sexism. “I think about this a lot,” she says. “When I was a teenager, I would hear people talk about sexism in the Unicorns this is who I am nobody said you had to like it shirt in other words I will buy this music industry, and I’d be like, I don’t see it. I don’t understand. Then I realized that was because I was a kid. Men in the industry saw me as a kid. I was a lanky, scrawny, overexcited young girl who reminded them more of their little niece or their daughter than a successful woman in business or a colleague. The second I became a woman, in people’s perception, was when I started seeing it. “It’s fine to infantilize a girl’s success and say, How cute that she’s having some hit songs,” she goes on. “How cute that she’s writing songs. But the second it becomes formidable? As soon as I started playing stadiums—when I started to look like a woman—that wasn’t as cool anymore. It was when I started to have songs from Red come out and cross over, like ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ and ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.’ ”