Taylor Swift as an Activist
In 2003, the Dixie Chicks were, in today’s terms, “canceled.” The trio girl band criticized then-president George W. Bush for his decisions regarding the war in Iraq. “Just so you know, we are ashamed the president of the United State is from Texas,” shared Natalie Maines in between songs at the London concert that marked the end of the bands’ success.
Their critique of the Republican president did not land well with the country band’s primarily right-leaning audience, resulting in the Dixie Chicks 2006 album failing comparatively to previous releases. But the women stood by their statements, pushing the envelope for female artists’ ability to speak out on politics. For the most part, the band went silent after 2006, and their story made many major female artists hesitant to share their political views for fear of being “canceled,” just like the Dixie Chicks.
That is until 2018, when music idol Taylor Swift abandoned the apolitical norms of musicians by endorsing Tennessee Democratic candidates in the 2018 election cycle. Through her social media, Taylor Swift advocated for the candidates, basing her voting on her personal beliefs and values, and encouraged others to evaluate candidates critically.
Since that first endorsement, Taylor Swift has not shied away from sharing her political beliefs on many controversial and pressing issues in our country, including LGBTQ+ rights, gun safety, abortion access, systemic racism and more. In the midst of her activism, she has remarkably retained her fan base and even gained more “Swifties” for her bold advocacy as a female in an industry that has not historically been kind to artists being politically active.
Join me as we discuss how Taylor Swift has been able to rewrite the script for activism for females in the music industry during episode 2 of 1989 to Forever during Season 4 of Podcasts for Aggies, available on Apple Music and Spotify.