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The case for Taylor Swift, radical champion of self-esteem

Stashed in: Young Americans, Emotion, Be yourself., Authenticity, Music Videos!, @taylorswift13, The Feels

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how much do the feelings matter?

What else matters but feelings?

Taylor Swift is authentic.

It’s that type of unadulterated honesty—the honesty involved in laying yourself bare to the judgment and opinions of others—that makes Swift’s music so important to her fans. It’s not just that she sings about what it’s like to be a teenager and young woman; it’s that she’s harshly honest about it. She does what I couldn’t as a teen, and still struggle with today. Swift’s ability to legitimize the often-mortifying experiences of teenage girls through shared experience is radically inclusive for a disparaged population. And while most people probably think Swift’s self-image must be positive—just look at her career—a recent interview with NPR reveals she’s still struggling with the same things she felt in high school. “I think a lot of our self-esteem and self-image is frozen in those formative years,” she said. “And that was not a time in my life where I felt accepted or invited or like I belonged. I think the best thing I can do for those girls is let them know that this is what my life looks like. I love my life. I’ve never felt edgy, cool, or sexy. Not one time.”

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