Taylor Swift released a music video a couple of weeks ago for her song “Wildest Dreams.” The video, which depicts Swift as an old school Hollywood starlit who is working on a set in Africa, has since received a lot of backlash.
So why has “Wildest Dreams” been receiving backlash? Well, as Franchesca Ramsey points out in the above video, it’s because there is only one Black person in “Wildest Dreams” (which makes zero sense since the video is set in Africa); because the video is set in Africa during the early 1900s yet it completely ignores the colonization of Africa and even romanticizes this time period; and because “Wildest Dreams” stereotypes an entire continent (i.e., Africa). This, of course, is such a text book White feminism (i.e., feminism that is not intersectional) move on the part of Swift. She calls and labels herself a feminist yet she completely ignores any importance that race and culture hold, and instead of battling against racism, oppression and stereotypes, she actually becomes just another cog in the wheel and contributes to it.
This isn’t the first time that Swift has been guilty of White feminism (e.g., she had problems with cultural appropriation in the “Shake It Off” video and she dismissed Nicki Minaj’s tweets about the VMA nominations), but this video, nonetheless, is disappointing. Swift has so much potential and she has such a large platform available to her, yet instead of using her platform to introduce a new age of intersectional feminism to her fans, Swift is merely continuing the age old tradition of ignoring the experiences of women of color, LGBTI individuals and individuals with disabilities. If Swift ever wants to be a true feminist, then she will have to examine herself and her privilege and realize that race, sexual orientation and disability are all factors that should be considered and included in her feminism. Until then, Swift will not only be just another White feminist, but she will be the reigning poster child (alongside Miley Cyrus) of White feminism and she will continue to offend and alienate many of her fans.