As she celebrated her 28th birthday, Taylor Swift took to Instagram to share that she “couldn’t have asked for a better year.” That’s when the singer, who has famously earned a “reputation” for staying silent on politics, became the target of critics who are furious that she ignored all things political in 2017, while daring to say she had a good year.
So sorry your year didn’t stink, Taylor. Better luck next year.
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One Twitter follower said: “Saying your personal year was good says literally nothing about the social/political state. A year can be s--- socially but good to you regarding personal growth.”
Celebrities are not obligated to say anything about the social/political state. While the entertainment industry has made it trendy for the rich and famous to use their celebrity status to proclaim themselves experts on politics, we are not entitled to know their personal views.
In fact, many of us would rather not know.
At just 28, it seems Swift understands that people pay to buy her albums, download her music, and go to her concerts because she’s an entertainer – not a politician.
Swift’s fans come in all different ideological shapes and sizes – Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives and moderates. And for many of them, when they turn on the music they want to turn off the rest of the world and just be entertained.
Sticking to singing and not alienating part of your fan base isn’t just common sense. It’s good business sense. Swift gets that.
An opinion piece by Kayleigh Roberts in Marie Claire magazine in November listed five things Swift should have addressed in her new album, “Reputation.” One item on the list was Swift’s decision to remain apolitical during the 2016 presidential election.
Roberts wrote: “Taylor is not required to be open about her politics, of course, but it's also fair to question her decision to remain silent in what was a particularly contentious and consequential presidential battle.”
It’s actually not fair to question Swift’s decision to remain silent. On the contrary, it’s ridiculous, unless you’re trying to provoke her.
By all accounts, as an entertainer, Swift’s got it figured out. “Reputation” became the best-selling album of 2017 in just four days, proving that it would have been foolish for Swift to use her stardom as a political platform.
What Swift is doing is working for her and it’s working for her fans. According to Billboard magazine, she has the fifth-best selling album sales for a woman since Nielsen Music began tracking album sales in 1991, coming in behind stars like Celine Dion.
And with a $280 million net worth, Swift is the youngest woman to make the Forbes list of America’s Richest Female Entertainers for 2017. All this, and she’s not even 30.
There’s been pressure on Swift for a while to get political. With all the success she’s had, you have to wonder if celebrities and people in the media, who tend to have a pretty vocal liberal bias, are nervous. Nervous because someone with such high-profile success isn’t quick to say she’s with them.
Swift has every right to be proud of all she’s accomplished and celebrate those accomplishments on her birthday. It is not her job to be a spokeswoman for political causes.
It’s Swift’s job to make music that entertains her fans. In 2017 she had tremendous success at her job.
No matter what she does, Swift will face criticism from some. As she sings in her hit “Shake it Off,” “the haters gonna hate” but in the end “it’s gonna be alright.” Here’s hoping she continues to shake it off.
Lauren DeBellis Appell was deputy press secretary for then-Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., in his successful 2000 re-election campaign, as well as assistant communications director for the Senate Republican Policy Committee (2001-2003).