Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and the Cult of Awkward White Girls

It seems fitting that Swift is heralding her “first documented pop album” by pulling — or perhaps simply gesturing toward — the ultimate white female pop star move of 2014: cultural appropriation. (Of course, pop’s history is also full of appropriation; we’re just on higher alert for swagger-jacking nearly a quarter-century post-“Vogue.”) But as Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt alluded to, the race-related issues within the “Shake It Off” video stem not from appropriation so much as othering. It’s incredibly subtle, almost systematic racial ignorance that finds Swift not co-opting twerking or other various hip-hop dance styles, but approaching them as an outsider. “This isn’t me, I don’t quite get this, but I’m trying really hard,” she seems to be telling us.

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Earl Sweatshirt never even saw the video. He’s using his imagination to paint a picture of assumed racism because how can a successful white girl NOT be racist. And it’s almost always the women who get called out for this though, I wonder if its because they’re easy targets that media is happy to freak out over. If Taylor Swift isn’t a needy immature serial-boyfriend-having flake, she’s a slut, or a culturally appropriating racist.

I can understand being upset about negative and overt cultural appropriation, but we’re starting to turn our crazy-critical attention to neutral and even, dare say, appropriate cultural references.

So over this on all of your behalfs.



Trondheim, Norway
08.20.14 /12:30/ 264
08.20.14 /11:40/ 219791
"The problem is you’ve been told and not told. That’s what I’ve seen while I’ve been here. You’ve been told but none of you really understand. So I’ve decided I’ll talk to you in a way that you will understand. Do you know what happens to children when they grow up? No, you don’t, because nobody knows."

The cast of The Craft (1996)

Me today, tbh.
08.14.14 /14:25/ 108782
Canvas  by  andbamnan