Monday, July 18th, 2016
Today I woke up like I usually do around 9:30 am. My first thoughts were along the lines of “there don’t seem to be any new mosquito bites on me” and “damn I have to pee” so overall, a pretty standard summer morning. Of course this illusion was shattered the minute I turned on my phone and found the internet in a state of post-apocalyptic hysteria with Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift and Kanye West starring in their own celebrity version of Game of Thrones.
I’ll be honest, my initial reaction was to roll my eyes and swear a little, since the real world is quite literally collapsing around us, so should we be focusing so hard on some sexist lyrics and a rich people feud? Of course, I got off my high horse, realized that people need distractions and after a few deep breaths and some breakfast, I looked further into this mess.
For the record, I’ve been a fan of Taylor Swift for the last two years and I also respect Kim K for her business mind and ability to make the world her bitch. Kanye West, I actually can’t get behind; the sexist context of his music makes me uncomfortable and is not ok, regardless of whether Taylor Swift approves or not. I have no interest in choosing sides in this saga, simply because I think all three people are handling the situation wrongly and annoyingly.
What I do want to talk about however, is the fans. Whether you’re on the defending or accusing side of Taylor Swift there are some things to remember when the whole world tells you your favorite celeb done fucked up. Here’s a step by step guide:
Stan culture and call out culture are both at their peak right now, often causing havoc online when a celeb misuses Twitter or gives an ignorant interview. While I definitely do not agree with the tactic of crucifying a well known personality every time they say something controversial (all humans are flawed after all), there are times when they step over the line in a major way and need to be held responsible for their actions. Stans regularly try to excuse the harmful behavior by reaching, twisting facts and when all else fails, listing every good thing their fave has ever done to point out they don’t deserve the hate.
I’ve seen it happening with Zayn Malik again and again and it’s tiring and frustrating.
What’s going to happen is the celeb is never going to learn from their mistakes and you are blindly granting them free pass to repeat them. I will never condone online harassment (which is sadly the result of call out culture 99% of the time) but every dedicated fan should be able to acknowledge that their idol is far from perfect and at least think about the situation before they jump in to defend their honor. No one is saying that you have to stop loving them now, just show some critical thinking skills when it comes to their social behavior.
This by far the weirdest aspect of modern day pop culture and I have to admit, I’m also guilty of it from time to time.
If you publicly express your love for an artist/model/anyone famous, you automatically feel connected to them in a way that when they say something stupid or act irresponsibly, you believe you have somehow participated in it, even though they don’t even know you! This has intensified over the years, with the trend of calling celebrities things like “mom” and “dad” or the even more cringe-worthy “my smol son”; we somehow mentally adopt these people, convince ourselves that they care about us or need our help and then when they inevitably fail the standards we have set for them, the sense of shame is enormous. Let’s just stop. Let’s stop.
Seriously. This is the big one.
If you find yourself in a situation where this stuff causes you real stress, frustration and anger then you have to step away. I’m not trying to be the jackass who looks at you like you’re insane and tells you to ‘get a life’. Screw that guy! But I know firsthand that when you get too caught up in situations you have absolutely no control over, you tend to get anxiety, a sense of self hatred and overall very unpleasant emotions.
Try your hardest to find another source of happiness: watch your favorite sitcom that never disappointed you (watch Brooklyn Nine Nine is what I’m saying), go out for a walk, bake, meet up with your friends, just step away from social media and regroup. Taylor Swift is not going to take care of you; you have to do it yourself.