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Taylor Swift: Her Powerful Speech to Women in the Music Industry

Female pop sensation Taylor Swift accepted the Billboard’s Women of the Decade award last week, and it is safe to say she left the nation with a new perspective on the music industry. 

In this decade Taylor Swift has been a standout artist who has created six record breaking albums, and with that has given numerous amounts of acceptance speeches. Some of her most memorable speeches this decade include her 2014 Billboard Women of the Year speech and 2016 Grammy speech; both of which include inspiring messages to empower women. This December Swift once again delivered an empowering message to the nation, and arguably her best speech of the decade. 

Taylor Swift took her acceptance speech as an opportunity to honestly speak about what it means to be a female artist in this decade.

Now I realize that this [criticism] is just what happens to a woman in music if she achieves success or power beyond people’s comfort level. I now have come to expect that with good news comes some sort of pushback. But I didn’t know that then.” -Taylor Swift 

Swift first thinks back to herself at the start of the decade, and reflects on how she was constantly changing her own life in order to please the critics around her. She explains how her life easily revolved around critiques, and trying to please the public. She went on to explain that she is not the only female to receive these comments. Swift highlighted singer Lana Del Rey, praising Rey’s persistence and success in the music industry despite being “ruthlessly” (Swift) criticized and judged. 

However, Swift feels like the women currently part of the music industry are using these negative comments in the best way, and proving the critics wrong. 

“We [women] are held at a higher, sometimes impossible-feeling standard. And it seems that my fellow female artists have taken this challenge and they have accepted it. It seems like the pressure that could have crushed us made us into diamonds instead.” – Taylor Swift

The most talked about part of Swift’s speech is when she brought up the toxic masculine force in the music industry; specifically targeting Scooter Braun. Braun and Swift have had an ongoing feud since the summer, when Braun’s music label bought the rights to all of Swift’s albums without her consent. 

“Lately there’s been a new shift that has affected me personally and that I feel is a potentially harmful force in our industry, and as your resident loud person, I feel the need to bring it up. And that is the unregulated world of private equity coming in and buying up our music as if it is real estate. As if it’s an app or a shoe line.” -Taylor Swift

Swift made it clear that she felt Braun took advantage of her, and feels disrespected that her music is being treated without consideration. She also wanted to bring to light how Braun, and many others in this industry, are manipulative. And their supporters are allowing this behavior to continue thoughout the industry. 

“Let me just say that the definition of the toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying, ‘But he’s always been nice to me,’ when I’m raising valid concerns about artists and their rights to own their music. And of course he’s nice to you. If you’re in this room, you have something he needs.” -Taylor Swift   

Her powerful message about men’s controlling actions in the music industry ended on a positive note where she highlighted the growth of the industry during the decade, along with her own personal growth in the last ten years. 

“I will say that in 10 years I’ve seen forward steps in our industry, in our awareness, our inclusion, our ability to start calling out unfairness and misconduct.” -Taylor Swift  

“And as for me, lately I’ve been focusing less on doing what they say I can’t do and more on doing whatever the hell I want.” -Taylor Swift