Taylor Swift, Underdog Voices, and Women’s Historical Right to ‘Bolt’

“The Bolter,” in Taylor Swift’s eyes, is a woman who does not fit traditional society. Swift gives the bolter a voice—one that until now had been silent. She’s a woman not interested in being a trophy wife for the masses to admire. She has her own desires, preferences and demands, but her hopes and dreams are stifled by the rules that others want her to play by. She is unwilling to give of herself to play this role.  

Who’s Afraid of Taylor Swift?

Taylor Swift commands a lot of attention. In mere days since its release, her 11th album The Tortured Poets Department, which is a lengthy 31 songs and runs over two hours, became the most streamed album in a single week and the first to reach over one billion streams on Spotify.

To some, such success seems … well, excessive. It’s hard not to notice such takedowns targeted at Swift amid her breakneck success might have something to do with her gender.

War on Women Report: Unprovoked Attacks Against Women in New York City; Texas Medical Board Refuses to Clarify State Abortion Ban

U.S. patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. But day after day, we stay vigilant in our goals to dismantle patriarchy at every turn. The fight is far from over. We are watching, and we refuse to go back. This is the War on Women Report.

Since our last report: The Protect Victims of Digital Exploitation and Manipulation Act aims to ban the production and distribution of non-consensual, deepfake pornography; an award created to honor the life and accomplishments of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being awarded to four right-wing men (and Martha Stewart); the Texas Medical Board refused to further specify the rules around the state’s highly restrictive ban on abortion; police made their first arrest in connection to an onslaught of unprovoked attacks against women in New York City; and more.

‘Turbocharge’ Gender Equality—Like Caitlin Clark

We are seeing success and the benefits of investing financially in women, but how can we fast track gender equality? How can we help the younger generation strive for equality? Maybe the answer is “The Caitlin Clark effect.”

On March 1, the The Star Tribune out of Minneapolis posted a heartfelt and moving op-ed by Dr. Asitha Jayawardena, a proud dad to two young daughters that went viral: “Dear Caitlin Clark … You’re amazing on the court—but that’s just the start of your influence.” 

Will Men Organize to End Gun Violence?

It’s been six years since the Valentine’s Day massacre of 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and gun violence remains as virulent a disease as ever, with regular new outbreaks in states across the country.

Like many debates about social conditions in the U.S., too many men remain silent, rarely weighing in, whether the issue is mass shootings, women’s reproductive rights or the climate emergency. What if, in this critically important election year, men organized themselves as men to speak out?

Taylor Swift Is a Threat to the Right—and So Is Travis Kelce

The right is worried about Taylor Swift—and they are right to be. Her influence on millions of young women is legendary, and the way she chooses to wield this influence could make a difference in a close presidential election this November, not to mention electoral battles in years to come.

But there’s another reason MAGA should fear Swift’s cultural power in this volatile political moment. It has to do with Kelce, and the impact he could possibly have on young men.

Travis Kelce, especially if he votes Democratic, profoundly disrupts the right-wing appeal to (white) male identity.

From ‘Fast Cars’ to Self-Gifted ‘Flowers’: What Pop Music Reveals about the Status of Women

The narrator of “Fast Car,” who finally finds the strength at song’s end to tell her no-count trifling lover to “take your fast car and keep on driving,” is an earlier version of Sza’s narrator on the heartbreak and revenge-fantasy songs that comprise her Grammy-nominated album SOS—a worthy project that many had hoped would break the 25-year-drought of a Black woman winning the Album of the Year Grammy, since Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Still, we have come a long way from passively waiting for someone else’s “fast car” to move us out of poverty—and failing to doing so—while the latest songs imagine us killing our exes or shimmering like diamonds once we move on. We have arrived at that moment in which we are more than eager to celebrate the women who can drive in their own fast cars—accrued debts and generational poverty be damned.

Keeping Score: E. Jean Carroll Wins Defamation Case; 64K Pregnancies from Rape in Abortion Ban States; U.S. Congress Members Urge SCOTUS to Protect Abortion Pill

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

This week: E. Jean Carroll wins defamation case; over 64,000 pregnancies from rape in abortion ban states; Taylor Swift targeted by deepfake attack; House passes CTC expansion; states implement anti-trans laws; abortion rates have risen since 2020; Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed the first anti-LGBTQ bill of the year into law; more than three in five Americans support Congress passing a law guaranteeing the right to an abortion; and more.

The War on Women Report: SCOTUS Allows Idaho to Deny Emergency Abortions; Taylor Swift Subjected to Online Sexual Abuse

U.S. patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. But day after day, we stay vigilant in our goals to dismantle patriarchy at every turn. The fight is far from over. We are watching, and we refuse to go back. This is the War on Women Report.

Since our last report: The Supreme Court will hear its second major abortion case; Pope Francis called for a ban on surrogacy; three new anti-trans bills were introduced in West Virginia; Gov. Ron DeSantis ended his presidential campaign after a second-place finish in Iowa; Texas has a higher number of pregnancies resulting from rape than any other state; and more.