Taylor Swift Speaks Out Against Leaders "Invoking Racism and Provoking Fear"
The superstar singer-songwriter also revealed why she believes sexual assault victims and that her mom is battling cancer again in an essay of lessons she's learned before turning 30.
As Taylor Swift approaches turning 30 in December, she acknowledged that she has learned a lot.
The superstar singer-songwriter opened up about 30 lessons she's learned in an essay for Elle, published on Wednesday. While some of the lessons are about lighter topics like skin care and cocktail recipes, she also touched on more serious lessons that she has learned following her parents' cancer battles, her sexual assault case and her decision to speak publicly about politics.
In lesson No. 24 on the list, Swift wrote about dealing with illness in her family. "Both of my parents have had cancer, and my mom is now fighting her battle with it again. It’s taught me that there are real problems and then there’s everything else," she wrote. "My mom’s cancer is a real problem. I used to be so anxious about daily ups and downs. I give all of my worry, stress, and prayers to real problems now."
For her 13th lesson, Swift wrote about the importance of believing sexual assault victims. "It’s my opinion that in cases of sexual assault, I believe the victim. Coming forward is an agonizing thing to go through. I know because my sexual assault trial was a demoralizing, awful experience," she wrote.
Swift went to court in August 2018 after ex-radio host David Mueller allegedly groped Swift during a pre-concert meet-and-greet in June 2013. The jurors determined that Mueller was guilty and he was fined a symbolic $1.
"I believe victims because I know firsthand about the shame and stigma that comes with raising your hand and saying 'This happened to me.' It’s something no one would choose for themselves," she continued. "We speak up because we have to, and out of fear that it could happen to someone else if we don’t."
Swift touched on politics for lesson 28. "I’m finding my voice in terms of politics. I took a lot of time educating myself on the political system and the branches of government that are signing off on bills that affect our day-to-day life," she said. "I saw so many issues that put our most vulnerable citizens at risk, and felt like I had to speak up to try and help make a change."
Swift, who was once famously known for being apolitical, endorsed Tennessee Democratic candidates Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper during the 2018 midterm elections. She continued to encourage fans to educate themselves and vote leading up to the election.
"Only as someone approaching 30 did I feel informed enough to speak about it to my 114 million followers. Invoking racism and provoking fear through thinly veiled messaging is not what I want from our leaders, and I realized that it actually is my responsibility to use my influence against that disgusting rhetoric," she continued, seemingly criticizing President Donald Trump, while indicating that she would continue to speak out leading up to the 2020 elections. "I’m going to do more to help. We have a big race coming up next year."
Swift discussed her "biggest fear" as her seventh lesson learned. "After the Manchester Arena bombing and the Vegas concert shooting, I was completely terrified to go on tour this time because I didn’t know how we were going to keep 3 million fans safe over seven months," she wrote. "There was a tremendous amount of planning, expense, and effort put into keeping my fans safe."
She wrote that the same fears are present in her everyday life. "I carry QuikClot army grade bandage dressing, which is for gunshot or stab wounds. Websites and tabloids have taken it upon themselves to post every home address I’ve ever had online. You get enough stalkers trying to break into your house and you kind of start prepping for bad things," she wrote. "Every day I try to remind myself of the good in the world, the love I’ve witnessed and the faith I have in humanity. We have to live bravely in order to truly feel alive, and that means not being ruled by our greatest fears."
List item No. 23 addressed the friends and fans that stuck by her side following the downfall of her reputation. "They were there in the worst times and they’re here now. The fans and their care for me, my well-being, and my music were the ones who pulled me through," she wrote. "The most emotional part of the Reputation Stadium Tour for me was knowing I was looking out at the faces of the people who helped me get back up. I’ll never forget the ones who stuck around."
Swift also discussed how the media and Internet users impacted how she viewed her relationships, as well as how she overcame that pressure. "For too long, the projected opinions of strangers affected how I viewed my relationships. Whether it was the general internet consensus of who would be right for me, or what they thought was 'couples goals' based on a picture I posted on Instagram. That stuff isn’t real," she wrote as part of lesson No. 8. "For an approval seeker like me, it was an important lesson for me to learn to have my OWN value system of what I actually want."
The list concluded with a lesson about self-forgiveness. "My mom always tells me that when I was a little kid, she never had to punish me for misbehaving because I would punish myself even worse. I’d lock myself in my room and couldn’t forgive myself, as a five-year-old. I realized that I do the same thing now when I feel I’ve made a mistake, whether it’s self-imposed exile or silencing myself and isolating," she wrote. "I’ve come to a realization that I need to be able to forgive myself for making the wrong choice, trusting the wrong person, or figuratively falling on my face in front of everyone. Step into the daylight and let it go."