Taylor Swift Knows About Biased Words

Have you heard of Taylor Swift? 

If not, you should know that she’s one of the most well known & prolific young pop artists in music today, with a social media following that’s larger than the population of many countries. 

If you do know Taylor, then you know she recently dropped a new album entitled “Lover.

So, what does Lover, Taylor & her songs have to do with communication and/or soft skills? 
Stay right there - I’m about to steer the ship to shore.

A couple of months ago we posted an article on “coded” and limiting language. Coded words are words that are gendered-weighted and/or used to denigrate, demean, dismiss or dilute women (Ahhh, alteration!).

In listening to the radio last week, I happened on an interview Taylor was doing with New York’s Z100 Morning Show discussing her new album. Elvis Duran, the DJ interviewing her, noted that his favorite song on the album was a track entitled “The Man.” Taylor detailed that she had mentally been writing this song for years and that she wanted to talk about the double standards and twisted male/female perceptions she has encountered in her life and in the music business.

Here’s where the boat hits the dock…

In the interview, she notes how words and ideas are not equally applied to men and women. For example, she cites that men are “strategic” and women are called “calculating” or “manipulative.” That men are labeled “confident” and women are labeled as “smug.” Or that a man can “stand up for himself” and a woman “throws a tantrum” and is told to “calm down.”

Words matter.

Even when you’re an uber-successful artist at the top of your game, with sold-out tours and multi-platinum albums to your credit, you’re still substantially effected by the coded and biased words used about and against you. 

Maybe we should all write songs. Or poems, or movies, or blog posts. Perhaps by writing these ideas and pointing out the oppressive, limiting language so often used as a scalpel and a bludgeon, we’ll begin moving the needle towards more equitable treatment of each other. It can start with words. Maybe by embracing and capturing the words, we get to use them as we see fit and we won’t have to “Shake It Off” any longer.

LB Adams is the Founder of Practical Dramatics, and headquartered in Charleston, SC.  Her company is thrilled to answer any questions you might have about communication training, team building, coded language or pop music. We do love a groovy beat. To learn more about growing profitable conversations, reach out to us at 843-771-0753.