On Monday, Maxim released their annual Hot 100 list, and Taylor Swift was at the top of it. Usually, the Hot 100 is largely an excuse to take provocative photos of models and celebs, but Swift used the opportunity to do something different.
When asked about why she had recently become more vocal about her feminism, Swift provided an incredible example of what it means to come out as a feminist.
A perfect definition: Swift's definition of feminism is inclusive, responsible and fits the angle many feminist advocates have been stressing for years. It's the same definition that Teresa Younger, the CEO and president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, a grassroots feminist organization 40 years strong, discussed with Forbes in March: "The definition, as I have spent my life believing it to be, is the belief that men and women should have equal social, political, and economic rights and opportunities."
Swift now stands with Younger, subverting the stereotypical view that feminism is anti-men — a view that the pop star herself expressed in a 2012 Daily Beast interview that caused an outpouring of criticism across the Internet. She seems to have grown since.
"Misogyny is ingrained in people from the time they are born," she told Maxim. And they're institutionalized through "the double standards in headlines, the double standards in the way stories are told, the double standards in the way things are perceived."
These double standards are everywhere. Female nipples and pubic hair are pornographic; male nipples and pubic hair are not. Women's fashion choices are scrutinized mercilessly on the red carpets of award shows; men's are not. Women are frequently asked to define themselves by their relationships to men in interviews; men are not asked to do the same with women — something Swift addressed in a Telegraph interview in February.
Does she walk the walk? With her Maxim interview, Swift has proved herself a valuable vocal ally in the feminist cause. But some of her recent artistic statements have been a little more questionable. The women-shooting-bazookas-in-leather brand of feminism that she offered with her "Bad Blood" video seems to underscore the "catfight stereotype" for women, rather than to liberate them. Hopefully some of her ideology will begin to bleed into her music a bit more. Either way, her comments are giving a strong definition of feminism clear visibility.