It’s been a rough week for Taylor Swift.
Caught lying about the fact that she gave permission to Kanye West to sing about her in his song “Famous,” Swift is now threatening to sue West and his wife Kim Kardashian for recording their conversation.
But the reason to pity Swift isn’t this embarrassment. It’s the actual content of the conversation, which makes Swift sound less like a 26-year-old, Grammy-winning multimillionaire and more like a naïve schoolgirl.
Kanye reads the proposed lyric to Swift: “To all my southside n—-as that know me best, I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex.” Instead of telling the man on the other end of the line to go take a flying leap, Swift worries that she might be close to “overexposure” — whatever that means.
But it gets worse.
Then the man who interrupted her acceptance speech at the MTV awards to say that someone else was more deserving of her honor assured her: “Oh, well this I think this a really cool thing to have.” And rather than see through this as the smooth talk of a man who wants to put one over on her, she says, “I know, I mean it’s like a compliment, kind of.”
Are you kidding? Swift thinks that when a man announces to the world he might have sex with you that it’s a compliment. Sorry, babe, that’s called public degradation.
When I was in high school, I remember overhearing a group of boys talking about how they divided the girls in our class into two groups. Stupidly, I assumed the groups were: 1) women they’d like to get in the sack and 2) women they wouldn’t. Until a friend explained I had the distinction wrong. The boys would sleep with anyone — some girls just needed a paper bag over their heads.
Perhaps feminists are out there shaking their heads, thinking that I must have gone to school with a group of Neanderthals. The truth is that many of these boys turned into happily married gentlemen with lovely children. But you can learn a lot about what men think by listening to what 16-year-old boys say out loud.
It’s not that all men would act on these feelings. But if you think a man is being kind by saying he might have sex with you, you have some serious insecurity issues. When Kanye finally assures Swift “All I give a f–k about is you as a person and as a friend, I want things that make you feel good,” she says, “That’s sweet.”
Awww. It’s surprising she didn’t offer to take off her clothes for his video.
In her recent book “American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Life of Teenagers,” Nancy Jo Sales describes the reaction of one girl when a boy asks her to send him naked pictures of herself. “I was like, Whoa, he finds me attractive? That’s kind of strange. I never knew he found me attractive.”
Someone should tell all the adolescent girls out there that when deciding whom to ask for naked pictures, the primary criterion is not figuring out which girl is most attractive. It’s figuring out which girl is most likely to say yes.
The reason we’re often left pondering the mystery of “what women want” is that we already know what men want. Or at least we did until it became taboo to say that men and women are different.
Taylor Swift has shown herself to be plenty savvy in other areas of her life — challenging Apple to pay musicians more, taking her whole band and crew on vacation to thank them for their help with her world tour, even making it last week to the top of Forbes’ highest-paid celebrities list.
Last year, Oprah Winfrey told Australia’s Herald Sun that she found Swift to be a “true great role model . . . I’ve never seen any woman handle herself the way she does.” Perhaps Swift doesn’t need to concern herself with what men say or sing about her — she can take solace in her professional success.
But for all of the girls out there who see Swift as a role model, the singer’s example of how to behave with boys will send them down a path of embarrassment and unhappiness.
?Naomi Schaefer Riley is a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.