Taylor’s Kanye Shade Wasn’t Even the Best Part of Her Grammy Speech
After Taylor Swift accepted the Grammy award for album of the year last night, most news outlets focused on the shade she threw at Kanye West.
To refresh your memory, Kanye said in a new song released last week: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous.” Since those lines hit the public, Taylor’s friends have been denouncing the rapper and a feud reminiscent of the 2009 VMAs has broken out.
Taylor made Kanye’s shade the focal point of her acceptance speech last night. She didn’t mention him by name, but her speech was pretty clearly aimed at him.
But the real high point of the speech happened before she started responding to Kanye, and when she did something really rare, at least for her: she bragged.
That’s right: Taylor “who, me?” Swift opened her speech with a clear and unapologetic acknowledgement of her accomplishments — and it was awesome.
The brag itself occurred when Taylor began her speech by describing herself as “the first woman to win album of the year at the Grammys twice.” This is an incredible and badass accomplishment, made all the more badass by Taylor making sure everyone knew it. Taylor Swift is a boss and it’s great to see her owning it. It wasn’t even a humblebrag, just a straight-up brag — and there’s nothing wrong with that.
It was a far cry from the image of Taylor we’ve gotten used to over the years — a Taylor who acts shocked every time she wins an award and tends to play the victim when people like Kanye question her or even take jabs at her (if you even think that line was a jab… I think it was more Kanye mocking his own massive ego than anything meant to devalue Taylor or her accomplishments).
Instead of sparring with other famous people on Twitter, the cooler move is for Taylor to do exactly what she did at the top of her speech: be loud and proud about what she’s accomplishing. Taylor is calling the shots and not feeling bad about it and it’s great that so many young girls will now see that.
Girls and women feel so much pressure to downplay their accomplishments, act surprised when they get compliments, and generally fade into the background when the spotlight’s on them. But if you don’t brag about yourself every once in a while, who else is going to do it for you? Men have been running the world for centuries — and it’s not because they’re humble.
That’s why it’s so great to see Taylor, who’s known for her nice-girl persona, showing that bragging doesn’t make you bad. In fact, putting yourself down too much is way more dangerous than bragging. I was wishy-washy over Taylor when her first few singles came out. The slut-shaming apparent in her single “You Belong to Me” really bothered me. “She wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts” — cool, do you want a medal?
Plus, I never bought her “I’m a dork, I swear!” persona. Girl’s got legs for days and doesn’t look out of place surrounded by Victoria’s Secret models. Not to mention her earning power —Taylor’s astounding success is proof enough that she’s a serious boss and I’ve been dying to see her own it. The good-girl image of her past might have made her seem like a positive role model, but trying to live up to such a perfect, inoffensive, and angelic standard is hell for any girl, especially one who’s ambitious or outside the norm.
But now, ironically, Taylor has taken a page out of Kanye’s book by laying her accomplishments out for everyone to see. And even better, she’s not overinflating these accomplishments — she’s taking a fact-based approach by pointing out the truth about how hard she’s slaying right now.
Taylor didn’t wait for music journalists to make the connection and point out that she is the first woman ever to win album of the year twice — she pointed it out for them and the viewers at home. And there’s nothing wrong with a little fact-based bragging to make sure everyone knows what’s up.
This shot-calling version of Taylor is great for everyone — especially young girls who feel like they need to play down their accomplishments to fit into some sort of sweetheart mold. So brag away, Taylor. We will be here cheering you on.
Here’s Taylor’s speech in full:
“As the first woman to win album of the year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there: there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame. But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going. You’ll look around and you’ll know it was you and the people who love you who put you there and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.”