Twitter is torn over Taylor Swift’s Pride anthem ‘You Need to Calm Down’
Taylor Swift’s new anti-homophobia song “You Need to Calm Down” has proven controversial with many among Twitter’s LGBT+ community, who are accusing her of “pandering for profit.”
Swift released the single from her forthcoming album Lover on June 14, alongside a music video that features a host of LGBT+ stars including Ellen DeGeneres, RuPaul, Laverne Cox, Billy Porter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Hayley Kiyoko and the cast of Queer Eye.
In typical Swift style the upbeat lyrics hit back at the haters, indicating her support for LGBT+ people with the lines: “Shade never made anybody less gay,” and “Why are you mad? When you could be GLAAD?” — a nod to the LGBT+ advocacy organisation. The music video ends with an on-screen message that asks viewers to support a petition and says: “Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally.”
Despite the song’s overtly positive message, Swift has faced widespread accusations of pandering to the LGBT+ community during Pride month.
Taylor Swift “Not an ally”
@Gracelinroses wrote: “Taylor Swift’s ‘You Need to Calm Down’ is a bit pandering. Although I appreciate her financial support to the #LGBTQ community, and the support of the #EqualityAct, she is not a part of the community and is selling her product for her financial gain.”
@Neptunecreep added: “Taylor Swift is queer baiting and needs to learn how to be a better ally! She is exploiting us for profit during Pride Month! She has never spoken out for queer people before this year! She is not an ally! Thanks.”
@Tyson_Campbell agreed: “Taylor Swift putting every mainstream queer artist in her music video and capitalising off pandering to the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month is probably the least surprising news of 2019 so next.”
taylor swift putting every mainstream queer artist in her music video and capitalizing off pandering to the lgbtq+ community during pride month is probably the least surprising news of 2019 so next
— Tyson (@Tyson_Campbell) June 18, 2019
Others agreed with Christina Cauterruci’s comments in Slate where she draws parallels with Lady Gaga’s powerful LGBT-positive song, “Born This Way.” She writes: “It is not a particularly radical stance for a celebrity to be anti-homophobe in 2019, yet Swift is promoting ‘You Need to Calm Down’ like it’s going to be the straw that breaks homophobia’s back.
“Eight years after Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way,’ which came from an artist who was out as a bisexual woman at a time when the gay rights movement had far less mainstream traction than it does now, ‘You Need to Calm Down’ looks even more pathetic.”
“Putting her support behind the community”
Swift’s fans leapt to her defence, pointing out that the widely successful star is making positive change and has no need to “pander” to anyone.
In a thread, @RachelKiley said: “LGBTQ community complaining that Taylor Swift is ‘pandering’ for sales. Like, lol. Y’all. It’s not pandering when you’re heavy-handedly putting your money and your votes and your vocal support behind a community.
LGBTQ community complaining that Taylor Swift is “pandering” for sales. Like, lol. Y’all. It’s not pandering when you’re heavy-handedly putting your money and your votes and your vocal support behind a community.
— rachel kiley (@rachelkiley) June 14, 2019
“Also, like. Taylor Swift does not need the LGBTQ community. She’s always had the middle states, the conservatives, the Christians. She’s risking losing them, her lifelong (LARGE) fanbase, to stand for what’s right. For us. And some of y’all wanna be cynical jerks about it? Lol.”
In response to her tweet, @Iwatcheditbegin noted: “She’s also actually taking action too, It’s not just for clout. She started a petition asking our government to pass laws protecting LGBTQ people. She has made donations to multiple pro LGBT organisations, and even GLAAD reported an increase in donations after this release.”
She’s also actually taking action too, It’s not just for clout.
She started a petition asking our government to pass laws protecting lgbtq people . She has made donations to multiple pro LGBT organizations, and even GLADD reported an increase in donations after this release
— Sara (@lwatcheditbegin) June 15, 2019
@buckleysdiaz said: “Y’all really out there tearing down the woman who got herself educated by LGBTs, donated to LGBT organisations and is finally using her platform for something good despite the fact that majority of her fanbase are homophobes… Taylor Swift is an ALLY, she’s not baiting anyone.”
While @s3rgiogonzalez said: “I’m gay and I feel supported. Taylor is one of the very few artists that really cares about her fans and equality. I’ve met her 2 times and she was nothing but a sweet, loving & caring person. I think those who are b*tching need to take that stick outta their butt and calm down.”
Swift has become increasingly vocal about her support of the LGBT+ community in the face of Donald Trump’s presidency.
On October 8, 2018 she posted on Instagram about her decision to vote Democrat in the midterm elections, saying: “I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG.” After this post, Trump declared that he liked her “about 25 percent less.”
On February 23, Swift surprised a gay couple at their engagement party, and on April 9 she donated $113,000 to fight for LGBT rights in Tennessee. This month she also gave a surprise performance at the Stonewall Inn, where the modern LGBT+ rights movement began.