After 15 photogenic, cat-filled months together, Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift ended their relationship, prompting a million self-styled Internet comedians to make a million iterations of the same bad, boring joke: “Lolololol Taylor Swift is gonna write songs about it lol.”
While the news comes as a disappointment for Swift fans – for whom her heartbreak is theirs – most relationships, whether between celebs or between normal people, end. It’s true. It’s just a true and sad fact. What’s different about a celebrity relationship, especially a Taylor Swift relationship, is that millions of people have something to say about it. In the case of Swift, what people “have to say” somehow manages to be both boring and offensive, focusing on Swift’s music and craft as somehow profiting from this, as if Swift is unique in being a musician who draws from personal experiences. (She’s not. She’s not. She’s not.)
That’s why the comments “Taylor Swift has another ex to sing about!” or “Taylor Swift is already getting to work on her next album!” aren’t funny and they’re wrong. (Swift could write a banger about dirty shoelaces, and anyone who doesn’t recognize that is cloaked in willful ignorance.)
“I can write a song about making eye contact with someone,” Swift once said, low-key shading her haters. “I don’t need a relationship to have good material.”
Plus, comments about Swift’s unoriginality as a songwriter – “she’s always writing songs about dudes who’ve wronged her!!” – minimizes her craft in a way that a male artists’ never would. So when a brand – that shall go unnamed – tweeted: “Silver lining for Swifties? New break-up songs!” they reduced the complexity of her work in a really boring, sexist way. Homegirl has earned 10 Grammy Awards, 19 American Music Awards, 22 Billboard Music Awards and 1 Emmy, as well as been honored by the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. And you’re seriously going to credit the not-so-nice guys she’s dated (and the perfectly nice guys with whom it just didn’t work out) with all her success? No. That will not stand.
But don’t get us wrong: Swift writes excellent breakup songs. (We listened to “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” upwards of 47 times last night.) She has undoubtedly guided millions of people through breakups – with her music and by actually reaching out to heartbroken fans. In 2015, when a teenage fan was dumped by her boyfriend via text, Swift took the time to comment on the girl’s Tumblr post: “It’s so devastating to come to terms with speaking of someone in past tense when you used to see them as your present and your future. But think about what he said: It will take a while for you to get those words out of your head.”
We hope that Swift finds the space she needs to process the breakup and tune out the obnoxious Internet chatter. And, if the next “Blank Space” comes out of all this – as artists have drawn inspiration from hardship for. thousands. of. years. – we will all be #blessed.