Taylor Swift is the Perfect Role Model for Women for Exactly the Reasons You Think She Isn’t

Taylor Swift is a fantastic role model for girls and young women.

There, I said it.

Not a Swifty, But…

You probably think I’m some hardcore Swifty jumping at the bit to defend my idol.

I’m not.

I’ve heard the song “Shake it Off” and think it’s good. I couldn’t name another song or an album. I don’t follow her on social media or care much about what she’s doing.

As a punk/pop girl, Taylor Swift isn’t my style.

And that’s okay. To each their own.

But even I can’t ignore her massive influence and popularity. She’s everywhere.

Young women love her. They can’t get enough. She’s a fantastic role model for women everywhere. 

Taylor Swift “Not a Role Model”

Newsweek recently published an op-ed by male “journalist” John Mac Ghlionn claiming Swift is a bad role model for his daughters because she’s in her 30s, doesn’t have children, and has had multiple relationships.

While we refuse to vindicate the trash take with the internet’s most precious currency, a backlink (Bing it if you want), it’s worth discussing because the glaring misogyny behind the words isn’t new.

When was the last time a media outlet said Michael Jordon should focus more on his family than the game of basketball? When did a journalist claim John Cena is a bad role model for boys because he doesn’t want kids? How many outlets call out playboys like Leonardo DiCaprio and John Mayer for their playboy ways?

We never see those takes because men are allowed to prioritize their lives and careers.

Women aren’t.

The Misogyny Behind the “Not a Role Model” Essay

Ghlionn claimed Swift sets a bad example for young girls because she’s had multiple relationships and dated rich men despite speaking out against the patriarchy.

“Do you want your daughters to emulate a woman who’s had multiple partners?” he gasps, clutching his pearls (despite making a comment that his nonsense isn’t pearl-clutching but “rooted in sound reason.”)

A Note on “Sound Reason”

While we’re on the topic, it’s worth pointing out the sexist dog whistle behind phrases like “sound reason” and “logic.”

Misogynists use these terms to uphold male supremacy and the patriarchy. Women are too emotional; they need a stoic man guided by “reason” to lead them.

Their definitions of “logic” and “reason” often change to fit their narrative. If they’re feeling an emotion (like anger), it’s logical, while if a woman expresses the same emotion, she’s hysterical. Men use epic mental gymnastics to justify the most horrifyingly sexist claims, then shield themselves from any criticism by calling it “reason.”

The same holds for Ghlionn’s piece. The “sound reason” his narrative is rooted in has nothing to do with logic. It’s all based on outdated gender roles and ancient philosophies that seek to control women: their bodies, their lives, their relationships, and access to them for reproduction.

No, It’s Misogyny

Sorry, Ghlionn. Your piece isn’t “rooted in sound reason.” It’s misogynistic.

Every word of his piece drips with disdain for women who dare step outside the box and defy his idea of what a woman should be and how she should act.

Childless at *Gasp* 34

The crux of Ghlionn’s essay is that a childless, unmarried 30-something woman can’t be a role model for young girls.

How dare a powerful woman opt out of motherhood? How dare she pursue her own interests?

The patriarchy doesn’t see women as people. It sees them as vessels for producing more human chattel. A woman who refuses that role (or even delays it) threatens their hold over society. Women have a purpose; it’s not self-actualization – that’s men’s realm. No, women must offer themselves up in servitude to men. In marriage and motherhood, they must lose their identities and throw themselves into caring for the family and the home.

Women who don’t serve men by giving their wombs, lives, and souls scare men like Ghlionn. They threaten the power structure.  

Swift is one of those women, and Ghlionn can’t handle it.

She Has Relationships

Ghlionn’s central thesis (the one 100% rooted in “sound reasoning”) is that Swift isn’t a good role model because she’s had multiple relationships.

How dare a woman date, experience relationships with different men, learn what she likes, and grow until she finds the right partner?

No, women must wait demurely on the sidelines until a man offers his hand, then serve him for the rest of her life no matter how abusive he becomes.

It’s not just the fact that she’s had relationships. Ghlionn can’t stand that Swift airs her relationship drama through song. Is she teaching young girls that they don’t have to put up with abuse, that they can leave a relationship that doesn’t serve them, and that they have autonomy over their lives?

The horror!

She Dates Powerful Men

Ghlionn has a major “gotcha” up his sleeve. He calls Swift a hypocrite for decrying the patriarchy while dating rich and powerful men.

Tell me, Ghlionn – what is she supposed to do?

Should she date an unemployed hobosexual to prove something to you? Not date at all, even though men like you hate her for being single and childless? Let her father pick a husband?

She doesn’t need to do that. Swift can date whoever she wants. She doesn’t have to answer to you or justify her relationship choices.

And really, the “gotcha” shows Ghlionn’s refusal to acknowledge human relationships. People meet and date people from within their circles. As a celebrity, Swift meets and dates other celebrities. That’s just common sense.

Stop trying to hold her to a higher standard than literally every other human being just because she’s powerful and speaks out about things you would rather keep secret.

Taylor Swift, an Epic Role Model

What Ghlionn fails to understand is all his “logical points” about why Swift is a poor role model for girls actually make her a fantastic role model for them.

Taylor Swift is bashing the patriarchy, one song at a time. She’s teaching girls they don’t have to stay in an unhappy relationship, and it’s okay to be a human being. They don’t have to have kids if they don’t want to, and they can live life on their own terms.

Swift also shows young girls that they don’t have to care what patriarchy thinks of them. Men hate her. They hate that a woman has so much power and influence.

But she just shakes it off. 

Instead, she speaks to the women and young girls. She tells them they can achieve whatever they want, regardless of what men think. She tells them to vote and stand up for their rights. She shows them that women can be sexy and intelligent, successful and powerful, and partner with a man without giving up their identities.

Women need a role model like Swift; we don’t care what men say about it. 


Author: Melanie Allen

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Pursuing Your Passions, Travel, Wellness, Hobbies, Finance, Gaming, Happiness

Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation and is a certified happiness life coach. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.