music relationships

an open letter to taylor swift on healthy relationships

Hey Tay Tay!
Girl, you know I’ve got mad love for you. What do I listen to when I’m getting ready in the morning? You. What do I listen to when I’m out for a run? You. What do I listen to when I think about healthy relationships? Oh…wait. You know I’m 105% supportive of you dating who you want, when you want, and writing songs about it. That’s not my issue. The issue is how you talk about what goes down in those dating situations.
In your song Stay Stay Stay, one of the catchiest you’ve penned, you sing about an argument that leads you to throw your phone at your guy. What!? That’s what we call intimidation, Tay, and it’s an abusive behavior. I know that’s a big word with scary connotations, but it’s the truth. You’ve got to learn to handle your emotions in healthier ways!
You go on to sing about how he decided to “stay (stay stay),” even though you threw your phone. Again, this is what abuse looks like because you have the upper hand in the relationship. You, however, seem to think that him staying is not only romantic, but means that this whole thing is clearly gonna work itself out in the end. Why? Because “he thinks it’s funny when you’re mad (mad mad).”
Wait. When you’re upset, this guy laughs it off instead of hearing you out? You always deserve to feel heard and respected, Tay. It’s never okay for your partner to make you feel judged or that your feelings are less valid than theirs.
Ultimately, it sounds like there are some really unhealthy dynamics in this relationship. If you both decide to stay (stay stay), it’s crucial that you both take responsibility for your actions and learn better ways to communicate. There’s a tool called the 48 Hour Rule, which basically means that if something is still bothering you after 48 hours, you should bring it up. If the conversation starts to get heated, take a break to cool down. You could each step away and write down three sentences about how you’re really feeling, and then come back and read them to each other. This ensures that you both feel heard (without being laughed at), and hopefully keeps you from throwing things.
Young women relate to you and your music because we see you as an illustration of what we’re all experiencing in our own lives. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could make a positive change in relationships just by singing about healthier relationship behaviors? What’s more romantic than that?!
xo Nicole

This letter is a part of a series in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
See the previous post here.
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