In Defense Of Taylor Swift’s ‘You Belong With Me’

On internalized misogyny and growing up

Kitty Williams

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YBWM music video - Image Credit dlaimv.blogspot.com

So I noticed an article floating around Medium about how Taylor Swift’s hit song ‘You Belong With Me’ is “internalized misogyny” and while I haven’t read it, I’d like to share my thoughts on the matter.

First off, the song “You Belong With Me’ was written when Taylor was only 18 years old. The origin of the song came when one of Taylor’s bandmates was on the phone with his girlfriend getting yelled at because he hadn’t called her when she had wanted him to. That’s how Taylor came up with the lyrics “you’re on the phone with you’re girlfriend she’s upset”. This song was not about an actual guy that Taylor liked who already had a girlfriend. It’s fictional.

Toxic girlfriends and toxic women and women that are just plain jerks in general do exist and it’s okay to acknowledge that. In the iconic ‘You Belong With Me’ music video “the girlfriend” (played by Taylor) is possessive and rude. She’s not a good person and therefore the relationship isn’t healthy. The guy isn’t happy and he doesn’t really love her. The protagonist/girl next door (who is also played by Taylor) really likes this guy, she sees that he’s in a bad relationship and she wants him. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. It’s classic high school drama (although my high school experience was not so exciting unfortunately).

I think that the heart of the song comes from Taylor feeling like an outcast or the “girl next door” who really likes this guy but feels she doesn’t stand a chance against the pretty popular girl. This is a common feeling for a lot of girls growing up and it’s what makes the song relatable.

I can remember riding the school bus when I was 11 years old listening to ‘You Belong With Me’ on my MP3 player while daydreaming about my crush. He was the cutest boy in the whole school and a year above me. He was cute and charming and popular and he was “dating” (it was middle school so I use the term loosely here) the pretty popular blonde girl who was in the same grade as me. I didn’t have anything against her. We barley ever spoke or interacted despite sharing classes, riding the bus and going to church together. I related to YBWM because I was always the odd, unpopular, uncool girl who was barely…

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Kitty Williams

writer of sad poetry & essays on feminism, politics, LGBTQ, religion & whatever else I feel like. bookworm, stargazer, daydreamer & devoted mom to fur babies