Members of Taylor Swift’s inner circle, including, but not limited to, Lorde and Lena Dunham, have frequently leapt to the singer’s defense when she has made a poorly conceived remark—or failed to remark on a situation entirely—in the past. And while less frequently has the reverse occurred, in which Swift rises to the aid of a peer in the face of criticism, lately the musician has embraced the beginnings of a political consciousness, posting about the March for Our Lives on Instagram and, now, weighing in on a remark made by the musician Hayley Kiyoko on Tumblr.
Earlier this week, Kiyoko drew the full ire of Swift’s fandom when she noted, in an interview with Refinery29, ahead of the release of her new album, Expectations, that “Taylor Swift sings about men in every single song and video, and no one complains that she’s unoriginal.” Kiyoko was, ostensibly, responding to the double standard that normalizes heterosexual relationships onscreen and in music and defending her desire to feature women as love interests in her videos, but devoid of context, it was interpreted as an attack on Swift—and the singer’s fans took to Tumblr to express their dismay. (Tumblr, conveniently, is Swift’s social media platform of choice.)
But one user, in response to an anonymous comment, pointed out how the quote had been misinterpreted: “I don’t believe she was calling Taylor unoriginal or boy crazy,” shaking-off-the-bad-blood wrote. “It is actually very similar to when Taylor back in 2014/2015 would say in interviews how she believes people are sexist when they call her out for writing about her exes but don’t call out people like Ed Sheeran or Bruno Mars for writing about theirs.” (Extremely fair point.)
Swift has indeed been criticized for her focus on past relationships, even though these have provided inspiration to musicians for basically the entire history of pop music. And, on Friday, Swift reblogged the post, adding a note of agreement: “Exactly. We should applaud artists who are brave enough to tell their honest romantic narrative through their art,” she wrote. “The fact is that I’ve never encountered homophobia and she has. It’s her right to call out anyone who has double standards about gay vs straight love interests.”
Perhaps now she can use this newfound voice to smooth things over between Donald Glover, FX, and Marvel.