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Not just filling blank space

Miriam Hicklin, BA Arabic and Persian

I have recently embarked upon a journey that has necessitated my being fearless in the face of judgement, throwing away my old inhibitions, and falling in love with Taylor Swift’s music.

Blank Space is the killer track on the new album 1989 – mocking all those who have tried to label her as the boy-crazy blonde, revealing a self-awareness and quick wit that could challenge any powerful-woman-bashing tabloid journalist. Another fantastic moment of girl power comes with the hugely popular track ‘Shake it Off’, as she refuses to abide by the stereotypes the media have applied to her.

It’s far from a perfect album, and I won’t pretend that every track should be added to your feminist power ballad playlist immediately. However, Swift presents herself as a powerful woman with choices, in complete control over her own life. For a woman with a huge teenage fan-base, this is brave and meaningful. In reference to much of her older work, she seems to be putting a great big middle-finger up to all those who’ve hurt her, whilst getting on with throwing some awesome shapes on the dance floor.

The new album is great fun, with the rare bonus of being empowering and culture-defying. It’s a clear move away from the country music she wrote as a teenager, as she is becoming a woman who will write whatever the hell she likes whenever the hell she wants to. It’s probably not an album for everyone, but I do encourage you to give it a go – it’ll boost your faith in humanity.

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