Confession time: I love Taylor Swift.
No, I’m not being ironic. What, you think I’m some kind of fucking hipster? I’m not joking, jesting, mocking, parodying, or exaggerating for effect. I really do. There are certain cultural productions — certain artists, certain works — that are epitomes. Mozart, I’m told, is the epitome of Classical music. He achieved, and perfected, all that could possibly be done in that form. For symphonies to be written after Mozart, music would need to take a radically new direction. Thus Beethoven.*
Taylor Swift, then, is the epitome of an entire generation, an entire worldview. Since criticism of “feminism” is forbidden, this worldview doesn’t have a name yet, but you know the kind of thing I mean. The Millennial world, the safety-at-any-cost world, the careerist shrike tankgrrl world. Men are responsible for all my problems, so why won’t men get off their video game- and porn-addicted asses to come solve them all for me? How dare men not be there on demand, now that I’ve cock-carouseled through my 20s and 30s and am ready to finally “settle down?” I just made partner at the law firm, damn it, and I’m ready to have my one designer kid. I am woman, watch me Tweet, why do boys all have cold feet?
For brevity’s sake, let’s call it GrrlWrrld. Taylor Swift is the epitome of GrrlWrrld.
Exhibit A: Her wonderful new song, “The Man,” summarized thusly: I live like an NBA player, but get criticized for it, because I’m a girl. For anyone not completely mired in GrrlWrrld, the “no shit, Sherlock!” factor of that little ditty is off the charts… but that’s the point. It’s a massive hit. All the grrls in GrrlWrrld, of both sexes and all 57 genders, feel this is a deep and meaningful insight into their lives. It’s just sooo unfaaaaaaiiiiiirrrrr!
But there’s hope, kameraden. As the Z Man points out today in his more-than-typically excellent column, with the Kung Flu, we may well be witnessing the end of the purposeless female:
…suddenly the status hierarchy for women has changed. The mom I was chatting with was feeling really good about taking control of her household. Suddenly, the women taking care of their kids, taking over their schooling and being a stabilizing force are cool. Those career women sheltering in place with their box wine and social media account can no longer kid themselves about their real status in society.
Note, please, that I wrote “purposeless,” not “useless.” They can be synonyms, but in this case they’re almost opposites. The grrls of GrrlWrrld are the farthest thing from useless. Indeed, they’re the most important part! Every single one of our current socio-political arrangements is designed to maximize the impact of box-wine-chugging career women who spend their precious few off hours bitching on social media, aka Karen.
It’s unsustainable, of course, but it’s the socio-demographic analogue to cock-carouseling — you can only hide the pointlessness and vapidity of what you’re doing by doing it more and more, faster and faster, and by the time you hit the Wall it’s already too late. The lucky few end up like Jessica Valenti, penning article after article for Jezebel and The Guardian about how sexist the world is for not catcalling her anymore. The unlucky 99.9% end up voting for Hillary.
As Z Man points out, the Kung Flu could be the end to all that. GrrlWrrld only “works” when the treadmill of Eat-Tweet-Shop is cranked to Sharyl Sandberg’s “consider that a divorce!” setting, and runs 24-7. If it stops, even for a second…
…well, read the piece. All those women are finally discovering their true purpose in life, and it’s not — surprise surprise — “cock-carouseling your way to senior partner for 75 cents on the dollar.” All of a sudden, the empty, vapid hedonism of Taylor Swift’s world are revealed in all their glory. Swift herself, of course, is heading towards The Wall at Mach 3. When the GrrlWrrld treadmill is running at full power, her fans can continue believing that the reason she can’t find a man is because she’s just too Strong and Empowered (TM) for any wimpy modern dude to handle.
When the treadmill stops, though, it becomes obvious why no man in his right mind would ever want to take the risk, no matter how hot she still is for a few more months — if it doesn’t work out, it’s gonna be all over MTV, and she’ll somehow still end up with the kids, because the judge in divorce court is a tankgrrl too. No thanks.
The treadmill just stopped. Will the purposeless female hop right back on once this whole thing blows over in a few weeks? The cynic in me says “of course!”…. but hope springs eternal. If you know any young women who were heading down that path — which is to say, if you know any young women — now’s your opportunity to show them a better way. If you’re a young guy, now is the perfect time to work on your game. No, not that PUA shit, the real stuff — the “calm, competent, stoic, trustworthy” stuff. We’re probably still screwed, but if we don’t take our shots when we have them, we have no one but ourselves to blame.
Godspeed, kameraden. Keep your head down, your pecker up, and your powder dry.