No one wants to be the “crazy ex-girlfriend.” She’s the girl who supposedly loses her mind over a guy and cries and screams after they break up. She is deemed irrational no matter the circumstances, even if it includes a breakup as the result of a dishonest boyfriend. Everyone wants to be the “cool girl,” a concept popularized by the recent hit novel and movie Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. In the book, Flynn writes:
“Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.”
As the feminist movement powers on, Millinnial women still worry as they try desperately not to be vulnerable. Furthermore, we rarely see women embracing their right to be angry with those who have wronged them. As Taylor Swift exemplifies in her new music video for her track “Blank Space,” we have the ability to play with that stereotype. It’s true: feeling like the fool after a relationship ends is hurtful. It becomes a weight that can rest on you for time to come, but does that mean avoiding speaking up altogether to put a wrongdoer in his or her place?
Watch the “Blank Space” music video below:
Miss Swift is often accused of being a woman who clings to memories of flames past and croons about a romanticized version of a high school make-out scene. While admittedly for a time I did feel the pop star was guilty of these behaviors, I have found myself impressed and proud of the “Blank Space” video. The teamwork of Swift and director Joseph Kahn turned the tables on the media’s harsh portrayal of Swift as a serial dater. There has been a constant attempt to slut-shame the songwriter and turn her into a non-threatening, almost laughably ironic femme fatale. Rather than allow further material to be printed, Swift took matters into her own hands. With “Blank Space,” she proved that she was very much in control of her romantic choices and how she is seen by the public.
In “Blank Space,” not only does the narrator (presumably, T-Swift herself) choose the man she wants, but also notes from the start that she is using him for her own purposes. She will play out the “game” as she pleases. In the video, we see the girlfriend flip a switch. She cuts up her ex’s clothes and essentially freaks him out. The best part: it all transpires under her control. Still, there is comedy in the video. Swift acknowledges the craziness she portrays, donning raccoon-eyes and red lipstick.
What I appreciate about this video was that it almost encourages others to get a little mad. “Boys only want love if it’s torture,” chants Swift in her song. This statement rings true for many, making it all the more satisfying to essentially say (to paraphrase), “If you want torture, here it is.” This isn’t to say that women should torture men, since revenge isn’t what equality is all about. Let’s be real though: it’s important to remind other women (and admittedly, men) that we have the same amount of power in a relationship. Furthermore, we should not be worried about being the “cool girl”—sometimes you have to put the mad in madness in order to get your point across. Often times, people don’t listen. Then, when you finally scream, they only acknowledge the loudest volume. So thanks Taylor, for letting us vicariously tear up some shirts.