Leave the “Blank Space” Blank: Taylor Swift, Dating Violence, & Gender Role Performance

"Our goal in creating our own version of Taylor Swift’s Polaroids and music video is to demonstrate a healthy process of breaking up with your significant other."

“Our goal in creating our own version of Taylor Swift’s Polaroids and music video is to demonstrate a healthy process of breaking up with your significant other.”

“When her princess love stories go astray, Swift’s lyrics and videos not only reinforce the stereotype of women as dependent and over-emotional but also enter the dark realms of domestic violence. With such a young fan following, Taylor Swift and her ‘Blank Space’ phenomenon are teaching the dangerous tale of revenge, domestic violence, and weakness to teenage girls one YouTube view at a time.”
—Trina Reynolds-Tyler, Spencer Spotts, Amairani Alamillo, Susie Simmons, and Hannah Seabright

The Original Taylor Swift Polaroid Pictures

Taylor Swift“In the second picture, Swift is lying on a couch with her arms covering her face. Sut Jhally contends that women photographed lying down give off the impression that they are weak, defenseless, and utterly vulnerable. In this pose, she represents the antithesis of power. Her arms are rested on her face in a delicate manner, suggesting femininity is defined by being “soft, delicate, innocent, demure, shy, and simple.”

The Original Taylor Swift “Blank Space” Video

“Although her intentions may have been light-hearted and aimed for comedic laughs, the actual implications of this video on young viewers contribute to unhealthy perceptions of relationships and breakups.”

The Revised Taylor Swift “Blank Space” Video

“Our portrayal of Taylor allows her to move on in a healthy manner because she is respecting Ben, there is no destruction of property, and she is taking care of her mental/physical/emotional health. We acknowledge that breakups will be painful and difficult to deal with; however, we reinforce a healthy breakup by allowing Taylor to express her feelings in a journal, engage in hobbies, and spend time with her friends.”

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