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Taylor vs. Kim is not Woman vs. Woman

So hello! Last night Kim Kardashian led us to her filing system and finally pulled out the receipts.

After she’d told GQ about Taylor Swift having approved “Famous” way back when, Kim took to Snapchat and posted the conversation Taylor had with Kanye about the song. Read the full transcript here.

Now granted, Taylor did not approve “I made that bitch famous,” which she then outlined on Notes. (FYI: never lay anything out on Notes. That’s the app I use to keep track of the invoices I need paid and the half-tweets I’m too lazy to save to drafts.) And also in Notes, she claimed she wanted to distance herself from the narrative (and has wanted to for the last seven years) and that Kim/Kanye/etc were policing her feelings.

And to that I say: sure. Okay, fine. I’m not about to tell anybody how they should feel. But I am going to call bullshit on this: the narrative. This is not Hamilton. This is not Eliza erasing herself following Alexander’s infidelities. This is about a grown woman who knows how to play the game just as well as the couple she’s accusing of doing the same. Taylor Swift is not stupid. She is very, very smart. And being very, very smart, she has inserted herself over and over into the Kanye story, whether it be via songs or via interviews or presenting him with the award he got that led to him announcing his presidential bid. Taylor hasn’t just been part of his narrative, she’s embraced it. And while that incident in 2009 was a buzzkill I’m sure, she parlayed it into a stronger career.

So okay, no — she did not approve “I made that bitch famous” but . . . well you guys read the transcript. I am not about to turn to Kim and say, “HOW DARE YOU.”

No. But I will say that to  Taylor and to anyone else who’s used this situation as an extension of the “sisterhood” rhetoric. Mainly because feminism does not mean we are all friends, and as a woman I feel inclined to dislike anybody I choose, regardless of gender.

And that’s what this whole thing is starting to boil down to. Apparently, we are all jealous of Taylor Swift. We are all contributing to the media pitting two women against we each other. We are all here to watch another woman fall. But no. I am not jealous of Taylor Swift. Her life seems overwhelming, and I would rather write and make people laugh and not be photographed daily than pose on a shit-ton of rocks with an actor unhinged enough to wear my initials on a tank top. And no, we are not here to watch another woman fall — we are here to watch an artist answer for actions she’s been denying for the better half of a decade. We’re here because, as my friend Devon S. Maloney tweeted yesterday, we all know or have known a Taylor. And watching the current circumstances unfold feels like retribution. Our gut feelings told us something. And now we’re watching shit get handled.

Because that’s what this is: this isn’t woman vs. woman, this is a person being held accountable for the shit they did/did not do. This is that scene in all movies where somebody says “you’re fucked” and the other party has to either dance or deny. This isn’t an anti-woman witch hunt. This is some shit going down. And I feel actually offended — as a woman — that I’m presumed to be so weak that I need to cling to the concept of sisterhood so much that I wouldn’t be willing to confront or call out somebody I didn’t particularly care for. I’m sorry, but being a feminist doesn’t mean I have to like every woman. I don’t. First, because that’s impossible, and two, because I never signed on to live in a Babysitter’s Club story. (Where they never always got along either.) My gender — and Kim’s and Taylor’s — does not dictate who gets to live in my world. To water down feminism into a made-for-TV-Hallmark film is a disservice not just to women now, but a straight-up assault on what feminism actually is. Feminism is hard, and tiring, and a gateway to feeling bummed out for a very long time until you realize “Fuck this, let’s get some shit done.” It is not standing on a red carpet looking cute when it’s convenient.

So no, Kim showing us all the receipts is not about the media pitting women against each other or making us hate another woman more. It’s about someone saying “Here’s what happened” and another person opting out of just addressing the situation like an adult. And how dare anyone assume either woman is so weak that they need to hide behind some feminist shield to deflect the attention coming their way. How dare we accuse the media of “spinning” this when Kim laid out some truths and Taylor retaliated via app. And how dare I be told that I am not a true feminist/sister/whatever-the-fuck for disliking a multi-millionaire because her brand of feminism hinges on making it suit her under a Valencia filter. That is not what feminism is. And to define it is a synonym for sister-friends is as offensive as it is embarrassing.

So let’s be up front about what this all is: a brilliant power play most of us would buy the film rights to. This is not Kim crusading against women. This is not about us crusading against women. (Remember how much we talked about Drake vs. Meek Mill last year?) This is about us watching two PR professionals do what they do best: perform. Because if you don’t think T-Swift’s been performing since that fateful night in 2009, you must’ve been watching a different game.

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