Opinion

Celebrities Don’t Have To Reveal Political Preference

Photo courtesy of Eva RinaldiTaylor Swift, pictured performing on her Speak Now Tour, has been criticized for failing to vocalize her political stances.

The public regularly witness celebrities speaking out for a cause that they believe in, whether through writing a post on social media or making speeches at public events. They speak up and advocate for things that are important to them, such as supporting a charity, raising awareness for human rights or sharing their thoughts on current political events.

But not all celebrities feel the need to express their political opinion. Recently, Taylor Swift has been criticized for her lack of a political opinion — or rather, a lack of sharing it publicly. Swift hasn’t spoken out to endorse a candidate, taken a stance on current events or gotten involved in politics in any way, and people are not happy.

The criticism started around the time of the 2016 election when she, unlike other celebrities, did not publicly declare her vote for Hillary Clinton. Her only contribution to the world of politics at this time was a photo on Instagram of herself at the voting booth captioned, “Today is the day. Go out and VOTE.”

Her unwillingness to publicly support a candidate or just speak out about politics initiated a wave of judgement. Media like The New York Daily News and other critics suggested that her silence meant she voted for Donald Trump. In an interview with Vogue, actress Lola Kirke said she thought there were a lot of celebrities who could “offer more help to grassroots movements with their power — and don’t,” calling out Swift in particular.

But why is she being criticized? Why is it important for us to know whether or not Swift voted for Trump or Clinton? Knowing this won’t actively benefit anyone, yet people still scroll through Twitter in hopes of seeing Swift take a stance for or against a political figure.

And this curiosity doesn’t stop at famous figures. In general, members of a society often want to know what its other members are thinking, and particularly what they think about politics, so much that no one can go without asking for an acquaintance’s opinion on Trump’s policies. And if that opinion happens to differ from their own, well, now that acquaintance will be in for quite the debate.

Why should the political opinion of those who one barely knows — or that one doesn’t know at all and probably never will — matter to us so much?

Well, to put it simply, it shouldn’t.

Just because Swift chooses not to become vocal about her political stances doesn’t make her a bad person. I support Swift in her decision to keep her political thoughts to herself. Encouraging people to vote is one thing, but forcing voter transparency is another. Maybe she did vote for Trump, but either way, she will not say. Perhaps the public should be glad she is one of the few celebrities out there who is choosing to keep quiet and not sway her fans’ opinions one way or another.

The general public needs to stop caring about other’s political opinions because the simple act of knowing doesn’t change anything. The importance of an opinion does not lie in knowing who you or your friend, or the singer you love, voted for. Rather, opinions can and should be shared when it comes to trying to make a change based on something you believe in.

Don’t worry about what other people think, especially their political agendas. Instead, talk with others, reach out to representatives and help shape the way your community operates, because you can use your own thoughts and opinions to change the world, if you so choose.

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2 thoughts on “Celebrities Don’t Have To Reveal Political Preference”

  1. I don’t think that the criticism was founded on the idea that celebrities owe their audience an explanation of their political beliefs. I think that a lot of the anger towards Taylor Swift is more centered around the fact that she spent a year or so building up her brand as fundamentally feminist. Her girl squad made up of her famous friends was a huge point of marketing when releasing the 1989 album. Taylor rebranded herself as the girl next door, who is just like you. That isn’t inherently an issue, many popstars are branded this way, its a good way to sell. The issue lies in her advertising herself as a girl power feminist and then staying silent when it comes to politics. Women’s rights are a fundamentally political issue. If she wants to use her platform to promote feminism and equal rights, people want to see that she is willing to back that up when it comes time to take political action. People don’t have an issue with a lack of transparency, they have an issue with hypocrites.

    1. She was asked about feminism in a handful of interviews in which she talked about being a feminist. That’s it. 1989 was never labeled or marketed as a “feminist” album. She didn’t put it on t-shirts. The songs were not overtly feminist. The idea that Taylor Swift ever packaged and sold feminism as some sort of commodity is both degrading to her work and totally false.

      And her girl squad? Please. That wasn’t created by her. It was media, fans and the general public who labeled her friends and her as a “squad”. If that was a strategic “marketing stunt” there’s no evidence to support it.

      There are a few problems with targeting Taylor Swift for her quiet attitude towards politics. 1. People have a strong aversion nowadays to celebs in politics. Beyonce, Katy, Jay-Z Miley, etc tried to campaign for Hillary. Now many of them are suffering in album sales…not to mention Hillary didn’t win.

      2. She has every right to not want to influence her fans. God knows it’s hard to go anywhere without hearing about politics nowadays.

      3. As an intersectional feminist, I realize that we should be listening to the voices of LGBTQIA+, black, latino and other marginalized groups and stop waiting to hear every damn political opinion of a white, female and cisgender singer.

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