Taylor Swift is more famous that Lady Gaga or Katy Perry or Miley Cyrus (note Beyoncé is not in that list). So argues New York magazine's Jody Rosen, in this week's cover story on the pop star that paints her particular brand of ommygoshsoblessedtobedoingthis, IneverthoughtIcouldbethislucky, I'mjustalittleol'songwriterwithabigdream as "an oddball" whose fame has "no real historical precedent."
Swift tweeted and Instagrammed the piece and its cover with many exclamation points, indicating that if she read the part about her "signature Swift humble-brag" and that shock and awe face she puts on when she wins any award (of course she did), she is sticking to the act/her true personality whether people like it or not:
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 18, 2013
Perhaps it's Swift's true commitment to her own cause that's convinced Rosen, because even while seemingly insulting her, he comes across like a Taylor Swift apologist (aren't we all though?), arguing that the intensity of Swift's fame explains why she's always so surprised ("Can you blame her for being shocked?") and defending her very autobiographical love songs. There is "a sexist double standard in the policing of Swift's confessions," Rosen writes."Must we begrudge Swift her muse?"
Rosen also brings up Dodai's argument that "Taylor Swift Is a Feminist's Nightmare" with yet another question:
Still, is Taylor Swift really a "feminist's nightmare"? You could argue the opposite. Her straight-laced fashion sense and dance moves—the fact that she's never writhed across a concert stage wearing a negligee, or less—may make her more square than some other singers. But she's also less beholden to that old feminist bugbear, the Male Gaze.
To really understand what's up in the mind of Taylor, look no further than the description we get of her Nashville apartment, one of several residences she owns. This one has "twenty-foot-high windows, which wrap around a corner of the building, offering panoramic views of Nashville," Rosen writes. "If you look out those windows to the west, you can see the famous epicenter of the country-music industrial complex, the strip of song-publishing firms, recording studios, and record labels known as Music Row." Swift has decorated this apartment in a very Swiftian manner:
Her apartment, a three-bedroom corner duplex with soaring ceilings, sits more or less in the center of town, about two miles southwest of the Cumberland River, near the campus of Vanderbilt University. Swift did the interior design herself, a project she says took years to complete. It's easy to see why. The apartment is a very pleasant, very visually busy place. There is a lot of décor for the eye to absorb.
There's rustic hardwood furniture, Oriental rugs, a giant hearth where an electric fire flickers even when the temperature outside is in the high seventies. There are cabinets cluttered with books and tchotchkes; there's a kitchen backsplash in the shape of a giant heart. In a corner near a window, there's a topiary rabbit, as tall as an NBA shooting guard, wearing a marching-band hat. On the wall of her living room, I noticed a photograph in a gilded frame: the famous image of Kanye West, stage-crashing Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Underneath the picture is a caption, handwritten by Swift: Life is full of little interruptions.
Swift's ceilings are hung with all kinds of things: gathered silk, wooden birdcages, chandeliers, lanterns. Ornate railings line the apartment's second-floor balconies; it looks like a stage set for a production of Romeo and Juliet—or for the scene in the final verse of Swift's 2008 hit "Love Story." In short, it's exactly the kind of apartment you'd expect Taylor Swift to inhabit: whimsically girlie, dreamy, appointed in a style you might call Shabby-Chic Alice in Wonderland. Swift showed me one of the guest bedrooms, which holds an eye-popping cacophony of patterned wallpaper and fabrics. "I wanted, like, every color," she said.
Taylor's friends love love LOVE her; everyone from Selena Gomez and now Lorde has sung her praises as someone you want in your corner, a girl with a wicked sense of humor who is also super down to the earth. But somehow in profiles like this that doesn't come across – it still seems like Swift is acting, and depictions of her bizarre interior design choices don't do much to stop the feeling that there's a lot more weirdness to her than meets the eye. That's probably because in order to become super famous and yet convince people that you are normal, you have to be totally not normal. Like we learned from the bizarre Beyoncé "documentary," for Taylor Swift and all other mega pop stars, life is but a very real dream that only a few people will ever have.
Image via Taylor Swift/Instagram