Taylor Swift – A Quintessential American Brand and a Symbol for Full Womanhood

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What is today’s “womanhood”? Why Taylor Swift symbolizes the fullness of womanhood? Why her American personal brand and global business brand transcend gender, age, and culture?

To watch it as a video

To listen to it as a podcast

Like many baby boomers who have a “generational lag” regarding young pop stars, I frankly had never listened toTaylor Swift’s music before I watched the movie “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” recently. I was prompted by my curiosity about why people paid so much for her sold out concerts last summer. She was Time Magazine’s 2023 Person of the Year, her second time, the first woman named twice since 1927.

For the entire 2 hours and 49 minutes, I enjoyed every minute of her concert performance and music. 

Whether she is striding proudly across the stage, or skidding like a kid, or shaking her bottom in a playful way (but always in good taste), she exudes youth, decency, freedom – a beautiful symbol of a modern American woman, inside out.  

Like an antenna, like a lightning rod, the light streaming through her does not bend, does not get obstructed, and shines brilliantly. 

Her carefully choreographed performance represented the best of the American spirit:  free, independent, intelligent, confident, hardworking, young, daring, kind, feisty, childlike, uninhibited, talented, and powerful. 

I see the best of the American spirit in her and through her.

Most impressive is that she managed to achieve so much as her own brand, standing alone.

Unlike other pop artists who have achieved similar stardom together: four members of the Beatles, four brothers in the Bee Gees, four members of ABBA, four in U2 (see how old I am?)  Taylor Swift is her own band and brand.

Taylor Swift has been striving and thriving on her own terms, with her own talent, in her private life and on stage. That’s power!

Imagine how much inner strength she mustered, how much support she actively sought from the circle of people around her, how much blood, sweat, and tears she endured, how she experienced humanity’s dark side, through lawsuits, attacks, jealousy, lies, ill will… She thrived and emerged with more inner grace, beauty, compassion, love, and artistry –  and that’s what I mean by power. She became a brighter and stronger brand through it all.

Now, what she puts out is pure energy, joy, and light, by giving the best of herself through music and art. 

So uplifting and inspiring. 

The “Taylor Swift Brand”

I can’t help comparing her to Madonna, who was also driven by ambition, talent, and pursuit of fame. Madonna was doing so at the cost of celebrating being “bad”. But Taylor Swift has differentiated her art with her own genuine good taste, poetry, and uplifting optimism, with all her genres (or “eras” as she called it) of music.  She does not need to be either “bad” or “good” to get attention. She did not try to be either. She can be genuinely girlish and powerful at the same time. She can even be seductive and sensual, but most of all, she is authentic, and always in good taste, with refinement, good values, never shying away from standing up for what she believes in.

Though I like her music, I am not a “Swiftie” or a die hard fan, perhaps due to the generational gap. (I have been an opera lover for 25 years.) Most of the Swifties are young, like her, but there is an ageless effect in watching her performing her art: it brings out the “forever young at heart” from all of us, across all generations, genders, and cultures. 

Her uplifting and feisty spirit rekindles the passion for life, at any stage of life. She literally lights up that pure joy in all of us, young and old and in between.  Like the gift of Shirley Temple during the darkest time of the Great Depression, the light from Taylor Swift is exactly what we need at a divided and chaotic time in American history today. 

What I love about Taylor Swift, more than her music, is what I see as a shining example of a powerful, authentic, and inspiring BRAND.

The Taylor Swift Brand has started the new age for women leadership and the fullness of womanhood

She represents the power of individuals, not just women, but the power of what a striving individual is, regardless of gender, age, and culture. Her art and her brand transcend her gender, her age, her culture.  That is timeless. (But PLEASE do not put her on a pedestal – you will kill it!)

Swifties may call her a “Barbie doll”, an “American Princess”, even the “Queen of Pop”… but I think the best thing about Taylor Swift is Taylor Swift, the uncopyable, multifaceted, strong and vulnerable, talented and tenacious high achiever.  Taylor Swift, being HERSELF.

Whether she wants it or not, she has become a quintessential American brand. The “Taylor Swift Brand”, a powerful personal and business star of a brand. She stands for the new era of womanhood: independence, freedom, hard work, joy, compassion, beauty inside and outside, resilience, fun, multifacetedness, entrepreneurship, community, personal power, and speaking out for values, truth, and faith.

The Taylor Swift Brand has started the new age for women leadership and the fullness of womanhood.

In Taylor Swift, I see hope for the younger generations, male and female, who will safeguard our liberty, individuality, and all our inalienable rights.

I have become more of a fan of this “Taylor Swift Brand” than a Swiftie for her upbeat and pleasantly diverse music (sometimes her music can be somewhat girlish, to my taste). 

My advice to Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift: Don’t live for others’ expectations, don’t let “perfection” weigh you down. 

Your authenticity, your audacity to stand for your values and beliefs, your courage to be yourself, your bright light shining through your warm heart and your blessed soul are your lasting power, glamor, and inspiration to all. 

Again, Taylor Swift, your true perfection is in just being yourself, the always striving but never perfect self, even when you feel melancholy, self doubt, sadness, in your music or through your life. Your imperfection is a perfectly authentic gift, so others know how to also accept, love, and uplift their own imperfect selves.

I worry that your light will be snuffed out by the dark forces in this world as you age, like what Princess Diana went through.  I pray that in the darkest time, you will always stand for something, make your voice heard (both musical and non-musical), and keep the light shining from inside to outside.  

Katherine Hepburn said this many decades ago: “Love me or hate me, I am going to shine.”

Keep shining, Taylor Swift!

May your light never be dimmed. 

May your power never be corrupted by money, hubris, and humanity’s ills. 

May you endure to the end.


© Joanne Z. Tan  All rights reserved.


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