It's not an overly ambitious statement to say Taylor Swift is probably the biggest celebrity in the world.
From her sold-out worldwide Eras tour generating over $1.1 billion in revenue to rereleasing her albums, being the first woman to win Album of the Year four times at the Grammys, dating an NFL player and announcing her new album, she's not only wildly successful but widely reported on, revered, and criticised in equal measure.
The rise, fall, and rise again of Taylor Swift is something that has been tabloid fodder for years: from her rise as a sweet, country-crooning teenager with hits like 'Teardrops On My Guitar' and 'Love Story', to her portrayal in the media as a dating aficionado who would scorn any male who crossed her path, to her beef with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, back to her rise again as one of the most prolific (and wealthiest) female performers of all time, Taylor's packed a lot into her 34 years on this earth.
But as any celebrity or high-profile person knows, with big fame and wealth, comes a lot of scrutiny. And societally, we may be at a point where we've reached peak Taylor Swift.
The danger of oversaturation
We live in a fickle society, and the prominence of social media does nothing to help this. As quickly as someone can rise through the ranks, they can be torn to shreds again.
In the last year or so Taylor Swift has dominated awards shows, touring circuits, music streaming platforms, NFL games - you name it, she's there. As well as being a talented performer, she's a great businesswoman.
And while her personal life has always been of huge interest, her public displays of affection with her partner, NFL player Travis Kelce, have captivated people worldwide, particularly after she kept her previous relationship with actor Joe Alwyn under wraps.
Now that she's talked about and reported on in the music, celebrity, and sporting areas, it's hard to feel like we're getting a "break" from Taylor Swift. There is danger she's at the point of oversaturation, which isn't something she can actually control herself — for as long as media and social media, and fans and haters alike, analyse her every move, it could also be argued that the woman can't catch a break regardless of what she does.
The tide may be turning, but does Taylor Swift deserve to take the brunt of the fall?
The 2024 Grammys was peak Taylor fever. From the camera constantly panning to her, to her announcing her new album and winning Album of the Year, slowly but surely, the commentary around her success began to change.
People became louder: calling her out for announcing her new album to a roomful of industry peers as though they were fans, criticising Taylor for "dragging" Lana Del Ray on stage with her to accept Album of the Year (an award Lana was also nominated for), and stating that Taylor "snubbed" Celine Dion when accepting the award. Suddenly, instead of being celebrated for a huge achievement, the negative voices started to gain prominence again on TikTok and other social media platforms.
Taylor's cleverly marketed and fairly untarnished 'golden girl' PR reputation has left little room for her to put a foot wrong. Did she snub Celine accidentally or was she told not to touch her as Celine suffers from a debilitating condition called Stiff Person Syndrome? Was she trying to bring Lana on stage with her so they both could share the limelight together because Lana had worked on her album with her? Could it be argued that she announced her new album at an "industry event" because millions of fans also tune into the Grammys to watch their favourite artists? Of course, like most things in life, there are a lot of nuances.
But it could also be more strongly argued that many people are waiting for Taylor to put a foot wrong so they can once again tear her down.
Do we hate to see a woman on top?
Taylor retreated in previous years when the media scrutiny got too much, before bursting back on the scene with new music, the rereleases of her old albums, and a newfound popularity. It could be speculated she may do the same again, but should she have to just because society can't handle a woman in a position of unwavering power?
Taylor's impact has been likened to previous generationally loved artists like Elvis Presley and The Beatles. While all musicians suffer their share of scrutiny and scandal, it can't be said people told The Beatles to just keep a low profile for a few years to stop people hating on them because they achieved too much. When men are spotted chugging a beer on TV, they're often applauded. Social media users tried to say Taylor, who chugged a drink when the camera panned to her at the Super Bowl, was an "alcoholic".
Taylor Swift just chugged a beer when she was shown on the video board at the Super Bowl . pic.twitter.com/LPn55wWDBc
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) February 12, 2024
And while it's human nature to be fascinated by the lives of celebrities and their personal relationships, it also can't be said that we treat other celebrities with the same razor-sharp judgment when it comes to Taylor and her relationships.
Travis Kelce yelling at his NFL coach during the 2024 Super Bowl shouldn't actually become a Taylor Swift problem. But suddenly stories are leaking that Taylor's friends are "concerned" and social media are telling her to "run" after his sudden outburst, fearing it could have an impact on her career, something she built up long before she met him... which also deems the question, when has a famous man ever had to answer for a woman he's dating and been threatened with the fact his career may suffer for his girlfriend's actions?
Taylor Swift has already battled a lot of internalised misogyny throughout her career — but if the tide is turning on her again because people can't deal with her meteoric levels of fame, it could be argued that there's still a long way to go before famous women are seen as actual equals.
Never miss a thing. Sign up to Yahoo Lifestyle’s daily newsletter.
Or if you have a story idea, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.