Finding Inclusivity with Taylor Swift

Finding Inclusivity with Taylor Swift

Hey, y’all – Dr. Erin here with my thoughts on inclusivity and safe spaces with Taylor Swift:

“So, does this mean you’re a Swiftie now?”

I’ve been asked this question a lot since Kristen and I went to see Taylor Swift earlier this Summer. While we are devoted fans, we would never use that moniker. This is because we haven’t earned it at the level of the 70K other humans we saw that gig with. That day we were very much besties more than business partners. But, it might surprise you how much we end up talking about that experience in our work lives as well. 

One of the things Kristen and I teach about all the time is the importance of creating safe, authentically inclusive spaces. Usually, we’re talking about workplaces, office cultures, etc. But we’ll both be the first to tell you the that the 5 hours we spent in that stadium was one of the safest and most inclusive spaces we’ve ever been. 

First, how did she create a safe space? 

We both turn 40 this year. We’ve had too many experiences to count where we have felt unsafe, harassed, or assaulted because we were women. From crowded bars, to concert halls, we are never not aware of the potential threats we face. I’ve been uncomfortable, and been harassed at concerts before, but I will always remember how on that day, with 70K+ other people, I never gave it a second thought. 

Taylor has had many battles against the patriarchy, misogyny, and harassment in her career, on a level Kristen and I could never understand. And so she creates spaces for her fans to feel safe. Am I naive enough to think that no one is harassed or abused at her concerts? Of course not, I live in the real world. But the mere fact that I entertained the possibility, gave me so much hope.

The friendship bracelets we made and traded throughout the day!

Second, how does she build inclusivity?

Through her music (watch the “You Need To Calm Down” video for starters), her activism, and her acceptance of people. In a society, that has (and still does) make fun of her, shame her, judge her, she has always accepted her fans because they have always accepted her. I saw boys covered in glitter and girls in mini-skirts. There were Queer and gender fluid humans dressed up and screaming lyrics everywhere I looked. I traded friendship bracelets with a group of Moms and a group of pre-teens. Every single person in that stadium was allowed to show up exactly as they wanted, and accepted and valued, for it.

It was a wonderful feeling. A feeling I will take with me always, especially into places where I don’t feel safe or included. 

I know Kristen and I will use this experience as a learning example, both in our professional and personal lives. 

And we will continue to build those spaces for others, too.


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