Power Moves

Taylor Swift & Stella McCartney collaboration
As leaders in their industries, Taylor Swift and Stella McCartney combined their talents with the power move of a fashion collaboration in 2019. Image via The Hollywood Reporter. 

For generations, women have worked hard to lay the foundation for life as we know it today. They fought for the right to vote, drive cars, get an education and take on powerful roles in the workplace. 

However, even as the year 2020 kicks off, gender inequality still exists. American women earn $0.79 to every man’s $1 according to CNBC. But the issue is not just in the numbers and paychecks, it’s often in our words and mindsets. 

Taylor Swift takes on the topic in her song, “The Man.” In it, she imagines how she would be treated and what people would say about her if she was a man instead of a woman.

“They’d say I hustled
Put in the work
They wouldn’t shake their heads 
and question how much of this I deserve” 

Taylor Swift AMA Performance 2019
Taylor Swift wore a symbolic white collared shirt at the November 2019 AMA performance to help make a statement. Image via The Boot

When Taylor took to the AMA stage in 2019, she donned a menswear white collared shirt with her older album names printed across the fabric. As she began singing "The Man," a fist punch to her side resulted in the sound of a glass shattering. Here was the artist of the decade taking on the male music industry executives (hence the white collared shirt), refusing to silence her message as she took one more step to break the glass ceiling for herself and the next generation (represented by the young girls sharing the stage during the medley's opening). 

Would it have been a different conversation leading up to the AMAs about Taylor owning the rights to her music had she been a man?   

Taylor has become one of the biggest music influencers of all time, bringing to life stories of loss, love and friendship. Her reach spans across the domains of music, fashion and art. Despite criticism or hindrances from giants of the music industry or the public, she has proven the power of voicing what she believes in while continuing to move forward.

Taylor Swift pastel power suite Me! music video
Pastel power suits took center stage in Taylor's 2019 "Me!" music video. 

When we learn that people are judging women or contributing to the pay gap, how often are other women the culprits of these issues? With culture and the stereotypes that still exist conditioning our mindsets, it’s sometimes easy to fall into the trap of making a snide comment, questioning another women’s motives, avoiding pay transparency or finding ways to undermine another woman’s success.

“What I was wearing, if I was rude
Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves”

Whether it’s at school, on the job or at book club, how can we find ways to build each other up? How can we use our voices and build a collective voice to fuel change and empower one another? 

Taylor Swift pastel power suite Me! music video
Taylor sings in a yellow power suit with a pink tie in this still image from her 2019 "Me!" music video. Though the power suit is softened with the pastel shades, its impact as the attire for power moves is not diminished.  

There is still work to be done for true gender and pay equality. We cannot afford to allow barriers of judgment from differences, misunderstandings or stereotypes separate us from one another and the commonalities we share as women. 

“I’d be a fearless leader
I’d be an alpha type
When everyone believes ya
What’s that like?”