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Sexist NFL Fans Cannot Stop Talking About Taylor Swift

Taylor+Swift+performing+%E2%80%9CMarjorie%E2%80%9D+
Kate McLaughlin
Taylor Swift performing “Marjorie”

The following represents the opinion of the student reporter and does not represent the views of Loyola University Maryland, the Greyhound, or Loyola University’s Department of Communication.

When Taylor Swift was 19, she wrote, “I can see you years from now in a bar, talking over a football game with that same big loud opinion,” in the lyrics for “Mean,” a song from her third studio album “Speak Now.” She even adds, “drunk and grumbling on about how I can’t sing, but all you are is mean.”

It is official friends: we can add ‘time traveler’ to the list of Swift’s many talents, because she definitely foresaw backlash from some loud, drunk, football-loving middle-aged men in her future. 

When this song was first released, I was six, wore a ballerina’s bun, was on the red team for youth soccer, and listened to Taylor Swift every day. Of those things, the only one remaining is my love for Taylor Swift; her talents have grown up with me from kindergarten through college. 

Flash forward to 2023 when Taylor Swift is dominating about every single news cycle as she smashes record after record with her “Eras Tour.” From the studio to the stage to the box office, it seemed like there was nothing Taylor could do wrong… until she decided to revisit Arrowhead Stadium in September.  

Two months after Travis Kelce, the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl-winning tight end, publicly expressed interest in Taylor, the pair got together. The couple decided to make their relationship public when she attended one of his games this fall. 

What could go wrong? In the year of Taylor Swift, something I have not-so-quietly been waiting to happen since I was a kid, she would finally be respected by those who have historically been her haters. Finally, the biggest NFL fans in the country would not laugh at her, criticize her, or say ‘there is just something about her’ that they did not like. NFL fans were about to become the biggest Swifties in the Swift-verse! It really is a girl’s world, right? 

Group of friends going to The Eras Tour at Gillette Stadium. (Breffni McLaughlin)

Wrong.

As Dr. Marianna Carlucci, the psychology chair at Loyola said, “As a society, we are not comfortable with women showing that they are taking up space.”  

Psychologically, girls are taught to act in a certain way that does not shine any sort of negative, or questionably negative, light on them.  

“When I see footage of Taylor Swift in that VIP box, she is taking up space. She is having a great time and does not have a care in the world,” Dr. Carlucci said. “That’s not what we expect of women.” 

Because she is so confidently taking up space in this male-dominated industry, she has been reduced from a global superstar literally changing the world to a ‘WAG,’ a demeaning term describing NFL players’ wives and girlfriends. When she steps into a stadium for a game, she is no longer respected for her record-shattering success—she is instead just Travis Kelce’s girlfriend. Because of this relationship, she has become a scapegoat to blame for Kelce’s mistakes on the field.  

After Kansas City lost on Christmas Day, Fox Sports host Skip Bayless said, “Feels like it’s about time to call Taylor Swift a distraction. What do you think, Patrick? Andy? How about you, Travis?” 

When the Chiefs played the Bills in a playoff game on Jan. 21, the network could not stop showing Travis’ brother Jason Kelce. He was seen drinking excessively, taking his shirt off, jumping out of the VIP box into the stands, and picking up young girls throughout the day. Jason Kelce was a total distraction to the players and the fans! It was everything the NFL has stood against this season.  

I would like to make this clear: I am not writing about how I hate Jason Kelce, because I don’t. I am writing about the hypocrisy of the fans that is rooted in deep misogyny.  

If the true reason for bashing Taylor Swift’s attendance in the NFL is because she was drawing attention away from the sport itself, which was calculated to be 0.46% of Chiefs games, then those same fans should be very upset over Jason Kelce’s behavior, right?

Instead of news coverage discussing Jason’s boisterous behavior, news outlets and social media posts were filled with people ridiculing Taylor for celebrating too much when the Chiefs had a good play, telling her to “calm down.” Meanwhile, Jason Kelce was revered for his team spirit. 

“By all accounts, Jason’s behavior was ‘out of control’, and yet so much more negative attention is put on Taylor’s drinking and cheering, likely because she is a woman. Women have to be in control,” Dr. Carlucci said. “Men do not.” 

The public’s reaction is eerily similar to just a few weeks ago when the internet was saying Taylor Swift was extremely dramatic when she took a sip of her drink after a rude comment was made during the Golden Globes. One Youtuber went as far as to say her response was “INSANE.” Let me remind you that two years ago, Will Smith assaulted Chris Rock over a joke made at The Oscars. Alexa, play “You Need to Calm Down” by Taylor Swift. 

Why is it so easy to hate Taylor Swift? Why is there a target on her back at every sporting event she attends? Especially considering how much she has bolstered the attendance, viewership, and sales of the NFL, you would think everyone would be happy to see her. 

The games in which Taylor attends have the highest viewership of the season and the NFL is finally seeing a major increase in female viewership after countless failed attempts that missed the mark entirely. Taylor Swift is good for the NFL. Many are just being challenged, because how could a woman possibly help in a male-dominated space? 

Katherine Shannon ‘26 said, “She’s getting fans, especially female fans, more involved in sports and considering things they might not have before.”  

I don’t know which hurts more: when people make these sexist comments, or when people cannot realize that this trend is sexist. In the past year, I believed that women were finally being understood, that every day would be like Barbie land, but I have depressingly come to realize this is not the case.  

It’s ok, though, Taylor! Remember what you said: all they’re ever going to be is mean, and you’re Taylor-freaking-Swift. 

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    Tara FazioFeb 3, 2024 at 1:43 pm

    This article is so well written and so spot-on!!

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