Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” Video Is Standard Mean Girl Behavior Dressed Up In Fancy Costumes

I feel like a sucker admitting this, but after a week of scoffing at all the hype, I actually loved Taylor Swift’s music video for “Bad Blood.” It’s so fun to watch! Led by Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar, dozens of Hollywood ladies marched into a fiery futuristic battle against some mysterious enemy, showing the world just how much power Taylor has behind her. In real life though, it’s not a secret to any of us that Taylor’s true enemy #1 (and subject of this video) is Katy Perry, hated for allegedly attempting to snatch Taylor’s backup dancers on a previous arena tour. It’s the kind of betrayal plenty of people would be pissed about for a long time, wondering how the hell they could be so wrong about someone they considered a friend. Not cool, Katy Perry. But you know what else isn’t cool? Taylor’s decision to assemble every famous hot shit BFF she could possibly find for this video to send a message loud and clear — that this is WAR now, that Katy has no friends left in Hollywood because Taylor stole them all away. To quote Taylor Swift herself, WHY YOU GOTTA BE SO MEAN?

I’d let it pass if this were the first time, but Taylor’s done this before. Shall we remind ourselves of “Better Than Revenge,” the alleged character assassination ditty against Camilla Belle? That very catchy tune was reportedly written about Camilla after she “stole” Joe Jonas from Taylor (no word on whether Joe, who is equally to blame if not more so for callously dumping his girlfriend for another chick, received the same level of scrutiny). The “Better Than Revenge” lyrics reminded us that Camilla’s “not what you think, she’s an actress / she’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress,” and that “no amount of vintage dresses” give her dignity. Because I guess if you play dirty in crossing a friend, that gives her permission play dirty right back and call you a big fat slut to anyone who will listen since she’s the “victim.”

I mean, the song is clever! It’s entertaining! But for someone like Taylor, who’s trying to claim moral high ground and take on the victim role in not one but two public feuds, it’s extremely hypocritical. Biggest eye-roll moment? The lyric that implies Camilla’s game is all about “pushing people down to get you where you want to go,” which is exactly what Taylor is doing in both songs! Girl, no. Camilla and Katy dared reckon with the massive global institution that is Taylor, and she in turn made millions off each situation, using it as a chance to publicly clap back even more viciously and get away with it. Really, both Katy and Camilla did her a huge PR favor, because stabbing Taylor Swift in the back and giving her reason to play victim simply serves to bolster her own image as the saintly BFF-to-all, which is how the public loves to see her.

In theory, I like Taylor Swift. I even have some mushy, semi-embarrassing stories about how much I once adored Taylor Swift, which I will save for another day, but the point is that it’s time to call a spade a spade, even when the perpetrator is an ultra-likeable megastar. Don’t we all have that acquaintance or friend in real life who is always a blameless victim, yet is inexplicably caught up in “drama” 24/7 with “haters” who wronged her? Also, what the fuck does she even want from Katy Perry at this point? “Bad Blood” has a particularly ominous lyric, “you say sorry just for show.” For one thing, this makes Katy out to be a bad guy no matter what she says, leaving her zero chance to defend or even redeem herself, but more confusing is that it reveals Taylor doesn’t give a shit what Katy has to say for herself at this point. So why is she still picking on her!?

Taylor has made it clear that nothing Katy does will ever be enough to revive their friendship, so what else is there to say? If this were a real-life argument, this is the point where most of us would choose to opt out, because the conversation has now been warped by emotional manipulation, which, no thank you. Does this remind anyone else of “Mean Girls” and Cady Heron’s incessant need to “innocently” ruin Regina George’s life long after she’s avenged the wrongs Regina actually did to her?

FAMILIAR, NO?

Betrayal sucks, whether it’s coming from a “normal” or a multi-millionaire celebrity, and I don’t blame Taylor for being hurt. I’m not saying Katy and Camilla are innocent. Her lyrics about these two sound like the exact words I’d say to close friends about some bitch who crossed me — behind closed doors, in my real, everyday life. But this isn’t everyday life, it’s a pop music machine that is filtered into the ears of the teenage fans who hang on Taylor’s every word. Celebrities have no moral obligation to anything, but Taylor has mentioned repeatedly that she takes her young following seriously and strives to be a role model. So, if she allegedly cares so damn much, why is she teaching pre-teen girls that it’s totally fine to be a huge bully to some chick you dislike so long as you patiently wait for her to cross you first? Better yet, if we have such a burning desire to get a jab in at someone, why don’t we just acknowledge that not everyone has to like each other and be honest about that instead of hiding behind some bullshit victim complex? Or, as we learned in kindergarten, why don’t we just say, “when my ex-BFF stole my backup dancers, I felt ___,” and go from there? That still leaves plenty of room to publicly trash her, but with the integrity Taylor claims to care so much about!

A person crossing you one time, even after many years of fulfilling friendship, is plenty of reason to end that friendship, but it does not give you carte blanche to act like an even bigger asshole. It may give you moral high ground in that singular tiff, but it doesn’t suddenly turn the situation into the saint vs. the conniving demon bitch, because that is not how life works, and if you were truly friends with your betrayer at any point, one would hope you’d be able to honor that fact when cutting ties with them. Life has grey areas and people hurt each other, and that doesn’t make it okay, but it’s a reality we all have to find a way to work around without taking on a “fuck this stupid world, I’m perfect” attitude. People who default to that world view in a disagreement are the kinds of people we learn to avoid like the plague as we get older, because they are impossible to carry on friendships or even basic conversations with. People who always need to be the blameless saint, who always have to be right in every argument, are toxic little leeches, and honestly, the way a person reacts to a betrayal says often more about their character than their enemy’s.

Taylor can treat people however she wants, but if she’s going to be a hypocrite, she needs to be prepared to be called out for it. I don’t blame her one bit for not being over the backstabbing on an emotional level, because I’d feel the same way. But it’s time to grow up and drop it from her public rhetoric. What’s that saying I read in her pre-teen fans’ favorite, American Girl, in like 1998? Oh yeah: “if you hold the match too long, you’re the one who ends up getting burned.”

If Taylor were my BFF (LOL) and another girl hurt her, I would tell her to give ‘em hell – but I’d tell her to do that away from the public stage. I am all about fighting fire with fire if a situation truly calls for it – but again, that is in real life. Not Public Pop Star Life. And if Taylor’s going to publicly bully the shit out of other women, that’s her prerogative, but when she inevitably is forced to take what she dishes out, she’d better be prepared to not go whining about being an “innocent victim,” because she’s cried wolf with that line enough times already.

[Just Jared]