Taylor Swift and Katy Perry were famously feuding for the better part of the 2010s, encouraged every day by our society to continue doling out hatred for one another.
Once upon a time, way back in 2013, there were rumblings of an issue between pop queens Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, who’d been friends for the past couple of years. Then in 2014, the two launched into a full-on feud as Taylor Swift released her song, “Bad Blood” (a diss track rumored to be about Perry), and Katy sent out a cryptic tweet that seemingly compared Swift to Regina George (à la Mean Girls).
And from that moment on, the world was obsessed with this feud. For the next five years, we picked a side and cheered our pop star on as the two relentlessly attacked one another’s character and motives. We’d take out the popcorn and get ready for an insult match worthy of Wimbledon stadium anytime one girl tweeted a veiled put-down of the other. For many, their hatred of one another was exhilarating - we wished we could all make music videos using our enemy’s likeness for millions of fans to see.
Finally, after all these years, it seems Swift and Perry have been able to move past their differences - especially after Perry sent Swift a literal olive branch in 2018 to symbolize her willingness to bury the hatchet. A year after that, Perry appeared in Swift’s music video, with Perry dressed as a burger and Swift as fries, solidifying their redeemed friendship.
We Definitely Egged Them On
We’ve all heard the stereotype that successful women in similar fields hate one another - picking on any perceived flaws and cursing any achievement our nemesis finds before we do. Unfortunately, stereotypes exist for a reason: there’s normally some amount of truth to them, twisted as they may have become. Women are regularly encouraged to be cut-throat in their pursuit of accomplished careers. We’re convinced that there’s not enough room for more than one woman in our particular niche. We’re engulfed in our worries of becoming obsolete as we age, being traded in for a newer model.
For a few years, a huge reason for their success was their deep-rooted hatred for one another - it’s obvious that women-in-conflict sells.
Perry and Swift are no different from any of us. Their feud started when three backup dancers suddenly left Swift’s tour for Perry’s, supposedly being scooped up by Perry in an effort to sabotage Swift. Who knows what really happened - but we immediately interpreted it as an attack on Swift, emboldening their feud with hundreds of thousands of retweets and diss track sales. For a few years, a huge reason for their success was their deep-rooted hatred for one another - it’s obvious that women-in-conflict sells. A quick look at any Housewives installment is proof enough. We eat up every dig and keep asking for more.
Forgiveness: What None of Us Thought Possible
How many of us actually wanted Taylor and Katy to make up? Probably not many. Fans were content watching the drama unfold from afar because our culture isn’t really big on forgiveness. Sure, we throw the word around and mumble “forgive and forget,” but our enthusiasm for bad blood, encouragement of rivalry, and immediate disgust with anyone whose opinions differ from our own is a symptom of an underlying issue: we think it’s more effective to fight than to forgive.
Perry sent Swift a literal olive branch in 2018 to symbolize her willingness to bury the hatchet.
Perry’s decision to hang a white flag above her door would be uncomfortable territory for the grand majority of us; we all want to be winners, and consider it weak to surrender a grudge. And truthfully, forgiveness is really hard sometimes and doesn’t always feel fair. We can’t be sure of what motivated Perry to soften her hard feelings, but I believe it fair to call it powerful nonetheless.
When Perry had hundreds of thousands of fans backing up her every attack and millions in profits to make from another collab with whichever musical artist was at odds with Swift that year, she did neither - and instead took the road that many wouldn’t have taken. And as for Swift, she had all the power at that moment. It would’ve been easy enough to ignore Perry’s reaching out, but instead Swift readily welcomed Perry’s invitation to make up.
In the year since Perry made a cameo in Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down” music video, not much about their relationship has appeared in the headlines - until this past week. In a recent interview with Stellar, Katy Perry opened up about the nature of their relationship these days, explaining that while they “don’t have a very close relationship,” due to hectic schedules, they do “text a lot.”
There’s a stereotype that follows women around: we’re catty, we talk behind each other’s backs, and we're ready to sabotage one another at the drop of a hat. We’ve seen examples of this in Mean Girls and basically every reality TV show there is. But if we as women want to be taken seriously, and have our words and actions matter, we must find unity, sisterhood, and harmony - and move past any tendencies or stereotypes holding us back from achieving this.