You Can’t Criticize Taylor Swift’s Feminism & Dismiss Her Sexual Assault Trial

As someone who’s been accused on more than one occasion of championing faux feminism and playing into opportunistic victimhood, Taylor Swift can be particularly difficult to root for. She rarely takes a firm stance on political or social issues, and when she does, she’s been chastised for doing so only to seemingly advance her brand. Celebrities, of course, aren’t required to make cultural statements — they’re entertainers, first and foremost — but at a time when the country often feels fractured, fans have increasingly relied on stars as guideposts, and Swift has decidedly opted out of that conversation. Notably, she didn’t attend the Women’s March, and declined to publicize her vote in the 2016 presidential election, though she did benefit from seemingly feminist messages while promoting her album, 1989. But despite all this, there are times when human decency should transcend public opinion, and shutting out Swift at her most vulnerable leans into the very feminist criticism she provokes.

Earlier this week, the trial for Swift’s countersuit against David Mueller began in Denver, Colorado. She alleges the former radio DJ groped her while they were taking a photo during a meet-and-greet in June 2013. He denies her claims and seeks $3 million in damages, alleging that her accusations got him fired. The details of the case have been well-publicized, and though concerning, they aren’t surprising: It’s one in a line of high-profile sexual assault trials that have hit Hollywood in recent years.

What is surprising, though, is the lack of public support that’s followed Swift thus far. During Kesha’s case against Dr. Luke last year, the outpouring of encouragement was palpable, and when Bill Cosby received a mistrial in June, the backlash seemed equally prevalent. But while there have been many fans (and likely, non-fans too) that have already backed Swift, the response feels strikingly imbalanced: Rather than focusing on the actual proceedings, people are crafting…

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