Why we must harness Taylor Swift’s energy to empower young women

Writing for The Age Strathcona Girls Grammar Principal, Lorna Beegan discusses why we must harness Taylor Swift’s energy to empower young women.

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Writing for The Age Strathcona Girls Grammar Principal, Lorna Beegan discusses why we must harness Taylor Swift’s energy to empower young women.

As the media juggernaut and unbridled public celebration of a woman arguably at the top of her career roll out of town, the cultural phenomenon of Taylor Swift will be felt for many years to come. Whether you’re a devoted Swiftie or not, it’s impossible to ignore the effervescent wave of sequins and tulle that permeated every aspect of Australian media, led by Swift.

Over many years of educating girls, I’ve seen firsthand that young women are an unstoppable force when given the suitable space and opportunities to stretch, challenge, and discover themselves.

We all have the potential to embrace our inner Taylor Swift and do something extraordinary. Girls are inherently creative and powerful; they have big ideas, hopes, ambitions, and plans.

Central to Swift’s appeal are authenticity, kindness, and vulnerability, endearing her to millions worldwide and demonstrating that these are qualities upon which to build a career.

Moreover, Swift’s refusal to be confined by genre or expectations reminds young people that constantly innovating and being unafraid to challenge conventions or redefine their purpose are qualities to relish, not diminish. Most notably, Swift’s unabashed embrace of her success is a compelling example of the importance of owning one’s achievements without apology.

The Eras Tour has given us a moment to revel in the joy, resilience, connectivity, and boundless potential of girlhood and sisterhood, but it has also offered the opportunity to examine what record-breaking success looks like on a woman.

Undeniably, all young women deserve an environment where courting ambition, playing with femininity, and exploring personal authenticity are encouraged.

Taylor Swift has shown that power and influence look different on a woman. It looks feminine, it looks confident, it looks unashamed, and it’s good-humoured. She’s shown that despite the hardships girls might face as we slowly tip the scales towards gender equality – and as Swift’s lyrics put it, are oftentimes left “wondering if they’d get there quicker” if they were a man – they can’t let this hold them back.

For many young people, Taylor Swift encapsulates friendship, the importance of a support network, and the requirement for you to be a support network for others. A bridge must be built from both sides.

Taylor Swift is still friends with Abigail Anderson, who she mentions in her song Fifteen, which she wrote when she was Fifteen: “You sit in class next to a redhead named Abigail … And soon enough you’re best friends”. Swift is proof that we work better together – when women support other women, they are unstoppable. When we support others, we are sustained, encouraged, and empowered.

Now that Swift has moved onto the next town our challenge as educators is to sustain and harness the power she inspired in people, especially our young women, during her time in Australia.

We must encourage the sequin-studded, friendship-braceleted inclusive camaraderie that has been on display among our young (and older) citizens and channel this infectious energy into helping women, especially, find their individual versions of achievement to be collectively celebrated.

Lorna Beegan is the principal at Strathcona Girls Grammar.

You can read the full article here: www.theage.com.au/business/workplace/why-we-must-harness-taylor-swift-s-energy-to-empower-young-women-20240307-p5famo.html