I Wonder What It’s Like to Grow Up With Taylor Swift

I Wonder What It’s Like to Grow Up With Taylor Swift

I wonder what it’s like to grow up in a world with Taylor Swift as an already established, powerhouse of a woman. Taylor Swift is only two years my senior, so in a sense, I did grow up with her; but no one knew her name until we were in our late teens. And even then, she didn’t have the notoriety nor the respect she commands now.

She was just a little girl back then with her guitar and curly hair, singing about Tim McGraw and ex-boyfriends, dancing around in her cowgirl boots. Absolutely adorable. I admired every lyric she wrote, every outfit she put together, and the dramatics of each of her performances. It was so cool to see someone practically my own age making it big just by writing about her own life!

We know Taylor Swift as a fellow millennial. An incredible woman who climbed her way to the top break-up song after break-up song, ignoring every critic who attempted to drag her name through the mud. We know Taylor as a forward-thinking, risk-taking artist who expands across multiple genres and explores love, family, miscarriages, and death through her art. We know her as another woman trying to make her way in this world unapologetically, and we can relate to that.

To my three daughters, T.S. in cowgirl boots and flowing ringlets is unfamiliar. They know Taylor as a pop icon and queen–a far cry from her country music days.

But as I was tidying up the kitchen this weekend, I heard my seven-year-old daughter singing to herself at the table. Her headphones were on while she colored, her little head nodding along to the beat.

“…I’d be a fearless leader/ I’d be an alpha type/ when everyone believes ya/ what’s that like?/I’m so sick of running as fast as I can/ wonder if I’d get there quicker if I was a man?/ and I’m so sick of them coming at me again/ ’cause if I was a man, then I’d be the man…” 

She sang along, knowing nearly all of the words, and I welled with emotions I had trouble identifying. I knew the loudest emotion was pride — I felt so proud of her, listening to her little voice sing about the b.s. treatment of women compared to men.

I also felt angry. So angry at the guaranteed misogyny she and her sisters will one day face because they aren’t men. Devastated at the possibilities of what form that misogyny may take, and crushed by the knowing that there’s nothing I can do to protect them from it.

However, I realized something: I wasn’t aware of nor was I singing about the unfair treatment of my sex and my gender at seven-years-old and younger. You could say I was blissfully unaware and children should remain as such, but truth be told, I was always aware of it.

Boys were allowed to chase me and pull my hair in the name of liking me. Boys were allowed to call me names and be mean to me, because that’s how little boys are when they have a crush on you. When boys are around, I had to be sure my clothes were modest; otherwise, I couldn’t be angry when they stared and commented on my body.

I could name a thousand more examples, but let’s be honest: you, reader, are most likely a woman, and you lived it, too.

So to say I was unaware as a child is simply incorrect. I didn’t need an artist like Taylor Swift to point sexism out to me, and neither do my daughters. They already come home from school with boys telling them they can’t do certain things, or that their interests are “girly” and therefore, “stupid.” And you know what? T.S. backs this momma up every time.

Our daughters will grow up knowing Taylor Swift as an international artist and billionaire.

They know her as an adult woman who is career-driven, unmarried, childless, and happy.

One day, they will know her as the woman who counter-sued a man accusing her of defamation for battery and sexual assault in the symbolic amount of $1.00 — and won.

They will know her as the woman who re-recorded her first six albums in their entirety (plus more from the vault) all because she was determined to own her own music after it was bought and sold by men without her consent.

They will know her as a woman who is generous with her time, her wealth, and her privilege — all while advocating for gender equality, LGTBQIA+, racial equality, and the like.

They will know her as a woman who takes up space loudly and fully and beautifully because she is worthy of doing so, and so are they.

Here are some real life excerpts from my daughters that have truly left me speechless, because I didn’t have this insight at their ages:

“Mom, I told *insert boy name here* there’s no such thing as toys for boys and toys for girls and that all toys are for everyone, but he won’t believe me. But it doesn’t matter what he thinks. I get to make my own choices and he can stay mad.” –G, 7.

“Mom, *insert boy name here* told me I can’t be in charge of the game at recess because I’m a girl. I told him girls are in charge of everything already.” –J, 6.

“Mommy *insert boy name here* pulled my hair and I pushed him down ‘cuz he not respecting my boundaries! I said GET OUT MY SPACE!” –B, 3.

“*Insert boy name here* told me makeup is silly because girls wear it. I told him boys wear makeup too and he told me I’m lying, so I told him boys can also wear dresses and have long hair! He said he doesn’t do those things and he’s a boy and I’m a girl so I don’t know what I’m saying. But that’s not how that works!” — J, 6.

Now, I’m not saying Taylor Swift is the singular reason my girls are so confident, but I can’t pretend she isn’t a major influence around here. So far, I’m thinking growing up with her as one of your idols has to be not just a cool thing, but a great thing.

Thank you, T.S.

I look forward to the day my daughters are old enough to scream along with you:

And you were tossin’ me the car keys/ ‘F*** the patriarchy!’/ keychain on the ground…” 


Cailin Allain
Cailin was born in Metairie, but moved to Slidell at five years old and never left! She is now raising her three daughters, Genevieve (Evie, 5, highly intelligent, brutally honest, hysterical), Josephine (Jo, 4, intuitive, brilliant, fiery), and Bernadette (Bettye, 2, smarty pants, no sense of fear, doesn’t believe in rules), with her husband, Andy (her favorite human), in Olde Towne Slidell. Cailin received her bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Political Science from LSU, and her J.D./D.C.L from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU Law. She has her own practice, Law Office of Cailin K. Allain, LLC, and is currently navigating the ins and outs of expanding her business while working from home. When she’s not working, raising babies, or dancing in the kitchen with her husband, you can find her curled up in bed with a good book/comfort movie, some chocolate, and hot tea. On the weekends, Cailin enjoys going to concerts and comedy shows with her husband and any one (or all!) of her six siblings, and hanging out with her in-laws in Bay St. Louis.


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