Business Insider Edition

Taylor Swift just made a bold admission, and it's an unfortunate lesson for every woman who wants to be successful

Alyson Shontell , Business Insider US
 Aug 09, 2019, 09:23 AM
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  • Taylor Swift admitted in an interview with Vogue that she didn't see sexism in her career when she was first getting started.
  • Once she became ultra-successful, she saw it frequently.
  • Unfortunately, that's the norm for lots of successful women. The gender pay gap gets bigger at the top. Expectations for women in leadership are different. Melinda Gates predicts it will take another 208 years before women are fully considered equal.
  • "It's fine to infantilise a girl's success," Swift said. "But the second it becomes formidable? That wasn't cool anymore."
  • For more stories, go to www.businessinsider.co.za.

Taylor Swift made a bold admission in a recent Vogue interview. When she started her career, she was blind to sexism.

But as she became more successful, she began to see it everywhere.

This is not unique to one of the world's most successful singers. For many women in business, the higher you climb, the more you see.

The more successful you become, the more you realise that most women aren't able to make it to the top - not for lack of trying - and a lot of people like it that way.

That the system you thought supported you may only actually support you up to a point.

That the gender pay gap is real, and it only gets bigger.

That expectations for women in leadership are different.

And it could take 208 more years for women to be considered equal.

For Swift, this realization happened once she wrote songs that filled stadiums.

"It's fine to infantilise a girl's success and say, "How cute that she's having some hit songs," Swift said.

"But the second it becomes formidable? As soon as I started playing stadiums - when I started to look like a woman - that wasn't cool anymore."

I ask Swift if she had always been aware of sexism. "I think about this a lot," she says. "When I was a teenager, I would hear people talk about sexism in the music industry, and I'd be like, I don't see it. I don't understand. Then I realised that was because I was a kid. Men in the industry saw me as a kid. I was a lanky, scrawny, overexcited young girl who reminded them more of their little niece or their daughter than a successful woman in business or a colleague. The second I became a woman, in people's perception, was when I started seeing it.

"It's fine to infantilise a girl's success and say, How cute that she's having some hit songs," she goes on. "How cute that she's writing songs. But the second it becomes formidable? As soon as I started playing stadiums-when I started to look like a woman-that wasn't as cool anymore. It was when I started to have songs from Red come out and cross over, like 'I Knew You Were Trouble' and 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.' "

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