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Monday, April 22, 2024

Why are people in their feelings when it comes to Taylor Swift dating Travis Kelce?

Perspective by Monica Hesse

From what I can tell – and if you have evidence otherwise, don’t spoil this for the rest of us – Travis Kelce seems like a nice young man.

Affable, authentic, capable of delivering a joke as well as being the good-natured butt of one, etc., etc. What he does not seem like, however, is a person who exists in the same stratosphere as Taylor Swift.

He is the Kansas City Chiefs tight end who still plays second fiddle to teammate Patrick Mahomes in television commercials for State Farm insurance. She is one of the most famous women on the planet.

And so, when news came out this week that the pair was in the “super early” stages of “quietly hanging out,” it took a little unpacking to figure out why a certain cohort was responding to this news like the Grammy-winning, richer-than-Croesus beauty was dragging their boy down.

“Taylor is turning him into a beta male,” huffed one self-described “Alpha Male” on X, which used to be Twitter.

His evidence: that Kelce had participated in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored vaccine campaign, encouraging people to get updated coronavirus boosters.

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“Is this what happens when you date Taylor Swift?” posted conservative pundit Tomi Lahren, reacting to the same ad, while another one-time fan declared: “Taylor Swift got him. She is a nasty woman.”

Kelce’s one-time fans further speculated that Swift was responsible for Kelce’s appearance in a Bud Light commercial, a beer brand under conservative fire for featuring a transgender woman in one of its ads.

“Travis Kelce is definitely going to make the transition,” speculated one fan, though it was not clear whether he meant that dating Taylor Swift would cause Kelce to transition to female, or to woke, or to – you know what, I sincerely have no idea.

Downstream of whatever Taylor and Travis have going on, we’re witnessing the uneasy beginnings of a diplomatic relationship between two different nations of American pop culture.

The viewership of an NFL game perhaps shares little overlap with the audience of the Eras.

But Swift’s fans, for the most part, approached reports of the merger with curiosity and diligent homework: “Everything Swifties need to know about Travis Kelce,” offered one Girls’ Life article, containing such helpful talking points as, “He has won the Super Bowl twice.”

There was a small amount of nobody deserves Tay Tay, but this was delivered magnanimously.

After Swift was spotted cheering in a suite at one of Kelce’s games, a Swiftie chirped on X, “It’s nice that Taylor Swift is visiting her stadiums while they turn into mojo dojo casa houses for the football season.”

But the logic from the most super-alpha-fragile-istic fringe of the football side seemed to be that Kelce – by dint of winning Super Bowls, getting paid to drink beer and dating a hottie so beloved that People magazine just dedicated an entire 90-page special edition to photos of her, so monumental that USA Today just announced it would be hiring a reporter just to cover her – was perhaps on his way to becoming an effeminate woman.

In what appears to be a coincidence, the Federalist magazine also decided to drag Swift this month, not via a series of unhinged X posts but in a long, high-minded cultural essay headlined “Taylor Swift’s popularity is a sign of societal decline.”

The Taylor Swift backlash is a heightened illustration of the tightrope many famous women find themselves walking.

She should be beautiful but not know it, have a lovely voice but not a loud opinion.

Her feelings, if she has them, should be kept to herself or left to the masses to speculate over and imbue with meaning.

She might be a worldwide influencer, but once she is in a relationship, it is she who should be influenced.

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