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Incident at Taylor Swift Concert Sparks Sexist Comments, Highlighting Persistent Victim-Blaming on Social Media

by Tia Janowski 

Two weeks ago, Taylor Swift began the UK leg of her Eras tour, in Edinburgh, where a 64-year-old man was arrested and charged with alleged voyeurism at one of her shows. 

Following the incident, the man has since been released and will appear in court at a later date. News outlets have released scarce details about what happened, yet it has led to mixed reactions on TikTok - with the majority blaming it on Swift’s outfits. 

Voyeurism is when someone gets sexual pleasure from watching, photographing or recording others in private settings without their permission. The charge suggests the man’s actions were likely targeted at Swift’s fans rather than the artist herself. 

Despite this, many people on TikTok are shaming Swift, with the comments rushing to hate on her for the man’s actions. Lack of detail about the incident has fuelled comments such as; “If she is showing it???? What do you expect” and “Uh, she shows her ass through the entire thing. What do you expect?”

These remarks unfairly target Swift for this incident, suggesting her attire justifies the man’s behaviour. 

It’s clear from these comments that people are misinterpreting the meaning of voyeurism and are instead using it as a means to flood Swift with hate. 

The remarks showed no consideration for the people involved. Whether it was Swift or an audience-member, it’s still a breach of privacy and likely traumatic. 

The tickets for the UK shows went on sale last July, with many fans waiting almost a year to experience the Eras Tour. The incident is disturbing and isn’t something people expect to happen at a show revolving around feminism and girlhood.

However, some responses to the headlines were more supportive, particularly from women angered by the victim-blaming comments. 

A recent TikTok trend asked women if they’d rather be alone in the woods with a man or a bear, with many women coming forward to say they’d choose a bear. This trend and its terminology seem to have stuck, with backlash from the sexist remarks including, “And we all say in unison THE BEAR” and “The bear and I are now hiding in a safe place.”

Female artists, including Taylor Swift, frequently face sexism and misogyny from the media and the public. 

Since her career began, Swift has long been criticised for her dating life, songwriting themes, and political silence. The response to the incident has shown misplaced blame on Swift’s attire, perpetuating the harmful narrative that women’s clothing invites unwanted attention. 

This is a battle women have fought for years, and it’s heartbreaking to see it persist. The comments also dragged other female artists into the conversation, with many mentioning Ariana Granda, Doja Cat, and Nicki Minaj for how they dress at their shows. 

One comment, “Bro chose Taylor Swift,” implies that other artists, who might wear more revealing outfits, would be more ‘suitable’ targets for voyeurism.

The response to the incident at Taylor Swift’s concert highlights the ongoing problem of victim-blaming and misogyny in our society. It is important to acknowledge and confront this harmful narrative, and to ensure that we stand by women's right to dress without facing unjust scrutiny. 

One takeaway from this situation is the importance of not letting misogynistic comments or actions detract from our enjoyment and self-expression. Women should feel empowered to wear what they want and enjoy the artists they love without fear of it being used as an excuse for acts such as voyeurism. 

Edited by Emily Duff

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