Between Taylor Swift’s charity work, using her voice for the voiceless, or bravely speaking out against sexual assault, she’s basically an angel on earth. However, that doesn’t mean she can’t stand up for herself. When it’s absolutely necessary, Tay knows to call upon her fierce side. These Taylor Swift clapbacks over the years proved she’s a force to be reckoned with.
Swift has spoken openly about kicking her "good girl" image to the curb. Through the years, she’s shed the persona of "perfection," and has let fans into the parts of herself that are less refined. She spoke about this in her 2020 Miss Americana Netflix documentary.
"A nice girl smiles and waves and says thank you. A nice girl doesn’t make people feel uncomfortable with her views," Taylor said, when explaining the standard she’s always held herself to.
Even acknowledging this was a clapback in itself, and Swift admitted she’s since stopped caring about her pristine image and decided to be wholly herself.
Whether it be shutting down society’s standards, sending a subtle message to Scooter Braun, or penning an epic breakup song, Swift is the unofficial clapback queen, and these are her most epic clapbacks to date.
2010: When She Got The Last Word With "Dear John"
While Swift and fellow musician John Mayer never officially confirmed their romance, there were reports claiming the two were an item. But the two apparently called it quits on whatever they had going on sometime in 2010, and the aftermath was somewhat messy.
Swift released the track "Dear John," and it contained some pretty vicious lyrics.
"Dear John, I see it all now that you’re gone/Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with?/The girl in the dress, cried the whole way home/I should’ve known," the chorus read.
As for Mayer, he was not very happy about the track, and told Rolling Stone in 2012 that he "was really caught off-guard."
"It really humiliated me at a time when I’d already been dressed down," he said. "I mean, how would you feel if, at the lowest you’ve ever been, someone kicked you even lower?"
2014: When She Dropped The "Shake It Off" Music Video
Swift clapped back at anyone who has ever doubted her with the release of "Shake It Off."
With lyrics like: "Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate/Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake/I shake it off, I shake it off," the song was a clear hit back at Swift’s haters.
May 2015: When Swift Dissed haters with "Bad Blood"
Swift proved she was not to be messed when she released "Bad Blood" The fierce four-minute song and video was all about cutting ties with the people who had done her dirty.
Specifically, the song was thought to be about Katy Perry, whom Swift was wrapped up in a heated feud with at the time, apparently over dancers who left Swift’s Red tour to join Perry’s. Swift’s former dancer Lockhart Brownlie claimed Perry’s people called him up to see if he would join her Prism world tour. He (and a couple other dancers) accepted, and it started the feud of the century.
Even though Swift and Perry ended up burrying the hatchet in 2019, at the time, to prove she had a trusty girl squad on lock, Swift enlisted a few ride-or-die friends for the "Bad Blood" video, including Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss.
June 2015: The Time She Clapped Back At Streaming Services
When Apple first announced their streaming platform, Apple Music, Swift was less than thrilled with their pay rates for artists. Apparently, during the free three-month trial they offered, Apple music initially didn’t plan on paying musicians.
Taylor shared an open letter to the company on her Tumblr account saying, "I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company. Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation."
In a true nod to the power Tay holds in the industry, Apple responded.
2016: When She Clapped Back At Kimye
Despite having patched things up after their 2009 VMAS "Imma let you finish" mishap, Swift’s friendship with Kanye West took another hit when he debuted his track "Famous." In one lyric, he referred to Swift as "that b*tch," a line Tay was not cool with.
However, after West and Kim Kardashian insisted Swift previously knew about the song, and leaked a phone call between her and Kanye about it, Tay defended herself via a tweet that has since been deleted.
2017: When She Hit Back At Body-Shamers
Taylor loves her haters. At least that’s how she made it sound when she responded to the angry comments she received about her "Ready For It?" music video.
After some fans thought Tay’s outfit in the video was too risque, she posted the perfect response. The pop star proudly shared a photo in her tight, nude bodysuit. "It truly warms my heart that so many ppl had so much to say about this bodysuit," she captioned the pic.
You can watch the music video for yourself below.
May 2019: When She Refused To Answer A Sexist Interview Question
Just ahead of her 30th birthday, Swift shut down a reporter who asked whether Swift would be "settling down" in her new decade of life. However, Tay didn’t entertain the question.
"I really do not think men are asked that question when they turn 30. So I’m not going to answer that question now," she said.
September 2019: When She Clapped Back At Kimye (Again)
Swift didn’t hold anything back when reflecting on her years-long feud with Kanye West. In a September interview with Rolling Stone, the singer spoke out about her feud with rapper Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian.
In the interview, she reflected on the time West asked her to present him with the MTV Video Vanguard Award. However, the day of the show, she realized West wasn’t on her team.
“And I’m standing in the audience with my arm around his wife, and this chill ran through my body,” Swift said of the moment. “I realized he is so two-faced. That he wants to be nice to me behind the scenes, but then he wants to look cool, get up in front of everyone and talk sh*t.”
February 2020: The Time She Shaded Scooter Braun
Swifties lost it when Tay dropped her official "The Man" music video and it was chock full of Easter Eggs. Her eagle-eyed fans didn’t miss a beat during one scene where the camera panned to a street sign which said "no scooters." Fans instantly assumed this was a subtle shot at Scooter Braun, who Swift has been wrapped up in some legal drama with over music rights.
When Braun purchased Big Machine Records in 2019, and, in turn, the ownership of Swift’s pre-Lover-era masters, she was not happy about the idea of someone other than her owning her music. She posted an open letter about the music mogul, labeling him a bully.
While the battle has cooled, Swift did subtly address it in her video. You can catch the sneaky scooter reference at the 0:55 time stamp.
March 2020: Yet Another Kimye Clapback
On March 23, out of nowhere, an anonymous source leaked the full version of Swift’s 2016 phone call with West and Kardashian. While the world had already heard snippets thanks to Kim K, Swift felt the full-length version served justice.
Tay took to Instagram with a message for fans about the video, while simultaneously urging them to give back amid the Coronavirus outbreak.
“Instead of answering those who are asking how I feel about video footage that was leaked, proving that I was telling the truth the whole time about *that call* (you know, the one that was illegally recorded, that somebody edited and manipulated in order to frame me and put me, my family, and fans through hell for 4 years),” Swift wrote. “Swipe up to see what really matters.”
Swiping up led viewers to a donation page for Feeding America.
Life in the spotlight isn’t easy, but Swift has learned to navigate it with grace through the most tumultuous moments.
As she said in the Miss America Netflix documentary: "There is no such thing as someone who’s bossy — there’s just a boss. We [women] don’t want to be condemned for being multi-faceted."
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