By: The Griffin
The talk of this NFL season has been most notably marked by Taylor Swift’s presence and romance with Kansas City Chiefs’ Tight End Travis Kelce. Upon Swift’s initial sighting at Arrowhead Stadium in late September, it was met with excitement and curiosity both by fans of Swift and the NFL, but quickly her attendance has turned to criticism and backlash.
Frequent rhetoric surrounding the topic claims that the NFL is showing her too much, or that she has become a factor of the game. This was not the only negativity Swift faced recently. Dozens of posters and signs were debuted this weekend prior to the highly anticipated Divisional matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills that carried messages along the lines of “Go home, Taylor,” “F** Taylor Swift,” and “Welcome to Buffalo, Taylor. You suck!” Kelce even alluded to the numerous inappropriate comments that were made by Bills fans throughout the matchup itself on his podcast this past Wednesday.
During this game, she was noticeably more withdrawn than previous games. Normally, she has been seen excitedly cheering on the Chiefs and Kelce in an obvious way, but during this game she moved towards the back of the suite that she shared with the Kelce and Mahomes families and appeared to be intentionally hiding from the spotlight. Some fans claim that she moved from the front of the box to the back following some harmful remarks about her from Bills fans in the section directly in front of the box.
All of this begs the question of why has Swift faced such criticism for her presence at an NFL game supporting her partner? And why have other celebrities not faced this?
The Griffin feels that there is a twofold answer to this: her presence opens a traditionally male sphere to a whole new population of people and it’s easy (or at least trendy) to hate on Taylor Swift. Following Swift’s first appearance in Arrowhead, a huge following of her fan base followed her and began tuning in in hopes of catching glimpses of her. Her fan base being predominantly women and previous non-watchers of the NFL. With many of these fans embarking on an interest in the NFL many (but not all) fans have begun having these adverse reactions to it, from what The Griffin has identified as an encroachment on “their thing” or an infiltration of women into a traditionally male hobby and activity, rather than seeing this as a boost for the NFL.
Now, many fans of the NFL have become upset due to the attention she was drawing from the media, despite the fact that the New York Times has reported that on average she is shown less than 25 seconds throughout the course of any given game. The idea that Swift is purposefully drawing attention to herself at these events is almost ironic because of how often she takes incredible measures to physically hide or conceal herself. She takes it to the level of arriving to her own tour in a janitor’s cart and coming and going to her apartment within equipment boxes.
While one can claim that Swift has faced the most intense negative responses when she has attended away games for the Chiefs and that negativity is a response from opposing team’s fan bases, it is not unheard of for her to face backlash in Arrowhead or from Chiefs fans themselves. Some even began talking about her as being a “curse” over the Chiefs after two consecutive Chief’s losses.
This trend of unprovoked hatred against her resembles a wave that has plagued her twenties. Meaning that Swift is no stranger to cancel culture and how her popularity can fluctuate as fast as the stock market. Throughout her career she has rhythmically hit high points in her career, and that has followed with some sort of unaccredited public fallout in which the media and public turns against her.
Swift’s presence at these games can be viewed as a larger view into what it means to be a woman entering a heavily male dominated interest. Women should not need to prepare for an unjustified wave of exclusion and sexism as they attempt to enter a male dominated sphere, but this can be a reality of any woman and her attempt to break any glass ceiling.