It’s interesting that the premiere of Taylor Swift’s “Mine” video comes less than three weeks after the grand unveiling of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” clip . For all their differences, they are essentially about the same thing: the fantasies of young, thoroughly modern women.
Of course, those fantasies are about as different as the women presenting them. Perry’s “Teenage Dream” is very much about the immediacy of pleasure, of fun and sexy romps on the beach and uninhibited road-trip adventures. Swift’s version is quite the opposite: Hers is a dream buoyed by the satisfaction of the long-term, of a doting husband and towheaded children and white picket fences. They are two wildly dissimilar sides of the same coin: Perry wants to be free; Taylor wants a husband. And the one you tend to identify with probably says a lot about you.
To be clear, these certainly aren’t the only two avenues available to women (not by a long shot), but if you want to get professorial about things, “Teenage Dream” and “Mine” offer up a rather interesting dissection of feminism in the 21st century. This is not to suggest that Perry or Swift are paragons of the movement, but they are two of the hugest pop(ish) stars on the planet, adored and idolized by millions. And certainly, a portion of those millions are young girls. So, really, there’s probably something at stake here.
To that end, while I don’t want to wade too heavily into the field of gender politics (these are, after all, just a pair of pop videos), it’s interesting — if not sort of disappointing — that neither Perry nor Swift are seen running Fortune 500 companies or piloting Black Hawk helicopters in their videos. Those, it would seem, are Teenage Dreams of a different sort.
Of course, neither option is necessarily bad. Perry is empowered because she is totally unchained, free to pursue whatever (or whomever) she desires. Swift goes the opposite route in the “Mine” video, investing fully in the idea of love and family and the future. There may be bumps along the way — as she sings, there are bills to pay and late-night shouting matches, and suddenly, the big house doesn’t seem all that attainable — but she’s committed. She’s in it for the long haul. It’s not a particularly sexy dream, but it’s certainly an admirable on, especially in these times.
With “Mine,” Swift has basically set herself up as the anti-Perry. And in doing so, she’s created a rather interesting counter-proposal to KP’s teenage dreams. No one is saying either is wrong, it’s just interesting to see two of the biggest female stars with such wildly differing takes on feminism and the future. They are, in essence, presenting two possible paths. A girl’s gotta have options, after all.
What did you think of Taylor’s new video? Share your review in the comments!