Matty Healy, Taylor Swift, and The Malignant Actions of a Voyeuristic Media

After weeks of rumors that he is dating Taylor Swift, dissuading those rumors, and subsequently being accused of misogyny, Matty Healy of The 1975 released a massive rant in a picture on Twitter explaining the situation and condemning the media that framed him.

Ever Since Taylor Swift was seen at a The 1975 concert in December of 2014, the global superstar and the band’s frontman, Matty Healy, have become decent friends and strong admirers of each other’s work. When the press caught wind of their interaction, cameras and reporters were suddenly swarming Healy asking him if he was dating Swift, when their relationship started and what it was like being Taylor Swift’s boyfriend.

The last idea bothered the Manchester rocker. He snapped back at the reporters and suddenly tabloids were saying “Matty Healy says a relationship with Taylor Swift would have been ’emasculating’ due to her global fame.”  After which, Healy has lashed out against the media to set the record straight.

At 5PM on March 18th, Healy posted a picture of a short essay explaining what really transpired both between him and what he said to the interviewers. He set the record straight saying that it was taken entirely out of context. He claims that what he had said was that he refused to be known as “somebody’s boyfriend” and not for his music and his art. When he said dating Taylor Swift would be emasculating, he says he made it very clear that what he meant was that being known as a superstars boyfriend is not what he wants. He admitted to his poor choice of words but defied claims of misogyny.

He says that the person who initially did the interview understood what he meant, and that she did not try to “sensationalize or decontextualize it”, but that the second media outlets got a hold of it, they took the part that could stir up drama and they left the rest.

He criticized the media and society for being quick to condemn him before knowing the full story, and for spreading these rumors. He goes on to condemn society for their voyeurism into the lives of celebrities. Healy’s disdain at being seen as “Taylor Swift’s Boyfriend” was not just selfish and about his career and his art, but about the way the world views Taylor. In his essay, he describes the anguish he feels for Swift, that a man who isn’t even dating her is pressured into a corner just to get some shred of details about her personal life.

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In all, Healy’s words bring up a good point: society and the media are obsessed with celebrities to an unhealthy point. Reporters want to know every detail of their life. They can’t go out on dates. They can’t casually enjoy a neighborhood cafe. As Jay-Z said in Holy Grail, “I got haters in the paper, Photo shoots with paparazzi. Can’t even take my daughter for a walk. [I] See ’em by the corner store, I feel like I’m cornered off.”

We are so obsessed with what they are doing, where they are going, who they are seeing, what they are wearing, and how they spend their time. But for what purpose? What do we gain out of this? Why are we this obsessed?

Answer: because it’s spoon fed to us.

We fall in love with their work. We enjoy their music, their humor, their acting, or their dancing. We begin to see them as a friendly face, someone we recognize and admire. This is fine.

Then, they take notice. They use our fondness to sell us meaningless trinkets and over priced clothing, makeup,  and skin care products. They make us want to be like them. They make us want to know more about them so we can feel closer to them. We listen. We want to know what they’re wearing, we want to know what we should be wearing. We want to know what movies they like and what music they listen to because we want to know what we should be listening to. We want to know who they’re dating, we want to know if we would approve. We are conditioned into wanting someone to tell us how to live. We start to go through life waiting for a cultivated image of someone who isn’t even real to tell us what expensive way to live our life so that we’ll buy more products. We’re conditioned to watch these icons for our inspiration so we’ll watch more TV, buy more tabloids, and waste more of our precious time.

Soon, the artists are driven underground. They can’t go out, they can’t date, they can’t have fun, and they can’t get to experience what being a human being is all about. They’ve been reduced to an animal in a cage. This is where we find our Kurt Cobains, our Amy Whinehouses, our Marilyn Monroes. They can’t take that much pressure. They should be admired for their art. They should be famous for their ability to connect with people. Privacy and freedom are god given, inalienable rights as humans. We all deserve the right to walk down the street without cameras and microphones chasing us. We deserve the right to have a private personal life. We all deserve to be able to date whomever, sleep with whomever, and love whomever we choose and to not have that information broadcasted to the entire world.

That is why I am taking a pledge in the defense of artists.

In defense of artists, I hereby pledge that I shall never write a word about a celebrity’s love life or personal issues. I shall never put an artist in a box and label it. I shall never give a rat’s ass who they are dating, what clothes they wear, where they like to eat, or what they did last weekend. I refuse to partake in a society of voyeuristic zombies, mindlessly mobbing around a human being, trying to absorb every iota of who they are as a person. I refuse to partake in a society that is so degrading to another human being that they drive them to drug abuse, emotional trauma, depression, and occasionally death. I refuse to deny my brother and sister human beings their basic rights to privacy and freedom. I pledge to write only about their art, their business, their effect on the industry and their legacy within it. I pledge to treat them as a fellow human being, equipped with talents, flaws, and the same inalienable rights as I.

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