Date of Award

Summer 8-12-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Megan Sinnott

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Talburt

Third Advisor

Dr. Julie Kubala

Abstract

As a popular culture subject, Taylor Swift is an example of a widely circulated image that adheres to the guidelines for “appropriate” girlhood, innocence, and feminine performance. The proliferation of Swift’s identity as a virginal, delicate girl makes Swift the successful pop music figure that can “save” the troubled young girl of today. This thesis grapples with Swift’s image as an artist and addresses the ways that she often stands in as the example for imagined “appropriate” femininity. Swift’s image relies on ideas about innocence and normativity that are directly linked to markers of whiteness without ever having to explicitly name it. Swift’s specific performance of normativity and the success she has achieved because of it is one example of how we can begin to complicate understandings of agency and where it can be located.

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