Taylor Swift is one of the world’s top musical artists, with a string of Grammys to her name and an ever-growing list of number one singles.

She has penned classic ‘female power’ tunes like We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and Shake It Off, filled venues as iconic as the 105,000-seat Ohio Stadium and sold more singles in the past decade than any other artist. Taylor represents strength, independence, and creativity, so it is is surprising to learn that she is still in the midst of a creative battle involving music she created when she was with her old studio (Big Machine – now owned by Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun).

The struggle between Swift and Braun has got ugly on more than one occasion – particularly when Swift plain out stated that Braun was refusing to allow her to play her old music. Swift was just 15 when she signed up with Big Machine; she remained with them until relatively recently, when she joined Universal. Swift, not one to mince words, accused Braun of “incessant, manipulative bullying,” adding, “My musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.” The singer hopes to re-record and re-release her first six LPs.

Swift also complained on Twitter that Braun and co. were not even allowing her to perform her old songs at the American Music Awards (AMAs). She Tweeted: “I’m not allowed to perform my old songs on television because that would be rerecording my music before I’m allowed to next year.” She additionally said she was not permitted to use this music in her recent Netflix documentary release. Braun alleges that he has attempted to negotiate with Swift on various occasions, only to have the door slammed in his face. He also stated that she was, in fact, free to perform her music at the AMAs. Of course, this will all be old news by the time Swift gives a potentially new spin to classics that have sold millions across the globe. When the issue is fixed, we have no doubt that the chanteusse will find a new cause to fight for; she is a warrior in many ways.

If you are a Taylor Swift fan, then you know that one of the characteristics of her lyrics is honesty. Her love life makes it into many of her greatest hits. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, for instance, is said to be dedicated to old love, Jake Gyllenhaal. The lyrics are indicative of the reason for their breakup. “I’m really gonna miss you picking fights and me/ Falling for it, screaming that I’m right and you/ Would hide away and find your peace of mind with some/ Indie record that’s so much cooler than mine.” She didn’t deny the fact, meanwhile, that her album 1989, was all about her breakup with One Direction star, Harry Styles. In the U.S., her dating past is often the source of jokes, but she probably hasn’t dated more than the average 20-year-old. The only difference is that her life is written in the lyrics of her highly relatable tunes.

One of Taylor’s biggest battles occurred in 2009, with Kanye West. The self-proclaimed genius interrupted Taylor onstage at the VMAs (she had just been awarded the Best Female Video prize). She was 18 at the time and her shock (Kanye literally grabbed the mic off her as she was giving her thank you speech, declaring Beyoncé to be the just winner) was matched by her elegance and, subsequently, her honesty. West would continue to tease Swift subsequently, dropping the single Famous and rapping (about Swift): “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex Why? I made that b**** famous (God damn), I made that b**** famous.” Embarrassing (or darkly humorous – depending on your taste), considering he had previously apologised for his behaviour at the VMAs. Even Obama called him a “jerk” for the interruption.

Taylor Swift recently released her single The Man, in which she describes the dichotomous nature of life as a modern artist: “You are kind of doing a constant strategy in your head as to how not to be shamed for something on any given day. But then you get accused of being calculated for having a strategy.” She may have doubts about life and herself, but she always comes out on top with songs that affirm the power, beauty, and intelligence of modern women – everyday women just like you and me!

Taylor Swift Admits to Battling an Eating Disorder

Taylor Swift’s recent admission of the fact that she has battled an eating disorder for many years, was no less than an act of bravery; something she could have just kept quiet about for many more years. Her statement – contained in her documentary Miss Americana (which recently premiered on Netflix) – explains why she took a hiatus from performing for a year, working on her health and getting back to a healthy size six (Taylor was a size double-zero at her lowest point).

Dangerous Triggers

Somehow, the admission seems shocking from someone who appears to possess ‘natural model looks’. It is also a stark reminder for teens and adults alike to watch their words. The silliest comment can trigger an eating disorder. In Taylor’s case, it was a speculation that she was pregnant because the outfit she was wearing made her look like she had a bigger belly than usual. Taylor says she carefully prepared lies to tell the press when asked about her slimness – including statements that she loved eating, that she was continually downing burgers and donuts “at all hours of the day.” She was, of course, starving, and she admits that it was largely about control. When the press is ready to pounce on you for every slight flaw, she says, one thing you can take control of – is your body. Thankfully, Taylor was able to rely on crucial support and aid to get her through.

Body Focus

In addition to speaking in her documentary, Taylor also talked to Variety, explaining that it wasn’t just the criticism that got to her, it was the compliments about her body as well. The truth is that, “You just start to accommodate everything towards praise and punishment, including your own body.” She adds that many times, she felt like fainting after performing – something she thought was to be expected. It was only as she began recovering that she realised that by seeing food as a fuel – she could take on all her concerts and professional commitments with the energy and vitality she craved.

Can Relate

Taylor’s admission has done more than simply show us that all that glitters is not gold; it has also helped the many fans who are undergoing the same thing. In a way, those struggling against the powerful force of anorexia nervosa (which has one of the highest mortality rates of all mental illnesses) and bulimia benefit from knowing that they are not alone. Of course, young teens can also take heart in the fact that their idols are open about their problem and the importance of seeking help and support. Being aware of the type of comments and images that can trigger these disorders is also key.

In Taylor’s Words

Swift had given hints of her eating disorder in the past; when she turned 30, she reflected on changes to her life, penning an article that read, “I learned to stop hating every ounce of fat on my body. I worked hard to retrain my brain that a little extra weight means curves, shinier hair, and more energy. I think a lot of us push the boundaries of dieting, but taking it too far can be really dangerous. There is no quick fix. I work on accepting my body every day.” She also works on being more aware of the toxic messages sent out by society about women’s bodies. Food, she says, should be pleasurable and healthful – not a means of control.

Eating Disorders in Spain

Eating disorders currently affect one in 10 adolescents in Spain. Mental health professionals state that the rate is increasing steadily on a yearly basis. In 2018, the Spanish government approved a non-legislative motion to fight eating disorders, urging the implementation of a series of legal measures – including the identification of photos that have been digitally retouched, visibly indicating the age of models advertising beauty products, and closing any pro-eating disorder sites. Spain, alongside France, Italy, Israel and other countries have taken steps to ban the hiring of models with a BMI of less than 18. Spain was a real pioneer in this respect, enforcing this ban in 2006. Some countries, like France, took over a decade more to do so.

I can only commend young celebrities like Taylor who are not ashamed to say that body image is an issue for them as well – people erroneously perceived as ‘perfect’ by their legions of fans. To hear your idol recognise they are going through a similar battle as you are can help you admit you need help. Food should neither be something to deprive yourself off nor binge on unhealthily. Rather, it should be seen as the pleasurable energy giver it is!