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Forever putting her neutral persona behind her, pop icon Taylor Swift went full social justice warrior at the 2019 Teen Choice Awards on Sunday when she delivered a politically-laced speech while accepting the first Icon Award.
According to Yahoo News, Swift began her speech by praising U.S. women’s soccer team player Alex Morgan for standing up for gender equality.
“First I want to talk about Alex Morgan,” said Swift. “The fact that she’s here presenting this to me is such an honor. Not only winning the World Cup with her amazing teammates, right? But while they were winning the World Cup, they were also taking a historic stand in terms of gender equality, gender pay gaps. Please, please, please support her and her teammates because this isn’t over yet. It’s not resolved.”
“Get online, talk about it, let people know how you feel about it because what happened to them is unfair,” Swift continued. “It’s happening everywhere, and they are heroes and icons for standing up.”
Swift made this claim about the gender pay gap between the male and female soccer teams, but a recent report from The Daily Wire’s Ashe Schow showed that the women players were, in fact, over-paid despite losing millions of dollars:
Now USSF President Carlos Cordeiro is pushing back. He wrote an open letter explaining that he directed U.S. Soccer staff to conduct “an extensive analysis of the past 10 years of U.S. Soccer’s financials.” He said the analysis was “reviewed by an independent accounting firm.” The analysis showed that the women’s team was paid more than the men’s team.
The fact sheet includes bulleted information about the different pay structures for the men’s and women’s teams. USSF claimed that it paid “women $34.1 million in salaries and game bonuses and we paid our men $26.4 million — not counting the significant additional value of various benefits that our women’s players receive but which our men do not.”
For example, the women’s team has a guaranteed salary thanks to their collective bargaining agreement with USSF. They receive a base salary of $100,000 each year and an additional salary of $67,500 to $72,500 for playing in the National Women’s Soccer League. Male soccer players do not have such an agreement.
Not all of Swift’s speech focused on fact-free talking points about gender pay gaps. At one point, she told teens to embrace mistakes and embarrassment, advising them to have grace for themselves.
“One thing I wish I would have known when I was a teen is that mistakes are inevitable,” said Swift. “I think sometimes you think if you try hard enough to make every decision perfectly, you think you can possibly ace life and never make any mistakes but, it is normal to make mistakes. I just want you to know that if you are out there and you are being really hard on yourself right now for something that has happened, or messing up, or feeling embarrassed, it’s normal. That’s what’s going to happen to you in life. No one gets through unscathed. We’re all going to have a few scratches on us.”
Taylor Swift has managed to stay largely apolitical throughout her career, but that all changed when feminists began to publicly chastise her for not endorsing Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.
“If Taylor thinks that her public fallout with Kimye was the most damning public relations nightmare she endured last year, then she should probably expand her news diet,” wrote Marie Claire magazine. “Fall of 2016 saw a slew of celebrities become outspokenly involved in the political process, as they should have … Whether she likes it or not, Taylor’s politics (or her perceived political apathy) are a part of her reputation, and a song addressing or at least acknowledging that (even if the song did not address her personal politics) would have been welcome.”
In the fall of 2018, Swift took the criticism to heart by opposing Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) during the midterm elections, choosing to endorse her male opponent, which was followed by her donating $113k to fight for LGBTQ equality.
Last week, another music icon, Kid Rock, said that Taylor Swift became overtly political because she wanted to start acting more in movies.