I’m part of the target audience for Netflix’s new series Ginny and Georgia: Mid-teens, in high school, a girl. Yet the entire time viewing, I was physically cringing, having to exit Netflix in order to recover from the writer’s latest bad take. Whether it was the outdated Taylor Swift dig: “What do you care? You go through men faster than Taylor Swift,” the references to Logan Paul, or having characters unironically compete in the “Oppression Olympics,” the content just… fell flat.
While trying to write a show that would empower, by portraying independent women, Ginny and Georgia writers still wound up feeding into the shaming of a real woman: Swift. Even if the line was supposed to be an out of character insult, in the real world, it perpetuates the shaming of women for something their male counterparts do not face. Rather, activity they are applauded for.
The series also mentions other celebrities like Lady Gaga and Lana Del Ray. Georgia- the mother- believes that Lana del Rey is a “goddess of sadness,” while the closest Del Rey gets to feminism is saying she’s “not not a feminist” because there “isn’t a place in feminism for women who look and act” like her. Taylor Swift looks and acts like her. Both are white, female singer-songwriters inspired by various past relationships. So, the contrast between the show’s adoration of Lana Del Rey, which is enunciated several times, to the jabs at Taylor Swift, is hypocritical.
Even worse, the throw-away line about Swift from Georgia’s daughter Ginny isn’t even in character. Yes, it’s said in an argument where Ginny is trying to get her mother to stop questioning her relationships, and arguing people often say things that they don’t mean, but Ginny is adamantly uncritical of women’s sex lives. In a scene in an episode titled “Lydia Bennet is Hundo a Feminist,” where Ginny’s English class is discussing Jane Austin, she presents her own project titled: “Internalized Feminism: Why We Don’t Like Lydia Bennet.” The whole scene is supposed to seep of Ginny’s third wave ideals. She passionately declares, “stop slut shaming her,” yet the audience is supposed to believe she’d later be so quick to shame Taylor Swift? Beyond the line being outdated and degrading, it is something even worse for a series: out of character.
Taylor Swift responded to the line with this tweet:
“Hey Ginny & Georgia, 2010 called and it wants its lazy, deeply sexist joke back. How about we stop degrading hard working women by defining this horse shit as FuNnY. Also, @netflix after Miss Americana this outfit doesn’t look cute on you. Happy Women’s History Month I guess”
This isn’t the first time Swift has faced a poorly-written jab from a Netflix series. In Degrassi, a character says, “Taylor Swift made an entire career out of her exes.”
Despite Swift being in a long term relationship, criticisms over her dating life from 10 years ago are still popping up. Criticisms, mind you, that men do not face. Leonardo DiCaprio has had countless women on his arm, deservingly, but does not face backlash. This judgement is reserved for women, and it’s shameful to see even a show intended to empower can’t distance itself from it.