Fresh off debuting the star-studded “Bad Blood” music video at the Billboard Music Awards and winning eight trophies, Taylor Swift added another achievement to her growing résumé when she was named Number One on Maxim‘s annual Hot 100 list. In the interview that accompanied the lad mag’s crowning, Swift used the opportunity to talk in depth about her circle of friends, her upcoming tour, feminism and misogyny.
“Honestly, I didn’t have an accurate definition of feminism when I was younger. I didn’t quite see all the ways that feminism is vital to growing up in the world we live in,” Swift told the magazine over her avoidance of the issue earlier in her career. “I think that when I used to say, ‘Oh, feminism’s not really on my radar,’ it was because when I was just seen as a kid, I wasn’t as threatening. I didn’t see myself being held back until I was a woman.”
Swift also attacked the “double standards in headlines” and “double standards in the way things are perceived.” “A man writing about his feelings from a vulnerable place is brave; a woman writing about her feelings from a vulnerable place is oversharing or whining,” Swift said. “Misogyny is ingrained in people from the time they are born. So to me, feminism is probably the most important movement that you could embrace, because it’s just basically another word for equality.”
In 2014, Swift credited her friendship with Girls creator/actress Lena Dunham – who appeared in the “Bad Blood” video as a kingpin named Lucky Fiori – as a catalyst for her sudden openness to discuss these issues. “She runs her own company, she’s creating music that connects to other women instead of creating a sexual persona for the male gaze and no one is in control of her,” Dunham told Rolling Stone in 2014. “If that’s not feminism, what is?”
As for Swift’s burgeoning cadre of all-star friends – take the entire cast of the “Bad Blood” video and add the Haim sisters – Swift said, “Thankfully, 10 years into my career now, I’ve learned how to work in a smarter way. You have to have time to breathe and have a happy life, and friendships are so important to me. Thankfully – thanks to the fans – now we get to play stadiums, so we do two or three stadium shows a week. I’ll see my friends in whichever city I’m closer to.”