Romantic Disfunction: ‘Blank Space’

Taylor Swift’s song ‘Blank Space’ follows the pattern of dysfunctional relationships and how she allows her over-romanticized dreams of relationships to lead her into a cycle of toxicity and breakups.  She again shows that she prefers intense, passionate, short relationships to endearing, safe, long-term ones.

‘Its gonna go down in flames’

She starts the song by saying the new man that is pulling up to her mansion ‘looks like my next mistake’. She even explicitly stated that she sees love as a game and asks him to play.  The idea of that the ‘high is worth the pain’ seems to be something that an addict would use as justification for the dangerous actions that they enjoy. Her long list of ex-lovers is open for a new addition and she almost alludes to her plan to put this new boy’s name at the top.  She admits that her ex-lovers will tell her new one that she is insane and that she loves players.  Players are the bad boys of today.  They have bad attitudes, they are deceptively bad to women, and they are often without direction or goals.  These are men who are young and reckless, as Swift states, she even says that they will take it ‘way too far’.  The last part of the song is the best example of a toxic relationship because to her ‘boys only want love if its torture’.  Tortuous love affairs are not good, but they have been portrayed in movies, songs, and books as the most passionate and the most beautiful.  Swift prefers the intense, passionate relationships that look good on paper and in the tabloids to the substance and stability of a mature relationship.

‘Its gonna be forever’

Taylor Swift uses the image of old Hollywood glamor in several of her songs.  She is more interested in having an infamous relationship than being in a stable relationship. This song is another example of Swift preferring image over reality.  She chooses to dress in classic styles, with cat eye sunglasses or red lips, because they have a history of being flattering and popular.  She uses her classic style to hide that she is a ‘nightmare dressed like a day dream’.  The use of binary in this song comes up twice: once with the lyrics “So its gonna be forever or its gonna go down in flames” and again with the lyrics “it will leave you breathless or with a nasty scar”.  She again proves that she lives in the extremes of relationships.  The important part of Swift’s idea of forever is shown in the video.  At the end of the video, the tall, dark and handsome boyfriend basically runs away from her estate.  Seemingly out of nowhere, another tall, dark, and handsome man, in the same type of nice car, with a similar tuxedo on. This shows that her idea of forever is the image of a perfect man and not the man that would be perfect for her.

Her idea of a relationship seems to be the boys that look the best.  She chooses looks over substance and idyllic over reality.


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