If her pop stardom ever stalls, Taylor Swift has another solid career option waiting in the wings: fascist dictator—or at least symbol of the fascist movement, if said fascists would not consent to being ruled over by a woman. Apparently, neo-Nazis already consider Swift an “Aryan goddess,” according to Broadly: Her blond hair, her thin frame, and her roots in country music make her the perfect avatar for the people who populate the internet’s “alt-right” subculture.
It may have started as a meme, but now actual white supremacists count themselves as fans of Swift, and some of them insist that she shares their beliefs: “It is also an established fact that Taylor Swift is secretly a Nazi and is simply waiting for the time when Donald Trump makes it safe for her to come out and announce her Aryan agenda to the world,” one white supremacist told Broadly. This is not an association the pop star has courted, but if you read her public profile selectively, there are a few elements it’s easy to see why the alt-right might find appealing: She’s never revealed her political beliefs in public, and because she started as a country singer, some people think that qualifies as conservative. And conservative, as we all know, is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Nazi.
There’s also her squeaky-clean public persona. Swift sings about sex, wears revealing outfits and costumes, and was once known as a serial dater—in short, she does the things that pop stars do. In spite of this, parents continue to cite Swift as a better role model than other female celebrities—she’s Teflon that way; just because she has a cat and likes polka dots, people tend to associate her with innocence. As one self-proclaimed fascist told Broadly, “Take Kim Kardashian or Miley Cyrus as examples of this: Both began their lives with the same Nordic blood that Swift did, but what makes these two degenerates unfit for consideration as fascist icons? It is because, although Aryan in blood, the two are not Aryan in spirit. To be Aryan in spirit is what completes the fascist.” Swift and her “spirit” remain popular and well-respected even as she engages in subtle slut-shaming of other stars and rules over her squad of friends with an iron fist, only choosing model-hot members and making them appear in her videos and by her side. (Though hey, would a white supremacist have let that one black girl in?) What reads as wholesome to some looks overly calculating to others, but any way you slice it, both are qualities that are resonate with neo-Nazis’ imaginations.
So should we start interpreting “Bad Blood” in a whole new light? Hearing “You Belong With Me” as a secret conversion anthem? Reading her most recent album, 1989, as an alternative history of what would have happened had the Berlin Wall never come down? Though she would be a coveted recruit in any political movement, it’s safe to say Taylor Swift is not a Nazi. Maybe it’s just true that the skills that it takes to turn yourself into a successful multimillion-dollar brand, if applied elsewhere, could also make for a very successful tyrant. What’s the difference between selling pop music and selling a fascist agenda, when you get down to it? It’s all propaganda.