Taylor Swift may be best known for writing songs that portray her as a wholesome, virginal sweetheart who is victimized by sexualized, boyfriend-stealing "other women." Within this, there has been increasing critical discussion of the role gender-based stereotypes play in her music.
This Her Campus article sums up the issue neatly:
"Part of Taylor Swift's shtick is to slut-shame in her lyrics. In 'Better Than Revenge', she takes a swipe at a girl who apparently stole her boyfriend, 'She's an actress/But she's better known for the things that she does on the mattress.' The Queen of Wholesome often employs guilt-mongering tactics to put down the mean girl/cheerleader types who, she assures us, are more sexual than her."
Tumblr users have also noticed that Swift's lyrics frequently villify the sexuality of other women, as in this post by Sherlocks:
"As shown through her songs that feature comments about 'the other woman' this other woman is always sexually available, dresses provocatively, and is DEFINITELY NOT A VIRGIN. Because obviously, a woman's worth is based purely on the amount of sex she has had."
Sady Doyle, for the feminist magazine Bitch, says Taylor Swift organizes the women in her music into two camps:
"Teen Girls of America, here are your choices: have sex and wind up broken and sad and feeling as if you've lost 'everything you had,' or wait until your untouched vagina accumulates enough charge to make you rich and famous. Because your sexuality should never be an end in and of itself; it should be something you strategically employ to get what you want."
"Should've Said No"
"The Other Side of the Door"
"You Belong with Me"
"Better Than Revenge"
"I Knew You Were Trouble"
The "other woman"-as-enemy trope is visually represented in many of Swift's music videos, as well. Tumblr user Sexistculture points out the recurrence of villains played by evil brunettes:
Taylor Swift the Product (who I'm sure varies a great deal from Taylor Swift the Person) strikes again with "Mine" which will no doubt be played 12 times an hour on every friggin' station from now until the next time she comes out with another single about being pure and innocent while wanting a boy who is an angelic being filled with light and winning his heart from the evil girl who wears colors and probably fucks.
Seven out of 15 of Taylor Swift's music videos feature brunette bad girls who use their feminine wiles to steal Taylor's Prince Charming. And what's even weirder is that sometimes, the "other woman" in a video isn't even mentioned in the accompanying song's lyrics.
"The Story of Us" — A brunette makes out with a guy in the library, unrelated to anything else in the video.
"Teardrops on My Guitar" — The boy Taylor likes makes out with a brunette in the hallway.
"Picture to Burn" — The boy Taylor likes is now dating an edgy-looking brunette.
"White Horse" — The woman who tells Taylor about her boyfriend cheating is a dark-haired girl who is later implied in the video to be the "other woman."
"We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together" — Taylor's boyfriend is being groped by a brunette at a bar.
"You Belong With Me" — The mean, popular girl is played by Taylor Swift in a black wig.
"I Knew You Were Trouble" — There's a montage of Taylor's boyfriend making out with dark-haired girls in a nightclub.
It's important to note that Swift doesn't think of herself as a feminist. When asked whether she considers her music empowering to women in an interview with Ramin Setoodeh of The Daily Beast, she said this:
"When people say things about me empowering women, that's an amazing compliment. It's not necessarily what I thought I was doing, because I write songs about what I feel. I think there's strength when you're baring your emotions."
In a follow-up question, Setoodeh asked whether Swift thought of herself as a feminist. This was her answer:
"I don't really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life."