Last night, Taylor Swift opened her Reputation Tour in Glendale, but it seems to be the same role we've seen her in for almost a decade. Swift addressed the snake motif that's been so prominent since Reputation album cycle last November. She indirectly referenced the moment Kim Kardashian outed Swift for consenting to Kanye West's "Famous" and admitted that she is still harboring guilt from that exchange. We thought we'd moved on from this subject but here we are.
"A couple of years ago, someone called me a snake on social media and it caught on," she said onstage. In the video for her lead single, "Look What You Made Me Do," snakes adorn her throne, pouring her a cup of tea and she even wears rings decorated with serpentine images. Now, her tour set is filled with colossal cobras and wreaths of snakes as decoration. "...I wanted to send a message to you guys that if someone uses name calling to bully you on social media and even if a lot of people jump on board with it, that doesn't have to defeat you. It can strengthen you instead."
The problem here is that Taylor Swift has been banking on being seen as the victim since the 2009 Video Music Awards. She's forcing herself to be the same 19-year-old who stood on the VMA stage, stunned that Kanye West was stealing her moment. In retrospect, we know Kanye was wrong and his recent "free thinking" antics make that moment even more questionable. We see that, we feel that. But creating a platform that is dependent on being cast as the bullied ensures that she stays stunted in her "You Belong With Me" era. What she sees as a reclamation of the imagery of snakes feels like more of a way to capitalize on her public "trauma" instead of just coming to terms with the lie that got her called out in the first place. And it's getting very, very old.
Taylor, we've watched you go through your adulthood pointing the finger at everyone else: Kanye West, John Mayer, Katy Perry , and whoever else got in your way. Honestly, it's time you hold a mirror up to yourself.
Kristin Corry is a staff writer for Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.