Why I love being a 'Swiftie' mum

taylor swift
"I love being a Swiftie mum"Buda Mendes/TAS23 - Getty Images

I still can't help smiling when I remember how my tweenager, Tilly, 10, brightened up a road trip across France last summer as she educated my best friend and me on all things Taylor Swift. Singing at the top of our lungs, we took turns to select our favourite tracks and Tilly pushed pause after each song to explain its deeper meaning.

Her enthusiasm was infectious, and over time she’s converted me, too. So, this summer, we’re off to see Taylor Swift at Wembley Stadium together. The countdown is on, the cowboy boots have been purchased and we’re both bursting with excitement!

taylor swift
Ellie with her daughter, Tilly.Hearst Owned

My daughter and I have talked incessantly about Taylor’s Eras Tour since it started in March 2023. As my Instagram exploded with concert selfies from fans of all ages, I realised I was just one of many middle-aged followers.

In fact, 46% of Taylor’s US fans are age 40+ Generation X-ers and Baby Boomers. Somehow, she bridges the pop music age divide, making it increasingly common for 47-year-old mums like me to be just as much a ‘Swiftie’ as our daughters.

When Tilly was born in 2013, Taylor Swift was 23 and graduating from being a country and western singer to a global pop sensation. Her catchy tunes became the soundtrack to Tilly’s childhood. By age eight, Swiftie-themed notepads, T-shirts and posters had flooded Tilly’s bedroom. Seeing my daughter’s first pop crush develop reminded me how hard I had once fallen for Madonna.

Taylor Swift
46% of Taylor’s US fans are age 40+Axelle/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images

It’s thanks to Tilly that I’m now an expert on Taylor’s lyrics. I’ve learned that Anti-Hero is all about overcoming insecurities, and that You Need To Calm Down is filled with positive messages about LGBTQ+ rights. Now, a quick blast of Taylor’s feminist anthem The Manworks works wonders when my imposter syndrome starts creeping in.

Even academics take her lyrics seriously, it seems; students at Harvard can now take a course analysing her music, and Oxford professor Sir Jonathan Bate compares Taylor’s lyrics positively to Shakespeare and Wordsworth.

It’s not just her lyrics that are complex and full of meaning. Swiftie subculture has become a rich web, with hidden messages hidden in her songs and marketing. Taylor’s mere mention of making friendship bracelets in her 2022 song You’re On Your Own, Kid has set off a global craze, with fans trading home-made beaded bracelets at every concert. And the V&A museum in London recently announced it was looking to hire a Swiftie superfan to help curate a new Taylor Swift collection around this 21st-century cultural phenomenon.

taylor swift fans gather outside concert venue in sydney
Swifties have started a craze for making - and swapping - friendship bracelets with fellow fans.Lisa Maree Williams - Getty Images

‘No one else on the planet today can move so many people so well,’ asserted Time magazine, which named her its Person of the Year for 2023. And it’s true: when Taylor speaks, people listen. Shortly after she encouraged her 283m Instagram followers to use their voices in the 2024 US elections, a record 35,000 adults signed up to vote. She hasn’t been afraid to speak up and take action on issues such as racism, LGBTQ+ rights and sexual harassment either.

I can’t help but be impressed by the star’s openness, from discussing tough relationship problems to issues around body image, providing a powerful message to impressionable young fans such as my daughter. Our children want to emulate Taylor, while we mums are motivated to support her and what she stands for.

The icing on the cake for Taylor’s army of Generation X mum fans? Taylor declares that her own mum, Andrea, is her guiding force. Mother-daughter bonding is part of her brand and the fact that Tilly and I both admire her has certainly created a special connection between us. Even when I’m alone, just hearing a few notes of a Taylor tune is enough to trigger a memory of my little girl’s green eyes lighting up as she belts out the lyrics.

Taylor champions the need to cherish every moment spent with loved ones, singing on her Reputation album: ‘Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you.’ She’s been the soundtrack to many happy times for the two of us, so I’m certain her iconic show will be a moment we’ll both hold on to for ever.

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