Editorial: “Red (Taylor’s Version)” shows the value in reflecting on our emotions

Editorial Board

Last week, Taylor Swift re-released the album, “Red,” in the form of “Red (Taylor’s Version),” with additional songs “From the Vault.” Most of the album is supposedly based on Swift’s relationships. As such, it explores different aspects of them, including both their devastating and euphoric feelings. A good amount of us probably listened to the album, soaking in the song’s vulnerability and storytelling. When the initial album was released, the public criticized Swift for expressing her feelings and writing about her ex-relationships. However, the re-release of the new album reminds us, especially women, that it is important to reflect on our relationships and that our emotions are valid.

One of the most popular songs on the re-release was “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault).” Swift’s reflection on her toxic relationship is one of the most prominent takeaways of the song and reminds us to not only reflect on our current situations, but also past relationships. When most of us are in relationships, it’s easy to get lost in the happy moments and lose ourselves to our partners. We often don’t realize this is happening and find ourselves in unhappy situations that we don’t recognize at the moment. And if you are questioning the lows of the relationship, it’s probably a sign to contemplate your situation. However, Swift reminds us that if we have lived through a toxic relationship, it is okay to acknowledge it and be mad, sad or whatever else about it. 

Often, when it comes to relationships and breakups, if we do decide to express our emotions, we are invalidated. When women express their discontent, like Swift, they are ridiculed, dismissed and even gaslighted. The “crazy-ex” stereotype makes women out to be emotionally unstable, when in truth their feelings are probably valid, but because they expressed them they are labeled as overreacting. As a society, we need to do better about letting women share their sentiments and believing their experiences.  

On the other hand, when men express their emotions, they are labeled as weak. Bottling up emotions is harmful and contributes to toxic masculinity. While most men don’t experience the same stereotypes and misogyny as women do when it comes to expressing their emotions, it’s crucial to not disregard the importance of allowing men to grow their emotional maturity. 

The expectations of how emotions should be handled, for any gender, need to change, and Taylor Swift’s career in the music industry certainly gives insight into how women are treated when they express their reactions and emotions. It took a decade for society to validate Swift’s emotions, which is outrageous since she shouldn’t have been criticized in the first place for writing about her relationships. Nonetheless, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” reminds us to reflect on our relationships and embrace our emotions. 

However, this is also a reminder that it is okay if you haven’t experienced any sort of relationship. Swift was 22 when the original album was released, but that doesn’t mean that all of us need to go through a romantic heartbreak or epic love during our youth; there are even songs on the album that are not about her relationships and are self-reflective. If you either choose to live vicariously through “State of Grace (Acoustic Version)”—although it might not be wise to listen to this song when you are particularly sad—or have experienced a heartbreak similar to Swift’s, we can all reflect on and express our emotions when listening to the two-hour-and-10-minute album.