How Taylor Swift Turned Her Relationships and Dating Life Into a Personal Business

Taylor Swift is not a love-crazed songstress — and it's frankly naive to think otherwise.

Perhaps she was, one day long ago. Perhaps Drew really did cause those teardrops on her guitar. Perhaps the country-turned-pop star's breakup with John Mayer really did devastate her to the point of writing the wrenching "Dear John."

But Taylor Swift is not that girl anymore. She's an incredibly savvy businesswoman who knows exactly how invested the world is in her relationships. And she's turned her love life into the most successful part of her business. For that, she deserves not shame, but praise.

Upon learning that Swift is dating Avengers star Tom Hiddleston — just two weeks after ending her relationship with DJ Calvin Harris, no less — the internet promptly lost its shit. "She moves faster than my WiFi," one response went.

The revelation of the new couple came in the form of paparazzi photos published by the Sun, a British tabloid. In the photos, Swift and Hiddleston are seen canoodling, selfie-taking and kissing on rocks in front of an ocean.

Several outlets, from the Cut to the Daily Beast, called bullshit. The photos look staged; a selfies-on-rocks date is a chance to be spotted, not to get away from the harsh lights of Hollywood.

Let's assume that the photos were indeed staged, because we're people with common sense. This is a woman who's made a cottage industry off speculation about her love life. She writes songs about guys she's dated, but doesn't specify which guys. She even leaves hints in the capitalized letters of lyrics in her albums' liner notes. It's the musical equivalent of clickbait.

So, shortly after a very public breakup with Harris, Swift makes sure to be seen with her new man. The resulting reaction is nothing short of seismic. Amid a filibuster in Congress and a veritable tweet hurricane aimed at Donald Trump by gay Twitter users, "Hiddleswift" suddenly became the hot topic. She broke the news cycle open and planted her flag.

That's not just impressive, it's downright praise-worthy. Suddenly, after a month or so out of the news, Swift is the hottest topic on the internet. Her resulting album, with likely allusions to Harris, to Hiddleston, to any and all the men before or since, will be a huge hit. These photos were a stroke of genius.

Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian WestLarry Busacca/Getty Images

So why do people criticize Swift's romantic life? It's for much the same reason that Kim Kardashian West gets slut-shamed. They're both women owning elements of their personal life — their lovers, their bodies and sexuality — and commanding attention around them to turn a massive profit. Their agency jeopardizes a system that is designed to make money off of them in their stead. What will the celebrity gossip complex do when stars' salacious personal secrets aren't so secret anymore?

Instead of letting the tabloids earn all the money off her life, Swift is taking her piece of the pie. She's controlling the narrative and taking power into her own hands. There's plenty about Swift that irritates, but this? This isn't worthy of scorn. It's the smartest move she's ever made.

Read more: