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The look on Taylor Swift's face as she talks about slut-shaming is heartbreaking

Christina Marfice

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Christina is a reporter based in Boise, Idaho. She's a veteran vegetarian, a political junkie and a huge grammar snob. On the weekends, she can usually be found binging on Netflix, playing the piano or petting her cats, Daisy and Dandelion.

Taylor Swift's advice to her younger self shows how damaging slut-shaming can be

It's time for some real talk about slut-shaming, internet.

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Taylor Swift appeared in the most recent video of Vogue's 73-question interview series, and while most of the interview was pretty lighthearted — showing off her double-jointed elbows and her VMA Moonman statue next to the coffee maker in the kitchen, for example — there were a few moments when Swift got very, very real.

Like when she was asked what she still has from her childhood, and her response was, "My insecurities." Or when she dished on the pressures of growing older: "In 10 years, I'll be 36. I really hope that I’m not stressed about the idea of approaching 40. I really hope aging is not something that freaks me out." And on the most important lesson she's learned during her career: "Karma is real."

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But none of those answers is quite as heartbreaking as what Swift told the interviewer she wishes she could say to her 19-year-old self. 19-year-old Taylor Swift was just beginning to take the music world by storm, and was about to spend the next several years commanding headlines and inspiring think pieces for every move she made.

As Swift thought about the question, a shadow crossed her face before she answered, "If I could talk to my 19-year-old self, I’d just say, ‘Hey. You’re going to date just like a normal 20something should be allowed to, but you’re going to be a national lightning rod for slut-shaming."

The look in Swift's eyes as she makes that confession is heartbreaking, because it reveals how much that incessant slut-shaming affected her, even now, at 26 years old and seemingly as confident as they come. And what Swift says is true. She dated a handful of men in her early 20s, just like many young women do. But for Swift, the normal cycle of dating, breaking up and dating again was distorted in headlines, blown way out of proportion and used to make her look like she was engaging in something dangerous or wrong.

The most heartbreaking thing about it is seeing how affected Swift still is, even though she's beautiful, talented, successful and overwhelmingly loved by millions of fans. If slut-shaming can have such a deep, far-reaching impact on someone like Swift, how might it affect girls and young women who don't have the same levels of affirmation that she has in her life?

It's in important reminder, internet. It's easy to comment on the lives of other people, especially with the feeling of safety and isolation one gets from doing it from behind a computer screen. But taking a moment to think about the impact of the words you type can be the difference between a generation of women that feels confident and loved and one that feels torn down by the world around it.

More: Taylor Swift concerts & drugs don't mix — just ask Father John Misty

Check out the rest of Taylor Swift's 73-question interview below:

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