Taylor Swift Is Named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year…And People Are Furious She’s Not A Mum?

Last week, Taylor Swift was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2023. Not just woman of the year; Person.

Out of all the men and women in the entire world, she was their choice. This seems to have wound up a lot of people, men especially. I’ve been pondering why that may be. One particular male, Eric Conn, has blown up on X (I still call it Twitter myself, although I may be boycotting that soon too, based on some of the vitriol Elon Musk has been spouting towards people without children lately – but that’s another story).

This is the first of many shocking things Eric had to say on the topic:



Wow. It’s almost 2024 and there are still people out there who believe that a woman without a husband and children is ‘shameful and sad’? Seriously? I mean, never mind that she’s worth $1.1billion, has almost 100m followers on the very platform he’s slating her on (next to Conn’s paltry 24k) and is one of the most successful entertainers of all time; the fact that she’s not yet made use of her uterus (and may never, who knows?) means she’s fair game? A deserving punchbag for this kind of abuse?

No. No. And no.

I’m sure this dude is not even on Taylor’s radar, but I for one am absolutely raging about this – and here’s why:

There is still this weird obsession with a woman’s reproductive status, regardless of whatever else they’ve achieved in life.

Does the same apply to men? Of course not! Now, I’m not dissing any woman whose sole goal in life is to marry and have children – each to their own – but surely in this day and age this cannot be the main marker of success? And whose business is her parental status other than her own, anyway? And it’s not just men who are of this opinion. I searched this topic and came across a whole host of women who are also desperate for Taylor to reproduce. Why? So that she’ll write songs about motherhood they can relate to, as mums, apparently. Sorry, what? Surely as mums you’ll recognise that if she were a mum the chances of her being able to fulfil such a crazy schedule in the first place would be minimal? Ha!

I’ve cherry-picked a small selection of Taylor’s recent achievements which, had she been pregnant or nursing a baby, it’s highly unlikely she’d have been able to commit to on such a huge scale:

  • Trained daily for 6 solid months prior her new tour, including running on a treadmill for hours every single day whilst singing the entire concert’s playlist.
  • Rehearsed all day every day for 3 months pre-tour to ensure the choreography is so deeply ingrained in her mind that she can perform it without having to think about the moves, leaving her free to interact and ad-lib with her audience more naturally.
  • Sold over 4 million tickets, including over 2 million on the first day they went on sale, crashing Ticketmaster.
  • Her Eras tour consists of 151 shows across 5 continents and runs for 21 months (from March 2023 until December 2024).
  • Each Eras show is 180 minutes long, includes over 40 songs and 16 costume changes. She’s 9 months into her tour so far.
  • Fought back against the sale of her back-catalogue (worth $140m at the time, to a friend of her nemesis Kanye West) by painstakingly rerecording new versions of all her past work and rereleasing it as ‘Taylor’s version.’


A quick Wiki search of Tyler states: “One of the best-selling musicians with 200 million records sold, Swift has earned 117 Guinness World Records and received the Recording Artist of the Year award three times from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. She is the highest-grossing female touring act and the first billionaire with music as the main source of income. A Time Person of the Year(2023), Swift has appeared on lists such as Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time, Billboard‘s Greatest of All Time Artists, and the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes. Her accolades include 12 Grammy Awards (including three Album of the Year wins), 1 Primetime Emmy Award, 40 American Music Awards (including Artist of the Decade – 2010s), 39 Billboard Music Awards, and 23 MTV Video Music Awards.

All of these accolades, yet according to some this means nothing because she’s A NON-MUM? Oh, puh-lease!

NPR music critic Ann Powers hits the nail on the head with this observation of the furore surrounding Swift’s status:

“Taylor doesn’t have a child. And in our patriarchal society, when does a woman change? When she becomes a mother. One of the main reasons why we don’t accept Taylor as an adult is because the childless woman remains a strange figure in our society. We don’t know how to accept childless women as adults. I’m gonna thank you, Taylor, for not having kids yet because we really need more childless women out there showing their path.”

Now I wouldn’t class myself as a ‘Swiftie’ per se – I don’t totally love her music, it’s not my favourite genre, BUT what I have so much respect for is her unending resilience, determination, strength, attitude and generosity (both in monetary terms and in spirit: she’s known to treat and pay her staff very well, and always has time for her fans).

As Sam Lansky so eloquently puts it in his Time article:

“Maybe this is the real Taylor Swift effect: That she gives people, many of them women, particularly girls, who have been conditioned to accept dismissal, gaslighting, and mistreatment from a society that treats their emotions as inconsequential, permission to believe that their interior lives matter. That for your heart to break (for whatever reason), is a valid wound, and no, you’re not crazy for being upset about it, or for wanting your story to be told.”

As a childless woman this resonated with me, as it’s common for those without children to feel belittled; dismissed; irrelevant. If what Taylor stands for is giving power to those who feel they have lost theirs, well, isn’t that the biggest achievement of all?

And what’s Taylor’s response to all the speculation around her parental status? She’s recently refused to answer questions on the subject at all, which I absolutely applaud, but she has gone on the record in the past to say:

“I don’t know if I’ll have kids. It’s impossible not to picture certain scenarios and how you would try to convince them that they have a normal life when, inevitably, there will be strange men pointing giant cameras at them from the time they are babies.”

Most of what Eric Conn said was sexist, prontalist nonsense, but there was one thing he did get right in his comment:

Taylor has become a heroine of a feminist age.

And I’m totally here for it.

So, Taylor, on this, your 34th birthday – I salute you. Cheers!

Whether you decide to become a mother down the line or not, I, and millions of others, including plenty of childless and childfree women, think you’re freakin’ awesome. You do you, and ignore the ignoramuses of this world who try to dim your light. 

Happy Birthday! 

Read the full TIME article here

photo credit: Inez and Vinoodh for TIME