Taylor Swift is dating Travis Kelce, it seems — or are they?
I am a huge “Swiftie,” so my social media pages are always flooded with updates on the iconic pop star. Recently, Travis Kelce, a football player for the Kansas City Chiefs, has been making headlines worldwide for his rumored relationship with the international star, Taylor Swift.
Firstly, let’s ask ourselves: do we even have the right to care about their love lives? The most common answer is yes. We can care because we popularize their antics, and they earn money — that’s how being famous works. They asked for the lives they live right now. Although these remarks are the sad reality many in the modern world face every day, no one is entitled to information on anyone’s love life, and to think otherwise is a dangerous thought that fosters heteronormativity.
Travis Kelce is a football player. Taylor Swift is a singer. However, these days, everyone expects the two to show fans more sweet interactions which are not obligatory parts of their careers. Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift sharing a sweet embrace in a bar is not relevant to football or pop songs. Yet, comment sections under media that feature either of them are flooded with questions like “Is Travis a rebound?” or “Are they going to get married?” In extreme cases, one can spot intrusive comments such as “I thought Taylor Swift would finally date a woman!”
This curiosity over others’ love lives is not an isolated phenomenon that occurs only in Hollywood or to superstars, though. The rude comments under videos of Swift and Kelce resemble the questions we as Andover students hear on our campus: “I thought Mr. ____ was gay!” or “There’s no way she’s married!” or “Who’s dating who?” or “Wait, wait, wait, I missed that part! Who asked who out to what?” It is easy to slip into the mindset that the Andover community is a bubble that does not suffer similar problems to those that plague the glamorous Hollywood scene of the West Coast or the petty comment sections of Instagram. However, the curiosity over others’ love lives is relevant in all our lives — every single one of us Andover students.
From flirting to dating to break-ups to marriages to divorces, romance yields dynamic to a story. The push and pull, the connection between individuals, the fights and make-ups, and the scandalous aspect of romance provide any narrative with vigor to fuel the plot. Unsurprisingly, romantic books fly off the shelves. Romantic films fill the theaters. Romance interests people. It captivates us.
Above all, romance makes us want to know more — especially concerning people we say we care about. This is where it gets dangerous. We say we care about our favorite celebrities, and so we ask, “Is Taylor Swift still dating ___?” in the comment sections. This kind of unhealthy “fan behavior” of craving information on celebrities’ love lives fuels the paparazzi industry. Obsessive fans consume paparazzi photos with ravenous enthusiasm. They make videos that micro-analyze every bit of the background in the photo to speculate on the celebrity’s relationship status. This is a clear invasion of privacy, especially because taking those photos often entails stalking and trespassing. At this point, those fans don’t care about the celebrity, regardless of what they may say. Instead, the fans are obsessing; if you care about someone, you don’t put them in danger.
The culture of obsession, disguised under the good name of “fan behavior,” paints an unfair target on a vulnerable group as well. LGBTQIA+ celebrities are thrown in peril because of this cultural fixation on love lives. They are outed before they are ready, a blurry photo of a dinner date suddenly overwhelming their inboxes with death threats, the whines of inconsolable teenagers, and angry notes from betrayed fans. These celebrities find themselves outed and at the mercy of the world overnight, without any warning. No one should be forced to come out before they are ready. It is a right and a duty for others to respect this right. We care about celebrities, so we are in no way entitled to information that they do not wish to reveal. Their choice to be a public figure does not excuse our invasion of their rights. They are, after all, human.
Picture all the middle school truth-or-dares we had to live through — “Who’s your crush?” We acted, and some of us still do, as if our friends owed us their love lives or the lack thereof. We were entitled to know, supposedly, because we cared.
However, the pressure to reveal our “crushes” or “who do we find the most attractive” was beyond an annoyance to many of us, especially to those of us who are not straight. If it was a game among girls, the questions were automatically tuned to a heteronormative point of view; “Who are the hottest guys at school? Top three?” or “Which guy would you date?” were common questions. For my friends and I who were closeted all through middle school, these questions would make us sweat, lie, and toil through having to react to the follow-up laughter or comments appropriately. High school is still a time when people are trying to figure their sexualities, or the lack thereof, out. The culture at Andover and many other high schools that pressure information on each other’s love lives out of people hurts our friends, especially those who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“It’s because we care” can no longer be justification for demanding information on others’ love lives. If you care about someone, you should not put them in dangerous situations for something as trivial as a crush; no speculations, unwelcome questions, demands, threats, or negotiations should be made. As a community, especially one so tight-knit as Andover’s, we should make an effort to move away from the prevalent culture of acting entitled to someone else’s love life. They don’t have to tell you, and you don’t need to know.