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When we first met the girls that would become Fifth Harmony on The X Factor USA in 2012, I knew that they had the chops to become well-rounded pop stars. The girls: Ally Brooke Hernandez, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane Hansen, Camila Cabello, and Lauren Jauregui were the girl-band response to One Direction that we needed.

Years after the show, they were still searching for their sound. Amid countless album delays, I didn’t know if their full debut would have the impact that their fans, “Harmonizers,” wanted. However, after listening to “Reflection,” I believe it’s an important and representative album for teen girls to listen to today.

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Taylor Swift has changed in many ways since the beginning of her career, including her evolution from country-pop starlet to now making what she labels as “blatant pop music.” With today’s release of her new record, 1989, and the promotional tour that comes with it, I’ve discovered my new favorite Taylor Swift transformation: her newfound sense of self and her feminism.

Throughout her career, Taylor did not take the title of feminist, telling The Daily Beast in 2012, for example, that she doesn’t “really think about things as guys versus girls.”

Now at 24-years-old, and with new friendships to people like Lena Dunham, Taylor seems to have come to terms with the F-word. In an interview last August, she told The Guardian that, “As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities.”

While signing a record deal at age 16 and growing up in the public eye does not excuse past problematic moves in her career, it does remind me of how impacting our culture can be in young people’s actions. Taylor’s transformation also reminds me of how embracing feminism can be a lifelong learning experience.

Theo Wenner

I can pull for Taylor Swift because she’s constantly more and more self-aware, from taking down the media’s double-standard when it comes to female songwriters writing about exes vs. male songwriters writing about exes, to telling the media that she cheers on any female artist expressing her sexuality on her own terms.

The feminist transformation of one of the most visible and successful artists of our time can also open the eyes of many consumers of pop culture. With people like Beyoncé, Emma Watson, and now Taylor Swift openly discussing feminism, our culture can ultimately change the connotation of the word.

“What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all”- Taylor Swift


Taylor Swift’s new album, 1989, is now in stores.