The recent scuttle between Taylor Swift and the Netflix series Ginny and Georgia has left many fans divided. In a heated tweet, Taylor Swift called Ginny and Georgia “deeply sexist” for airing a line that made reference to her dating life.
In the Season 1 finale of Ginny and Georgia, the newly 16-year-old Ginny Miller (Antonia Gentry) gets into an argument with her mom Georgia (Brianne Howey) over her secretive past and relationships. Throughout the series, Georgia’s dating life is scrutinized by her two children as they are tired of their lives changing every time their mom begins dating someone new.
At the beginning of the series, the two children make their mom promise that things will be different when they move to the wealthy town of Wellsbury, MA.
Context is very important in the delivery of the criticized line, as it comes entirely from the mind of an over-emotional 16-year-old who lacks a stable upbringing and has a poor relationship with her mom. In the show’s finale, Ginny is already frustrated at the spectacle of her mom getting engaged to the town’s mayor. This frustration is coupled with Ginny’s dad ending his visit abruptly and her complicated love triangle with two boys at her high school.
During a tense conversation with her mom, Ginny deflects and says, “What do you care? You go through men faster than Taylor Swift.” The young character is quickly reprimanded for this line and the show moves on.
However, this line quickly began being circulated on Twitter, eventually catching the attention of the singer, herself. Taylor Swift responded to the outcry with her own criticism.
She wrote, “Hey Ginny & Georgia, 2010 called and it wants its lazy, deeply sexist joke back. How about we stop degrading hard-working women by defining this horse s**t as funny.”
Swift continued by mentioning her past collaboration with Netflix. She added, “Also, @Netflix after Miss Americana, this outfit doesn’t look cute on you. Happy Women’s History Month I guess.”
How did fans respond?
This caused a huge rift between Taylor Swift fans, who call themselves Swifties, and fans of the show Ginny and Georgia.
Taylor Swift fans have had a history of doxing journalism and creators, revealing their personal information, and sending death threats. This recently happened to a Pitchfork journalist who rated Swift’s Folklore album as an 8/10. After the journalist’s address and phone number were leaked by Swifties, she began receiving death threats — some of which threatened to set her house on fire, so she privated her social media.
This reportedly happened to a defender of Ginny and Georgia who was mistaken to be a writer of the show. The user ended up privating their Twitter account and mass-blocking Swift fans after changing her username to, “Carrie Courogen is not a Ginny & Georgia writer lol.”
Additionally being criticized is the spamming attack that the Taylor Swift fandom unleashed on the series and its actors. Many have poorly rated Ginny and Georgia, in a mass effort to tank the show’s rating among various platforms like Rotten Tomatoes, Google reviews, and IMDb. What separates these ratings from others is that they typically mention their outrage over the delivered Taylor Swift line.
However, not all fans are acting in this manner. Some have come in defense of the actors, despite believing that the line was inappropriate.
One fan wrote, “I love #TaylorSwift. But how about we don’t celebrate and defend one woman by tearing another one down. Antonia Gentry doesn’t deserve to be attacked and you don’t help make the point about people disrespecting Taylor by disrespecting Antonia.”
On the other side, Ginny and Georgia fans are amping up their love for the show and the cast by creating more fan edits and encouraging Netflix to renew the series.
A fan of Ginny and Georgia tweeted, “Me patiently waiting for Season 2 of Ginny & Georgia. Taylor Swift and her fans will not ruin this for me.”
Journalists and writers have also used the controversy to open a deeper conversation about whether or not all characters in a show have to be held to high social standards. Giving the context of Ginny being an awkward and angry teenage girl whose morals have been questioned throughout the series, are all of her lines required to be bias-free? By reprimanding her comment, isn’t that enough to show that the series creators and Netflix don’t condone that sort of sexist behavior?
Writer Olivia Truffaut-Wong tweeted, “This is truly a baffling response to a throwaway line in a TV show about fictional characters. This is not a personal dig at Taylor. It’s just writers imagining how a teen growing up in today’s world might talk. Of course we have internalized misogyny!”
Ginny actor, Antonia Gentry, didn’t respond to the controversy or spamming behavior directly. However, she made an Instagram post to share her love and appreciation for the series.
Gentry wrote, “She [Ginny] makes mistakes — morally, mentally, physically, emotionally — and not just within herself, but within the broken world she lives in.”
Ginny and Georgia is currently streaming on Netflix.