Swift has gotten a lot of grief because the song, apparently, is a thinly veiled diss of Jake Gyllenhaal. This is in line with previous songs, her subtextual critics suggest, with a string of songs aimed at exes and occasionally their new girlfriends. For her part, Swift doesn't entirely deny that her songs come out of her experiences, or that some of them are indeed, about a specific person or event.
That is usally how one writes a song.
I'm sort of struck by the obvious sexism at play in this, and by the blindness of otherwise sensitive types (like Jezebel) to the double standard at work. It's as if all that material written by high profile male rockstars to their (often equally high profile) girlfriends and exes never happened. Did nobody hear the backstory of "My Sharona"? Or how Dylan aimed a string of (actually rather bitchy) singles at his girlfriends from the sixties (including, just as a for instance, Edie Sedgwick)? How about something more recent - did no one listen to the words to "Gives You Hell" by All American Rejects? (Yeah, I don't love it either... but still).
Apparently, it's wrong for a woman to complain about bad boyfriends... or something. Or perhaps it's just that Swift's kiss-offs are aimed at young, handsome, popular celebrity men whose puppy dog reps (even a dog like John Mayer) preclude thinking badly of them in the public sphere. Perhaps it's simply the charmed nature of Swift's career and her own super-sweet public persona. I know I resisted at first, but Swift's chops as a musician and songwriter have become simply impossible to dismiss or ignore. And that, really, is why a song like "We are never ever getting back together" has sting.
Whatever the case for resistance and ugly backlash, I can't help the feeling that if Swift were a man and the disses in question were aimed at ex-girlfriends we wouldn't be having this backlash and the star would be a hero, not a bitch. And that's just like... ew.