Taylor Swift’s New Approach to Karma is Making Me Rethink My Latina Mother’s Relationship Advice
Taylor Swift has gained a reputation for being a mastermind at telling a good love story. Whether she’s tugging at our heartstrings with the words she knows will touch us all too well or helping us fall deeper in love with our lovers, Swift has a way with relationships that just resonates.
However, many still criticize how many relationships she’s had over the years. Especially who she’s dated and, of course, the songs she writes—or how she adapts them—as her life changes. Such is the case for her latest beau, Chiefs’ Tight End, Travis Kelce.
A recent clip showed the moment Swift changed the lyrics to her song “Karma” during the Argentina leg of her Eras Tour. While performing at Buenos Aires’ Estadio Monumental, Klece and Swift’s father stood in the audience while the song played. Then, the singer sang the chorus, “Karma is the guy on the Chiefs coming straight home to me.” Plot twist or twist of fate?
And while the “Blank Space” singer’s love life has never been a topic I’ve pondered too much on, this latest development reminded me of conversations I’ve had with women in my family in the past.
I realize that it hasn’t just been my reality. But that of many Latinas growing up with cultural pressures around relationships. Thinking that being free to choose differently in our relationships is somehow “bad karma.”
Phrases like “En mi día las relaciones si duraban,””leave something to the imagination,” or “por eso no tienes novio” have created harmful scenarios. Many in which women who find themselves breaking away from the status quo are chastised and reminded that it is due to their “bad behavior.” Well, like Taylor, we’re tired of being the anti-hero and changing the narrative.
For Latinas, the concept of relationship karma comes in the form of being single
As the holiday season approaches, many Latinas are getting two things ready: their outfits and ability to divert commentary from their tías, abuelas, and mamás. Questions such as “Where’s the novio?” “Are you planning to have children anytime soon?” or “How are you still single?” have become so common at family events they’re almost cliché.
Even more, commentary surrounding weight, clothes, and work amount to the anxiety and dreadfulness of the entire interaction. But also, for our entire upbringing, it has created shame and guilt surrounding our romantic relationships.
In my case, my family often wonders how I am still single. My other primas are already having children, weddings, and engagements. In the meantime, I’m traveling the world and scaling my career.
I often tell them it’s because I have a clear idea of the relationship I want. The kind of person I’d like to build a home with. This is often met with skepticism.
When I tell my abuela I want to be my partner’s partner and not his mother, my grandmother scoffs, “I’ll be alive to see if that’s true.” This makes me wonder, isn’t she proud she raised a granddaughter that stands in her own power?
And, of course, there’s my mother and her theories on attraction, relationships, and the rules women should abide by to keep men from leaving or being disinterested. All of which I rebuke consistently because, like Swift, I’m not settling until I find the karma I want.
My mother thinks the key to attraction is “leaving something to the imagination.” As a sex and relationship coach, I disagree
When my family found out that I was getting my master’s in sex coaching, it came as a huge surprise and a bit of pushback. But to their credit, they’ve been good sports about it ever since, with the occasional snarky comment—cue in my mother’s “leaving something to the imagination” theory. I’ll explain.
This states that people will pursue you or be more interested in having a relationship with you if you put off having sex, kissing, showing interest, and, of course, if you put on this “niña buena” character. No showing off too much or too little skin, and definitely not being opinionated.
And while I can understand how other generations subscribed to this incredibly machista way of thinking in the past, it takes away an essential component that is vital to any relationship— confidence.
If women are consistently acting solely based on these cheap notions of attraction, they will inevitably end up conforming to what society wants and expects of them, not what they truly want. What happens after there’s nothing “left to the imagination”? Do you grow a third breast? Change your hair color? Invent a new identity?
The reality is we shouldn’t be looking for relationships where we are not accepted as who we are and what we bring to the table. Unfortunately, many people leave relationships nowadays because of boredom and an inability to work through problems. But it’s more tied to a lack of communication, fear of commitment, and lack of empathy than it is to nuance.
Do human beings need change? Yes. Do they need stability? Yes. But do women have to consistently adapt themselves to accommodate the male gaze? Absolutely not. Autonomy, the ability to choose, and our endless capability for love make many relationships and individuals thrive.
Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s relationship proves you can always love again, even with the possibility of heartbreak
I wouldn’t consider myself a Swiftie, but one of the selling points of Swift’s music and career is that she no longer seems to care about people’s opinions. After her breakup with actor Joe Alwyn after six years, fans had theories that pointed out her “Midnights” album might be about him.
While ET Online reported their split was “amicable,” many took to social media to criticize the “Lavander Haze” singer. Meanwhile, they still wanted her to spill the tea about their fallout.
Funnily enough, as much as we can relate to Swift’s breakups, what truly fills us the most is seeing our ability to fall in love again reflected in such a big star. Yes, there was Joe Jonas, John Mayer, Jake Gyllenhaal, and many others.
But above all, there’s a Taylor. A woman who, despite society telling her what she should and shouldn’t do, is standing in her own power. Choosing her own karma, for better or worse.