Image description: A cartoonish bottle of the limited-edition Ketchup and Seemingly Ranch condiment in front of a simple background. End ID
Image description: A cartoonish bottle of the limited-edition Ketchup and Seemingly Ranch condiment in front of a simple background. End ID

Illustration by Iman Lalani

No One Should Be This Famous

No one should be famous enough to have the Empire State Building light up for the ranch that they eat with their chicken. On Taylor Swift and the shifting societal discourse around female celebrities

Nov 13, 2023

I swear I am a Taylor Swift fan, a “swiftie,” if you may. Her recent rise to fame is something that I find incredibly interesting and a phenomenon that I think should be explored. To me, Swift is a symbol of women around the world reclaiming their womanhood and being allowed to poeticize their horrific experiences. I also believe that the media narrative around Taylor Swift is indicative of the societal shift around women, their raw emotions, and dating lives. It is not a secret that Swift experienced misogynistic backlash for dating men in the past, but now, the tide has drastically changed. People have always been obsessed with who she’s dating. It used to be because they wanted to shame her for it, but now it seems that people are rooting for her. Considering the current social and political issues pervading the world, I have to ask the following question: is Taylor Swift too famous?
The latest, and definitely one of the most absurd, news to go viral was Swift’s choice of condiments at her new boyfriend’s, Travis Kelce, football game. It all started with this tweet on Sep. 25 that says, “Taylor Swift was eating a piece of chicken with ketchup and seemingly ranch!” The tweet then quickly became the new trend, and everyone was talking about it. People were already making halloween costumes about “seemingly ranch.” The Today Show, The NFL, and Vogue were all releasing statements or articles about the tweet. Heinz released a new limited-edition product called “Ketchup and Seemingly Ranch” and posted about it on their Instagram. The Empire State Building lit up in red and white and captioned a post with the now famous phrase. All of this happened in the span of two days.
This phrase did not just clarify Swift’s popularity; it simultaneously boosted a lot of Kelce’s projects too. Kelce was on a podcast where he spoke about Swift, and unsurprisingly, it gained popularity. One of the many quotes that was endlessly talked about was “It was definitely a game I will remember … then we just slid off in the getaway car at the end. Shoutout to Taylor for coming through!” Swift fans were even more excited at his clever reference to her popular song “Getaway Car.” That podcast episode then reached number one on the Apple charts. Kelce also reportedly saw a 400% increase in Kelce-branded jerseys right after, along with the team selling more tickets in a day than they did since the start of the season. Even former President Donald Trump had an opinion about Swift and Kelce, saying “I wish the best for both of them,” and “I hope they enjoy their life, maybe together, maybe not — most likely not.” These comments came despite her public condemnation of Trump during his presidency.
This is when things started going downhill and became even more morally ambiguous. People began stalking their relationships. They began taking photos of them leaving his house, leaving the football games, or simply spending time together. The toxic comparisons of Alwyn, her former partner, and Kelce also began as they were comparing Alwyn’s poor treatment of Swift and how much either of them showed support and spoke about Swift during their time together. Kelce’s ex-girlfriend then came into the conversation with an incredibly condescending and infantilizing word of advice for Swift. What does all of this tell us about celebrity culture but also the state of the world currently?
More than ever people have begun to feel a deep connection with celebrities online and parasocial relationships have reached an all-time high. I do think that celebrities start conversations that are necessary to be had in society, such as cultural appropriation, conservatorships, domestic abuse, etc. However, I do not think that celebrities should be considered or consulted when cruel political events happen around the world. Through the recent events that have taken place around the world, celebrities are once again placed at the forefront, with some being criticized for their response, and others for their lack thereof. We have been shown time and time again that a lot of celebrities have incredibly differing opinions to the seeming majority, yet we continue to expect them to release perfectly worded statements about the history and contexts of every issue. I also think that the hyperfixation on a celebrity's choice of condiments is insensitive regardless of what time it occurs in, considering that exploitation, genocide, and colonization remain present across several parts of the world. Yes, celebrities are fun to idolize, and watching them traverse through life is incredibly entertaining and insightful. They get us through tough times and make us forget about the problems in the world for a little while. But I think part of that is the issue.
Why is Taylor Swift taking over my X, formerly Twitter, timeline when there are objectively more important things to focus on? Should I really care about her food choices or her spending time with her new boyfriend when I feel suffocated by the news everytime I open Instagram? Everything feels insignificant right now, but which restaurant someone decides to go to or the discourse about why Swift released a concert in documentary form feels even more so. No one should care about that right now, but also, no one should ever stalk her to find out where her and Kelce are or what they are doing. No one should be famous enough to have the Empire State Building light up for the ranch that they eat with their chicken.
Dana Mash'Al is Deputy Columns Editor. Email them at
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