CHASIcast 12: Chelsea Klassen on the academic folklore of Taylor Swift

The new year brings something sweeter than fiction, as the CHASIcast examines the surprisingly academic folklore hidden behind a pop culture juggernaut. Join host Dr. Martha Dow and CHASI’s lead researcher Chelsea Klassen as they tackle the sociological and psychological facets of Taylor Swift’s work, and how her fearless advocacy and engaging relationship with her fans are blanketing the music world in a lavender haze.

Click here to read the Time magazine article discussed during the episode.

The CHASIcast is available to stream on your favourite podcast service – Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Google Podcasts, and Amazon Music/Audible. You can also listen to the latest episode below.

Photo showing Chelsea Klassen and Dr. Martha Dow speaking into microphones. A quote attributed to Chelsea reads: “Looking at celebrity and controversy, how do we conceptualise the controversy that happened with the VMAs? How do we understand heroes and villains in popular culture? How do we talk about race?” End of quote. Beneath, Chelsea’s titles are listed as “Lead Researcher, Community Health and Social Innovation Hub” and “Sessional Instructor, School of Social Justice and Global Stewardship.”

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CHASIcast voice-over  00:01

Coming up, on the CHASIcast …

Chelsea Klassen  00:03

I mean, her power politically is unparalleled in a lot of ways …

CHASIcast voice-over  00:08

CHASI lead researcher Chelsea Klassen talks about the surprisingly academic “folklore” of being a Swiftie.

Chelsea Klassen  00:15

Looking at celebrity and controversy, how do we conceptualise the controversy that happened with the VMAs? How do we understand heroes and villains in popular culture? How do we talk about race?

CHASIcast voice-over  00:25

It’s something “sweeter than fiction” – in this episode of the CHASIcast.

CHASIcast voice-over  00:35

From UFV’s Community Health and Social Innovation Hub, this is the CHASIcast: a program dedicated to bringing experts and insights to the issues that shape our lives, because Words Have To Matter. Now, here’s your host, Dr. Martha Dow.

Martha Dow  00:56

So it’s my pleasure today on our CHASIcast to have Chelsea Klassen. And Chelsea, I have the good fortune of working with you in CHASI as you’re the lead researcher there. So it’s such a privilege. And obviously you also teach at our Global Development Studies program. Welcome.

Chelsea Klassen  01:15

Thank you.

Martha Dow  01:16

And I’d love if you could tell us a little bit about yourself, your journey, what you do here at UFV. That would be great.

Chelsea Klassen  01:22

Yeah, I’d love to! So I started my journey at UFV in Fall 2011, I graduated high school and came to university and really didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study. But I knew I wanted to do some higher learning. So I did a semester. And I saw my friends going off and doing some travelling and getting, you know, experiences outside of Abbotsford. And so I thought I wanted to maybe get some more experiences. So I did a bit of travelling and then I decided I wanted to come back and do … some more classes. And I found myself in your Sociology 101 class, Martha, and that class transformed my life.

Chelsea Klassen  02:00

I got to see the world in a way that expose so many of the things you kind – I kind of knew or saw but didn’t have words or language for. So that’s what I think, you know – your delivery of the material as well as just learning about, you know, different perspectives in sociology really changed me. So, I … I ended up doing a minor in sociology, but I also took a class – GDS 100, Global Development Studies 100. And I … I love that I can use the global perspective with the sociological lens. So I like to combine the two. So I decided to major in global development studies, and I actually finished with my two year associate in Global Development – err, I think it was International Development at the time, and went to Afghanistan for four months in 2017.

Chelsea Klassen  02:51

That was another transformative moment in my professional area in my career, I guess, where I … I guess I had a perspective shift on what development should and shouldn’t look like. And so, I met an amazing doctor there who had been working in the country for a number of years. And I feel very blessed that she was able to show me a really amazing example of how to do international development well, because it can be done wrong in a lot of ways, as – you know, many different disciplines can be used in different ways. And she suggested I do my master’s programme at the University of Sussex. So she said her and her husband, she said, “if we ever went back to school, this is where we would study.” And I thought, “I really respect these people. So I think I should take this advice and maybe explore this.”

Chelsea Klassen  03:42

So, I came back, I had – had my two year degrees, I came back to UFV, finished my bachelor’s in Global Development Studies, and a minor in sociology and Latin American Studies. And – yeah, in my upper levels, I had the privilege of doing, you know, I think your public policy course, Martha, and a number of other courses that helped shape – yeah, my experiences. And then, yeah, went … got into a program, worked in Laos for six months at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, working in alternative development, which was, you know, another kind of shift where I saw both the opportunities that large scale institutions like the UN can provide for international development professionals, but also some of the constraints and inefficiencies in large systems. So that was a really amazing learning opportunity as well.

Chelsea Klassen  04:34

Then, I went back to Afghanistan one more time, and got to teach ice skating with an organization called Free to Run. And that was another amazing moment, kind of, in my professional journey, where … I really love using sports and activities and seeing women empowered through sports and not in, like … not “empowered,” because I have a problem with that word, and I could go on about this maybe in a minute, but women … yeah, maybe we’ll come back to “empowerment.” But I saw that – that opportunities that sports provides. And so I thought, “I really would like to do my master’s work in – in women’s sports.”

Chelsea Klassen  05:12

So … we all know what happened in March 2020. I thought, “you know what, I want to do my master’s. And I think this is a good time,” because, you know, everything was kind of in upheaval, but I knew that I could still study, that was one thing that was kind of still there, dependent, you know, the modality was still unsure, I ended up doing my whole master’s online. But yeah, I did my master’s in International Development. Or – I think technically, it’s Development Studies at University of Sussex at the Institute of Development Studies. So I got to do my masters research on women’s sports in Afghanistan. And I did my interviews, through Zoom, because – for multiple reasons, I couldn’t travel at the time because of COVID, as well as the security issues with Afghanistan. But … I found some really interesting findings from that research, where I kind of created a model that was called the “aspirational cycle” or “aspiration cycle,” where I saw the effects of one woman being visible in Afghanistan in a – in an athletic pursuit, and that really having resounding effects for other women – so having that visibility. And as – course, as we all know, now women are not able to go out freely in public. So the impacts of all my findings, you know, it only highlights how important it is. It was really cool hearing from the women that I spoke to, like – even some participants mentioned other participants that had inspired them. So it’s a small community of women, but it’s also a very strong community.

Chelsea Klassen  05:50

And so … yeah, I finished my master’s research in July of 2021. August 2021, hits where the Taliban – the Taliban take over, and I was supposed to submit my – my, they call it the dis – your thesis, your dissertation in the UK. So suppose to submit, you know, basically my final paper. And I – I tell this story, because I want students to feel comfortable that they need to take care of themselves. So at that time, of course, I was not in danger myself. But many of my participants were reaching out to me, many of my friends from Afghanistan, were reaching out to me. And so I really had to make sure that I was trying to support them as best I could, with whatever I could provide, which was limited at the time.

Chelsea Klassen  07:37

And of course, Canada has played a role in Afghanistan. So there was a lot of expectation around what response might look like. And we were at an election cycle at that time, as well … so unfortunately, international diplomacy was used as a bit of a tool, in some ways to … you know, basically, Justin Trudeau had announced that he was going to be taking Afghan refugees to Canada, which – many people knew I was Canadian. So that just meant a lot of people were reaching out to me. So, for obvious – like, obviously, they were because they wanted an opportunity to come somewhere safe.

Chelsea Klassen  08:11

And so yeah, that was … I ended up extending my submission just because I was trying to emotionally manage, because a masters is – you know, can be stressful enough on its own. But then you have this added layer of, like, wanting to support people. So yeah, I just – yeah, I just think students need to be mindful of, like, you need to gauge extenuating circumstances and know what – what’s important to deal with at a time. So I guess that’s a little bit about my background.

Chelsea Klassen  08:41

And now, after finishing my master’s, and throughout I was – throughout my masters, as well as after Laos, I was working as a research assistant at CHASI, as you know, because I’d graduated from UFV, so I was able to work on some really interesting projects, looking at COVID. And then I came back as – yeah, the … a research assistant and Senior Researcher, and then – er, Senior Research Assistant, and now Lead Researcher. And so I’ve worked on a number of different projects. And my, you know, a big one that I worked on that stands out to me that I can highlight is the flood report. So, working with the team and working alongside Archway, we helped develop a report that looked at the social impacts of the flood. So yeah, and then I also teach sessionally at the university. So I teach mostly Introduction to Global Development Studies. And then last summer, I had the opportunity – this past summer I had the opportunity to do a class on Afghanistan. So yeah, that’s my long introduction.

Martha Dow  09:42

No, that’s amazing. It just reminds me that we have to, at some point, just have a conversation on CHASIcast about your work in Afghanistan and where that all stands, because I learn something new from you all the time. So – and thank you, certainly, for your very generous attribution around some of our courses, and it’s such a pleasure to have you, obviously, in CHASI every day. So that brings us to what we’re here to talk about today, which is so interesting – I love the introduction you just did because I think it’s also this interesting connection to Taylor Swift, right? So could you tell us what brought you to Taylor Swift? And – and then I’ve got some questions. We’ve talked lots in CHASI about all of this … students have engaged. So yeah, let’s start there.

Chelsea Klassen  10:25

Sure. So when I was in late middle school, early high school, I remember seeing Taylor Swift’s music video “Teardrops on My Guitar,” which is from her debut – her debut album, and that was such a … yeah, just a beautiful music video. And just the fact that she wrote all her own music as like a – probably I was 14 or 15 at the time, maybe even younger seeing that … yeah, I was like, I was 13. Yeah, so seeing that was like, “wow, that’s really cool. She’s, like, a teenager like me.” And she’s able to write this music – her own music and tell a story, right? So that story is about a girl who’s in love with a boy in her, and he’s her friend, and he doesn’t, you know, know she’s alive kind of thing, doesn’t recognize that she’s, like, pining after him. Which is a relatable story to a lot of, you know, girls at that age. So I remember that was kind of my first, like, visual like, “oh my goodness, this is such a cool song and cool story.”

Chelsea Klassen  11:36

And she also – the other thing that – that kind of invited you in was she, like, named the guy: his name was Drew. And so of course, the poor guys in our high school who were named Drew would always get us singing that song to him, but, you know, the … the like, “oh, this is like – she’s personalizing this, like, she’s making it like, about somebody in her life, you kind of know, like, who that person is,” was really intriguing. So that’s just a … I think she was just foreshadowing, you know, how she’ll … yeah, how she’s connected so well to her audiences. So that was kind of the first introduction, I would say to, to Taylor. So yeah.

Martha Dow  12:21

So then it grows. Because as we’re sitting here, and I’m looking at your t-shirts, Taylor Swift –

Chelsea Klassen  12:25

[laughs] Yeah.

Martha Dow  12:26

– and other sorts of memorabilia on, uh, on the – so then it obviously grows.

Chelsea Klassen  12:31


Martha Dow  12:31

Can you talk a little bit about that?

Chelsea Klassen  12:32

Sure, yeah. So I also at the time really enjoyed writing songs. So obviously, I took so much inspiration from her. So my parents bought me a guitar, I even had a chance to like work at a recording studio in Abbotsford and make some, like, write some songs and record some songs. So seeing – you know, that was an example that I drew from her. So her next album after debut was Fearless, which is where she got more widespread popularity. So debut was primarily played on, like, country radio. So that’s another thing we could – we could, I mean, I could talk about her forever, but the country to – kind of pop crossover. So that’s where Fearless started having more pop airplay, although, you know, debut did as well.

Chelsea Klassen  13:16

So that’s her first headlining tour. So I got to see that in Seattle. I was 15. I went with some friends from high school. And … yeah, like, even at that tour, her dad was like riding around on his segway, like handing out guitar picks. So just that, like, and she talks about this and, you know, you probably saw, she was recently named Time’s Person of the Year for 2023. Like, she calls it a small family business. So that really, like – if you’re playing a stadium tour, and you have somebody’s parent walking around, obviously, he was probably so proud of her and wanted to connect with fans that way, but that’s, like, super memorable. Like, I can’t think of really any other … you know, celebrity whose, whose maybe family at the level that she is, is just so engaged with the fans as well. So that – that’s really inviting.

Chelsea Klassen  14:06

And then, of course, we, you know, we all saw the Kanye, you know, 2008 VMA award … upstaging, so, that also, you know, that made you feel really compassionate for her and highlighted a lot of the gendered issues that she was facing and has subsequently faced in the, you know, the next like, whatever, 15 ish years of her career. So, yeah, that all happened while I was still in high school. So yeah.

Martha Dow  14:37

Interesting. Well, and as soon as you start talking about gender, right, so I mean, I – I’m thinking sociologically, and I know we’ve talked, so – so what I mean, I know one of the things you’re interested in is thinking from a course point of view. There have been a – it sounds like there’s been a few courses that have already been delivered. Can you talk a little bit about, you know, lots of people still want to trivialize who she is, what she does … I mean, I don’t – from an economic point of view, it’s just crazy. So can you talk a little bit about that?

Chelsea Klassen  15:06

Yeah, so the – the gender component. I’ve heard multiple sides to that, right. So some people will say a lot of her strength, obviously comes from the fact that she’s a woman, she taps into a fan base that, you know, was previously untapped. And I think that there’s a lot of truth to that, that a lot of her success comes from that. But then there’s also the side of gender where she’s faced, you know, she’s had a sexual assault case go through where she stood for $1. And actually won, and it was a symbolic case. And, and if you watch her documentary documentary, Miss Americana, you really see that she, that’s a turning point in her career where she really she starts to become more politically vocal.

Chelsea Klassen  15:49

So that intersection of the gender and the political is huge. So I’ll read this quote from times, which says, maybe this is the real Taylor Swift effect that she gives people, many of whom are women, particularly girls, she makes their interior lives matter. So at least I felt that as as a fan, and I know my friends as well, like, another quote from the article talks about how, you know, she she’s so personal, and I alluded to that right, but it’s not when you listen to the music, you don’t necessarily think about what she’s experienced at the time, you’re able to connect it to what happened to you. So, like, I know, my friends and I, we always talk about, like, you know, she has a very popular song called All Too Well, that wasn’t a radio success, or single from her Red album, but was, you know, has gone on to now when, I think a Grammy Award for music, video or short film, that she’s rereleased. Right, so the rerelease of her music, but that that song has so much meaning for people and we all are my friends and I will be like, who’s your all too well song? Or you know, who’s the person you think of when you hear that song? So we, we know who she you know, or there’s a, there’s speculation as to who she wrote that song about. But I think that making the interior lives of women matter.

Chelsea Klassen  17:12

And then talking about the economic perspective, I mean, Swift says In the article, if we have to speak stereotypically about the feminine and the masculine, women have been fed the message that we naturally gravitate towards girlhood feelings, love breakups, analysing those feelings, talking about the nonstop glitter and sequins. We’ve been taught that those things are more frivolous than the things that stereotypically gendered men gravitate toward. And she says, so actually, if we’re going to look at this in the most cynical way possible, feminine, feminine ideas becoming lucrative means that more female art will be getting made. So you know, she’s tapped into such a cultural moment, I think, in such a successful way. Economically, so, yeah.

Martha Dow  17:59

Interesting. So what would that course look like?

Chelsea Klassen  18:04

Yeah, so I’ve been working on an outline. And it’s, it’s hard to put everything on someone’s almost 20 or more career into like a, you know, a course. But what I’ve thought about looking at is, you know, going through her albums, talking about adolescence and privilege to write many people will talk about how, you know, while she was not perhaps uber wealthy, she did come from privilege, right. So she even in the article alludes to it as a, you know, her family as being involved as a small family business. So both her parents come from a marketing and financial background, right. So it’s hard to imagine her having the success she has without that support of her family as well, in terms of driving kind of the, the engine or the machine of her of her brand.

Chelsea Klassen  18:52

Also looking at feminism, sorry, feminism and country music. So, you know, she was able to do the successful pop country crossover, like Shania was before her but she also has been exposed to some of the issues that happen when with women and country music, right. So we have the Dixie Chicks situation, or the Chicks as they’re now called, issue where they talked about George Bush, and that was not well received by the country music, you know, fans and radio, right. So she was I think that was a huge hesitation for her to get more political.

Chelsea Klassen  19:32

So we’ll talk a little bit about, you know, Dolly Parton’s role in her writing as well as other artists to looking at celebrity and controversy. How do we conceptualise the controversy that happened with the VMAs? Because there’s different perspectives there’s different you know, how do we understand heroes and villains in popular culture? How do we talk about race? Right? How do we talk about age? How do we naturally gravitate towards like villains and heroes in popular culture? gender as we’ve talked about, and celebrity, right, so double standards. And, you know, how is this shaped by societal expectations?

Chelsea Klassen  20:10

Another thing we I would like to dive into with students is sexuality and celebrity. So for Taylor Swift, there has been a lot of speculation, so much so that there’s a whole genre of fans that embrace the “Gaylor” as it’s called, and talk about about her and speculate on her sexuality, right? So looking at different factions of the fandom. And, and her roots, right? So her country roots and how, how that plays a role as well.

Martha Dow  20:37

Can I ask you just on that the sexuality piece? It’s interesting. So did she foster that? Does she have – you know, can you talk a little bit about that?

Chelsea Klassen  20:45

Yeah, and again, like, I’m speculating here as a fan, and as a, you know, who’s someone who’s studied a bit of sociology, but there’s a couple songs that that have, I think, you know, LGBTQ overtones, she also came out with a song called you need to calm down, where at the end, she has a message in support of glad she has lyrics in there that allude to glad. So I think, you know, her music has expressed support, again, people there’s, there’s critiques and things of how she goes about it, but even her song Lavender Haze, right. I mean, we’ve talked about that in, in our in CHASI, just that is coded with, you know, LGBTQ+ kind of history that, you know, you would be better to speak to, but that, but I think it’s, it’s interesting.

Chelsea Klassen  21:42

With her 1989 rerelease that she just released in late October, she did actually have a comment about how people even sexualized her female friends. So she realised that there was so much critique on her with with going out with different different men. And so she decided to surround herself with female friends to try to combat kind of some of those critiques in a way, or try to lessen them. And then she she did make a comment about how this era of her of her career was even sexualized. So, again, that, that that could that could still mean that there’s truth to some of the galer theories, but it also is her kind of stating like, you know, I think she’s not really ever going to maybe tell everything, because she doesn’t do that with any any type of relationship she’s in. So I don’t know if that makes sense.

Martha Dow  22:34

It does. And I just quick – and then I know, I’m sure there’s – it sounds so interesting. I’d love – to be honest, I’d love to take your course.

Chelsea Klassen  22:40


Martha Dow  22:41

But … she has her songs.

Chelsea Klassen  22:44


Martha Dow  22:44

Is she also out politically, in other ways?

Chelsea Klassen  22:48

Yeah! So she is quite supportive of Democratic candidates in Tennessee, which is I, I believe her kind of state of voting I would imagine, you know, she has multiple homes. So I can’t say for sure. But yeah, like when she released that voter registration opened, they saw I think, I think this year, it was about 35,000 people registered, more so than they expected or something along those lines. So I mean, her her power, politically is, is unparalleled in a lot of ways.

Chelsea Klassen  23:21

I know she, you know, if you watch Miss Americana, there’s, there’s quite a heartbreaking scene where her family and managers are trying to avoid like trying to tell her not to speak out on the side of Democrats, for fear of her safety. But then she actually lists the different bills and things that the Republicans in that state are supportive, and one of them is AI. I’m gonna get the exact title wrong, but something around supporting women who are who are being stalked or who are being harassed. And she’s, she says to her managers and her family, like I’m a victim of this, like, I have stalkers. I’ve had, you know, harassment happened to me and so yeah, like she that’s the I think that was maybe a turning point for her where she started to become more active politically.

Chelsea Klassen  24:09

And then I mean, if we’re talking about political we can know in the US particularly not talk about the economic. So her … the Super Bowl games that she’s attending now that she’s been linked with Travis Kelce have seen the highest rating since the Superbowl. Right, like she’s made something that is, you know, perhaps at the pinnacle or top of American popular culture even more popular somehow. And so, yeah, I think that’s an in you know, she brought more she opened her areas touring Glendale, which had the Superbowl and she brought in more economic traffic than the Superbowl itself, which is like for America, I feel like saying quite a lot. So yeah.

Martha Dow  24:51

And yet still so much resistance. But before we get to that, because I thought that’s a nice place for you to have some comments as well. I think it’s interesting what you just said. So, in the discussion about stalking and harassment legislation, she’s seen herself in other people’s stories. And that’s kind of what you talked about what many fans gravitate to her because they see themselves in the storytelling. So it feels like there’s some reciprocity. And I don’t know, I haven’t been to a concert, I don’t … so you know, you’re the expert, but it feels relational in an interesting way.

Chelsea Klassen  25:23

Yeah, it’s, it – I mean, for myself, having been a fan of her since I was, you know, in middle school, we’ve also grown up together. So it’s like, I have a soundtrack for each era of my life, which feels really cool. And going through those, like, you know, she literally released the song “15” when I turned 15. So it’s like, when you’re learning to drive and you and go on your first date, and kind of, you know, milestones that happen in those few years. And she’s, you know, she knows that fans, for example, like fought, not physically but with technology to try to get tickets. So in the Times article, she talks about how she knew how hard fans had worked to get those tickets. So she was going to work just as hard so that when people walked away, they were like, from the concert, they were like, “Oh my gosh, like, that was worth every … every moment.” So you feel that she puts care into everything she does for her fans. And that she I think she’s a perfectionist, I think that she’s she’s, she cares so much about what fans what fans need and what they want.

Chelsea Klassen  26:37

And so you really feel that as a fan, that it’s not when she’s experimenting or, you know, because she’s she’s shapeshift genres so much she’s gone from country to pop, to more, you know, Reputation would be considered pop but it’s great like grittier than she has folklore and evermore which are much more indie. And somehow, she’s managed to add fans, like, I don’t know, many artists who can shape shift like that and not, like lose some fans along the way. So she’s – I would argue she’s not only like bringing fans with her, but she’s kind of changing the face of popular music. And we’re, you know, we’re willingly going along with it. Like we’re, I think everyone’s quite excited to see what’s going to happen next. She with this rerelease of her music, and just like the one minute version on that, like, her music, her masters. So her original six albums were owned by the masters were owned by her record label, which got sold to Scooter Braun. And there’s, you know, some bad blood between those two. And so, she has decided to rerecord her music because her contract allowed her to do that. And of course, fan, you know, she, Kelly Clarkson actually sparked that tweeted, tweeted Taylor and it’s very sweet because Taylor every time she releases a rerecord, she sends Kelly Clarkson some flowers.

Chelsea Klassen  28:02

But all that to say is that fans will follow and listen to these re records now because she’s releasing vault tracks she’s releasing, you know, she’s looking she’s introspective, looking back or retrospective, I guess, looking back on her career. And so she just keeps keeps you know, doing and giving so much to the fans about these these vault tracks that were never before heard. And some of the songs are like how did you not release the song? It’s a classic hit. But yeah, it’s very, it’s – it’s – it’s, she’s keeping us on our toes always. And that’s so, like – as a fan, it’s so engaging to have that – that relationship with her. Yeah.

Martha Dow  28:46

I interrupted you in terms of –

Chelsea Klassen  28:48

No, that’s okay!

Martha Dow  28:48

Is there anything else that sort of you think about the course. And then I thought in the in the little bit of time we have left? I’d love to ask you a bit about so much resistance.

Chelsea Klassen  28:57

Yeah, sure. Just a couple more things. I mean, I think in her documentary, Miss Americana, she talks about, like some mental health stuff, she talks about, you know, some eating disorder types of things. And I think for many people, that was also a relate to a relatable point where you’re like, oh, like, you’re so famous and popular and beautiful, and you still have some of the same struggles that people have, you know, or you know, and it affects both genders, but it often affects women. And so, yeah, she even in a song of her recent most recent album, Midnight’s talks about how she like starved her body had parties was just trying to get people’s, you know, love and adoration but at the end, the song’s called, You’re On Your Own Kid, and that’s actually become, you know, a very fan favourite song.

Chelsea Klassen  29:53

And so that one, I think, well, we’ll talk a bit about like health and well being and how she you know, she’s also has a few other songs. Soon You’ll Get Better, which is a song, she wrote about her mom’s belt with cancer. She wrote a song called Epiphany, which looks at people’s experiences of COVID. And eluding them to kind of some experiences during war. So she talks about doctors, Bigger Than the Whole Sky is another song that she wrote that hasn’t been confirmed that it’s about this, but if you read the lyrics could be about a miscarriage. And then she has a couple other songs about other things that like suicide and things like that.

Chelsea Klassen  30:33

So again, all – it’s not explicit, it’s – it’s coded. But I don’t know how you write such popular pop songs about these things, even something like antihero. So we’re going to explore some of that with health and well being. And then we’ll talk to I’m hoping in the course the other thing I would just highlight is this like swift and ecomics. Like I think I’m quite curious to see what Vancouver’s social and economic impact will be from Taylor Swift. I think there’s a lot of opportunities there for municipalities and the city to really capitalise on on promoting Taylor Swift as a marketable, you know, component of the city for the few are like the week or so before she comes in December 2024. So, yeah!

Martha Dow  31:22

Great. So maybe the last thing I’d like, love to hear you talk about is this resistance, right. So and it’s whether it’s trivialised, or whether it’s simply Why do we have so much importance on a celebrity? I think you’ve spoken to that an awful lot about why, but I wonder if you know, speak to that. How do we understand that?

Chelsea Klassen  31:43

Yeah, the resistance. Um, I think it’s sometimes just good old, like fashioned misogyny, like … a powerful woman. Because I’ve heard comments like, you know, “well, she has ghostwriters,” or “oh, she,” you know, like “Kanye made her.” There’s a lot of resistance to, you know, “Kanye made her famous” and he’s even said that himself. But yeah, at the end of the day, like we saw this summer, right? With a trifecta of female, kind of, economic juggernauts with Beyonce is Renaissance tour, which was also phenomenal. We saw the Barbie movie and we had kind of the Eras tour, just reinvigorating the economy and basically entered like women, entertainers and entertainment targeting women, like holding up the economy.

Chelsea Klassen  32:33

So I don’t think like if if people are taking up space that was traditionally taken up by different parts of the different parts of the of demographics. Like, I think people there will be some resistance to that. I think people still trivialise women’s feelings. Like, again, Taylor Swift does not discriminate on who can relate to her music. But she is often writing from the female experience. So like, that’s, I guess the takeaway is people will resist because they don’t see it as valid. And that’s, that’s both the the critique or the resistance. And it’s her strength. I think that people feel heard. People feel validated, people feel like, oh, there’s someone out there who who can relate to me.

Chelsea Klassen  33:23

And also like, the COVID, I think, I’ve seen some interesting economic statistics about how she had regularly toured about every two or three years and COVID kind of had this backlog of tour experiences that left people wanting more, but I think people had time to kind of dive into her music and she released two albums, almost right back to back and I was just talking to my friend yesterday about that actually, like really cool, we don’t really feel like we know the evermore her her ninth album as well, because we should just release folklore two months before. And so just that, giving us an indie like, feelings driven very more much more mellow album during that time. Like she she also somehow can kind of just read what culture she she both shapes what culture is, and can read what culture does and I think, yeah, that I guess I kind of got sidetracked there. But with respect to resistance, I think it really comes down to a lot of just the the patriarchy and resisting women having those top kind of roles. And yeah, so that would probably be what I would end with.

Martha Dow  34:33

Well, it’s great. And I actually love what you said about, you know, the shaping culture and also just reading culture –

Chelsea Klassen  34:38


Martha Dow  34:38

– and just being attentive. And I think your example of what she released during COVID is such a great example of that. Well, it’s great. It’s been so much fun just to listen to you talk and – and with such insight, and I think we’ve certainly seen other universities offering courses … it’s such an interesting sort of topic, if you will, because it’s interdisciplinary as you talked about it as well. So yeah, I – I look forward to the course.

Chelsea Klassen  35:01

Hopefully it’ll come to fruition.

Martha Dow  35:03

Great. Well, thanks very much for joining us today.

Chelsea Klassen  35:05

Thanks Martha!

Martha Dow  35:06

Our Knowledge Mobilization Team includes Jeff Mijo-Burch, Kristen Bencze, Andrea Moorhouse, Frankie Fowle, Mara Penner, Sharon Strauss, and Emma Hones. Our theme music is by Chris Majka. I’m Dr. Martha Dow. Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you next time here on the CHASIcast.

CHASIcast voice-over  35:28

The CHASIcast is a production of the Community Health and Social Innovation Hub at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia.