Over the years, many have questioned the spoon-fed narrative that Taylor Swift is just a simple country girl whose dreams of big-time stardom came true thanks to a combination of hard work, perseverance, and remarkable talent.
Last year, Swift's first guitar teacher exposed a number of lies about the singer's past that were most likely created by talent agents and record label execs, but have been repeatedly regurgitated by Taylor and the most public members of her inner circle.
Last week, Kanye West attacked Taylor in a song with a disturbingly misogynistic bent, and the usual cast of family members and celebrity friends rushed to her defense.
Even supporters who usually steer clear of the spotlight, such as Taylor's brother, got involved by publicly reprimanding West.
Was Kanye out of line? Absolutely. But now, Swift's camp is experiencing some backlash, as some have argued that Team Taylor is taking a bit too much pleasure in publicly bashing a man who seems to be in the midst of an emotional breakdown.
Regardless of whether or not that's true, the feud is inarguably more complex than it initially seemed.
There is not, as many once thought, a clear winner here, even if a recent survey by Nielsen reflects that Taylor is far more popular than West amongst music fans.
In an opinion piece published by The Daily Beast yesterday, writer Marlow Stern argues that the results of the survey should surprise no one.
Despite what we've been told about Swift beating the odds as the ultimate underdog, Stern writes, she is the product of incredible wealth and privilege, a fact that should maybe make us think twice before we applaud her takedown of a self-made black man from Chicago's Southside:
"According to the Swift fairy tale, she is the consummate underdog, an outsider who grew up on a Christmas tree farm and was mercilessly bullied and rejected, but never gave up on her dream of music superstardom.
"That Christmas tree farm Swift grew up on in Pennsylvania was actually purchased from one of Swift’s father’s clients (and the family summered at their oceanfront mansion in Stone Harbor, New Jersey).
"You see, Swift’s father is a very wealthy senior vice president at Merrill Lynch—and the descendant of three generations of bank presidents—while her mother worked at a mutual fund and is the daughter of a rich oilman."
Stern goes on to argue that Taylor has spent years perfecting her persona as "the unpopular geek who deserves your sympathy…while modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch in the eighth grade."
According to Stern and several others who have studied Swift's career, positioning herself as the victim is a strategy that Taylor has used in everything from her feud with Katy Perry to her indignant response to jokes made by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the 2013 Golden Globes.
Obviously, Taylor has a right to defend herself when she feels she's being attacked, and Kanye's remarks were incredibly offensive.
Still, it's not hard to see why some believe that the feud-happy singer has reached a point in her career where she should be left to fight her own battles - and should perhaps be more selective when choosing said battles.