Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo and Sabrina Carpenter dominate pop music. Their most visible supporters may be their famous friends.

By | March 29, 2024

From releasing new albums to embarking on world tours that cause a Ticketmaster crash, three of pop music’s most famous women: Taylor Swift, Sabrina Timmerman And Olivia Rodrigo – experienced career highs. Hordes of Swifties, Carpenters and Livies – their respective fandoms – flock to stadiums to watch them perform critically acclaimed shows.

Also among their biggest supporters? Their boyfriends.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, Salt burn star Barry Keoghan and Enola Holmes actor Louis Partridge has emerged as the trifecta of pop star boyfriends who literally show up for their girlfriends while on tour.

Kelce, who attended Swift’s Kansas City stop during her ‘Eras ​​Tour’ in July 2023 even before they started dating, is known for traveling around the world, including to Buenos Aires, Sydney, Australia and Singapore , to encourage her. Keoghan was first paired with Carpenter, Swift’s opening act on her tours of Latin America, Australia and Asia, in December 2023; he was also spotted on all three of her “Eras Tour” sets in Singapore in March. Partridge, who went public with Rodrigo in October 2023, has already appeared at a handful of her “Guts World Tour” shows in the US.

By repeatedly attending shows, recording footage of their performances, connecting with fellow concertgoers and even wearing them tour merchandisethese friends show that they are fans, just like us.

A modern celebrity practice

Katherine Taylor, a music journalist and author of She’s a Badass: Women in Rock Shaping Feminismexplained that in the past there was a tendency to guarantee all that pop stars, and not just female ones, seem romantically ‘available’ to the public.

“The concern was that fans wouldn’t pay as much attention to them if they couldn’t daydream about being in a relationship with them, so having a partner in the photo dashed that hope. However, that kind of approach seems to have disappeared in recent decades,” Taylor told Yahoo Entertainment.

While Kelce, Keoghan, and Partridge aren’t the first celebrities to outwardly support their significant others, their respective public displays of admiration for their partners signal a rejection of societal norms and traditional gender stereotypes, especially in the context of celebrity relationships.

“In the past there was a heterosexual relationship [a] the woman is more successful could be seen as demeaning to the man because it conflicts [with] the traditional view of masculinity where men are seen as dominant over women,” Katariina Kakko, a doctoral candidate at the University of Tampere in Finland with expertise in the interpersonal impact of fame, told Yahoo Entertainment. “Today, views of masculinity are less restrictive and welcome different types of masculinity that are not tied to traditional ‘masculine’ stereotypes. This may also be reflected today in male celebrities feeling more comfortable showing public support for their superstar girlfriends.”

Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram have made the documentation and dissemination of outward expressions of admiration much more easily visible.

“Now that everyone has a video camera in their pocket, it’s easier to capture this kind of support on film,” Michele Ramsey, associate professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Penn State University, told Yahoo Entertainment. “We can’t be sure if it’s new or not, because most of what is now captured on film could not have been distributed as widely as it is today, even ten years ago.”

Taylor added: “It’s relatively new that we can follow these couples’ every move with 24/7 media attention – and younger people have grown up with social media, so they feel much more comfortable revealing details of their lives than older people. for generations, so it seems like these relationships are more prominent because of that exposure.

From ‘groupie’ to ‘superstar’

Ramsey believes the shift away from a “sexist, patriarchal culture” is largely due to the increased consumption of music made by female artists.

In the case of Swift, Carpenter, and Rodrigo, all three stars have all reached career milestones in 2024. In February, Swift became the first artist to win the Grammy for Album of the Year four times and Carpenter earned her first No. 1 at Top 40 Radio with the platinum hit “Feather.” Rodrigo’s debut album was released earlier this month Pickles reached 8.5 million streams on Spotify.

Pop music fandoms, Kakko added, have also historically been linked to female behavior. This may have previously prevented men from publicly identifying themselves as fans of female pop stars.

“Since pop music provides tools for identity construction, male fans in general may have been reluctant to publicly express interest in pop stars. “I think the modern perception of masculinity is more inclusive of men, who express behaviors and characteristics that are traditionally seen as feminine,” she said.

“I can’t think of a time in history when women’s stories have been as central to our culture as they are today. Usually we have a movie or two or maybe a sitcom that focuses on the lives of women, but that’s not the norm. Suddenly you have artists like Taylor Swift telling stories of vulnerability and mistreatment on the radio, on television, in theaters, on stage and on social media,” says Ramsey, who will teach a course titled “Taylor Swift, Gender and Communication” at Penn State in the fall. “That’s groundbreaking and shifts the ‘women’s role’ in music from ‘groupie’ to ‘superstar’ on a massive scale we’ve never seen before.”

To assume that all men are now more likely to publicly support their successful female counterparts would be a generalization. Men like Kelce, Keoghan and Partridge are all famous in their own right and have a significant amount of money and power, which, according to Ramsey, gives them “more freedom to act as they see fit.”

For example, Kelce is the fourth-highest paid tight end in the NFL, with a salary of $14.3 million per season.

“I hope that all men will strive for the goal of outwardly, proudly and loudly supporting their female partners and show the emotional intelligence of some of these men, but I do recognize that when men are not famous, powerful or wealthy, It’s harder to resist those traditional assumptions about masculinity,” she said. “It is not fair to compare the privileges and positions of celebrities to ordinary people.”

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