Why Katy Perry’s real life olive branch is a lesson in embracing apologies
09th May 2018
One of the most prolific celebrity feuds of the past few years has finally come to an end – via a literal olive branch. Taylor Swift posted a video on her Instagram story yesterday of a delivery, from longtime foe Katy Perry, of an olive branch and a note, beginning with “Dear old friend”, with the caption “Thank you Katy”.
The feud, which has involved music videos; two top ten songs; countless subtweets and a Carpool Karaoke spill, has spanned five years and all started because of a dispute over backing dancers. In 2013, both artists were gearing up for world tours and Swift invited three dancers who had performed with Perry on her 2011 California Dreams tour to accompany her. They accepted, but while touring with Swift, were approached by Perry’s team to join her on her upcoming Prism tour. Because of their history of performing together, and the fact that Perry was “like family to us”, the dancers accepted, abandoning Swift’s tour in the process. What followed was a very petty and very public back-and-forth between the singers for the next few years, in which veiled insults and vague comments were the only methods of communication between the two.
But now, presumably because Perry and Swift are incredibly successful and busy women with better things to do, they have decided to bury the hatchet and lay the fight to rest.
In 2018, when the overarching theme of the Zeitgeist is female solidarity and support through movements like #TimesUp, it’s heartening to see two female stars engage in mature conflict resolution. But not everyone is content with letting the feud die. Many have criticised Perry for her ‘weakness’ in apologising and sending such a literal symbol of friendship to “snake” Swift. Many simply complained that the feud was over because it wouldn’t provide them with entertainment anymore. In light of the apparently ‘laughably desperate’ gesture, online publication Babe.net, in its infinite wisdom, dedicated an entire article to why Katy Perry should “grow some balls”. Yes, seriously.
Today’s media is obsessed with the idea of the ‘catfight’; two similarly talented, famous women being pitted against each other because obviously, there can only be one. Just recently, social media has been desperately fanning the embers of a non-existent feud between female rappers Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. Since Cardi B has risen to stratospheric fame in the past 12 months, many have assumed that this has plunged more seasoned performer Minaj into a pit of rage and jealousy. But it hasn’t. And how do we know this? Because both Cardi B and Minaj have denied it. Multiple times.
Both Taylor Swift and Katy Perry have played up to their feud to the public much more, which is probably a separate article’s worth of problematic behaviour to unpack. But regardless of the feud’s origins, or how ugly it has become in subsequent years, what we’re focusing on is that they have put it to rest. One of the women has apologised, the other has thanked her for it, and that’s the end of it. A somewhat ridiculous fight has been concluded in a very admirable way, setting an example to both of the women’s fans. The ensuing mocking from social media and self-proclaimed ‘feminist’ websites like Babe.net have painted over the sweet message of the olive branch and replaced it with yet another opportunity to bully and belittle women in the public eye.
Really, the feud should never have existed. Perhaps if we didn’t put so much stock into celebrity friendships and fallouts, it may not have. But the importance of a considered, sincere apology between friends cannot be underestimated, and it’s something we should all be more prepared to do. We all mess up, we all have arguments (big and small) and we should all be ready and willing to apologise when we need to. Take a leaf out of Katy’s olive branch and embrace the apology; don’t embrace the drama.
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