I’ve been kicking around this theory for a while. I am not a doctor. I am a learning specialist who works with neurodiverse teenagers.
I am also not alone. Psychologist Rachel Kitson published her two- part perspective on Taylor Swift in 2013.
“Her drive and focus, coupled with an always present unselfconscious social and physical awkwardness, in addition to the subject matter and style of her lyrics and songwriting process also has given rise to a hypothesis between myself and colleague, Dr. Kelley Bolton: Taylor Swift seems a little Aspie!”
Asperger’s formerly referred to the “high- functioning” end of autism spectrum disorders. It no longer serves as a clinical diagnosis, but some “Aspies” still identify positively with the label. AutismSpeaks.org says Asperger’s typically involves difficulty with social interactions, a desire for sameness, remarkable focus and persistence, an aptitude for recognizing patterns, and high attention to detail. Aspies can struggle with nonverbal communication, anxiety, social interactions, and conversation.
Taylor Swift has remarkable focus and persistence when it comes to songwriting and empire- building. She has spoken several times about her meticulous attention to detail when designing albums and tours. She demonstrates an aptitude for recognizing patterns in her talent for songwriting, a process completely made up of patterns.
Taylor also struggles with social interactions. She faced criticism for going through boyfriends quickly. She says she struggled with making friends in school and went through periods of life without friendship. Furthermore, her “squad” of girlfriends fell apart quickly. Unstable relationships can stem from difficulty with social interactions.
At 29, her lyrics detail the same social problems she had at 15. This could come from living in a bubble of fame, or it could come from something more developmental and genetic. Her lyrics on “Lover” indicate emotional immaturity. “I never grew up, it’s getting so old,” she sings on “The Archer”. On “Bad Blood”, she sings, “Now we got problems/ And I don’t think we can solve them”, effectively ending a friendship. “ME!” has the lines: “I know that I went psycho on the phone/ I never leave well enough alone/And trouble’s gonna follow where I go”. These lines suggest Taylor acts volatile in relationships and has trouble learning from her mistakes. Most of Taylor’s songs have some confession of anxiety or emotional confusion.
“Many [Aspies] learn to overcome their challenges by building on strengths,” says Autism.org. Taylor definitely has no shortage of strengths. Confessional lyrics like the ones above endear fans to Taylor. Focus and business savvy make her one of the highest- paid females on Earth. If Taylor Swift does have Asperger’s, she’d be a fantastic voice for the community.
And she’s not alone! Dan Akyroyd and Daryl Hannah both own their Asperger’s. Satoshi Tajiri, creator of Pokemon, identifies with Asperger’s. Psychologists have speculated that Robin Williams and Stanley Kubrick, both pioneers in their fields, had Asperger’s as well.
Neorodiversity is awesome. If TaySway has Asperger’s, she should own it.