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‘Against their beliefs’: Parents won't let daughter go to boy’s Taylor Swift birthday party

“Like what religion is out here saying, ‘Thou shalt not listen to Taylor Swift?’”

via Jolene Dolo (used with permission)

Popular TikTokker Jolene Dolo.

A TikTok video by the mother of a gender non-conforming son is a masterclass in refusing to be baited into a confrontation, no matter how tempting it may be. It all started when TikTokker Jolene Dolo’s 8-year-old son, Sam, sent out invitations to his Taylor Swift-themed birthday party.

Jolene told Upworthy that Sam doesn’t have a favorite Swift song, but his favorite album is “Lovers.”

“My 8-year-old Sam is having a Taylor Swift birthday party, and yesterday I received a text message from a parent of a child who was invited letting us know that their child will not be attending because it is against their beliefs,” Jolene began.

“I'm not exactly sure what belief system you have, like what religion is out here saying, ‘Thou shalt not listen to Taylor Swift?’” she continued.

Even though Taylor Swift is probably the closest thing to being America's Sweetheart, a quick search on the internet reveals she is a threat to some with extreme religious and political views.

Top 5 Taylor Swift conspiracy theories:

1. She’s secretly a queer woman in love with model Karlie Kloss.

2. She’s working to swing the election for Joe Biden.

3. She’s a Pentagon psychological operative manipulating the minds of Americans.

4. Her success as an unmarried businesswoman in her 30s is a bad example for girls and young women.

5. She performs witchcraft on stage.

Even if the parents aren’t conspiracy theorists, they may think that an 8-year-old boy having a Taylor Swift party is wrong because young boys shouldn’t be into “girly” things.


They are allowed to have their beliefs and i’m allowed to have feelsing about their beliefs. I didnt try to change their mind, i just wanted to talk about it on MY page. Tha ks for listening ❤️ #taylorswift #gendercreativeparenting #taylorswiftparty

After reading the cryptic text, Jolene and her husband could easily have let curiosity get the best of them and asked the parents why a Taylor Swift-themed birthday party was against their beliefs. But they were strong and didn’t take the bait.

"Me and my husband talked about it and we decided that their text message seemed a little confrontational because they could have just said 'No, thank you, we will not be attending.' It seemed like they probably wanted a response from us and we didn't want to give them what they wanted," Jolene said.

Further, the declined invitation was better for everyone involved. Who wants someone at a Taylor Swift party who doesn’t like her or what she may or may not stand for? “We do not want anybody coming to our party who is going to be feeling uncomfortable or making us feel uncomfortable so you know it's a good thing,” Jolene continued.

On a deeper level, the story touches on an important topic. Why is it okay for young girls to look up to men, but young men can’t look up to women? No one would bat an eye if a young girl had a Jonas Brothers-themed birthday party, but many people are shocked by a young boy loving Taylor Swift.

“Are little girls not allowed to listen to male artists, or is it just like certain male artists who give off like, masculine vibes? Because I've always found it kind of weird that we don't want boys liking women like that or looking up to women. What's the problem in boys liking women?” Jolene asked.

The TikTokker believes the double standard is rooted in misogyny. “Society tends to see women as weaker or less than men, so a boy looking up to a woman is essentially below him in their eyes,” Jolene told Upworthy. “That's why most people wouldn’t bat an eye at a girl who likes Spider-Man or had a Harry Styles-themed birthday. Meanwhile, boys are shamed for even participating in women-dominated hobbies and interests.”

The good news is that, in the end, the party went off without a hitch and the decorations were fabulous.


Taylor swift birthday party for my 8 year old son #taylorswift #taylorswiftparty #gendercreativeparenting

Taylor swift birthday party for my 8 year old son #taylorswift #taylorswiftparty #gendercreativeparenting

A TikTok post about McDonald's prices and President Joe Biden speaking with attendees at the Moving America Forward Forum.

Sometimes, there are images that perfectly encapsulate a moment in time. In December 2022, a viral TikTok video featuring a burger meal at McDonald's that cost a whopping $16.10 went viral, and to many Americans struggling through inflation, the image rang true.

Topher Olive posted the TikTok video on December 10, 2022, showing a burger, large fries, and a large Coke that cost $16.10.

The price of a value meal at McDonald’s is something that every American understands. The Economist even uses the Big Mac sandwich as a tongue-in-cheek way of measuring the purchasing power between countries.

Surely, if a McDonald’s burger meal was becoming too expensive for the average American to eat for lunch every day, then the country must be headed in a disastrous direction. The image was the perfect weapon for those looking to blame President Biden for his handling of the economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TikTok video was shared across social media and on Reddit, Newsmax, the Washington Examiner and The New York Post.

However, the TikTok video posted by Olive was a bit misleading, and some major media outlets didn't provide proper context during their coverage.


#prices #inflation #laborshortage #fastfood

The item pictured in the meal was a limited-edition “smoky” double quarter pounder BLT. The “smoky” quarter pounder BLT is known as the “most expensive” single patty burger on the McDonald’s menu, and this guy ordered a double.

According to McDonald's, the “smoky” double quarter pounder BLT is two slices of melty American cheese, thick-cut Applewood Smoked bacon, fresh Roma tomatoes, shredded lettuce, smoky sauce—and two quarter-pound patties all served on a toasted sesame seed bun. It sounds tasty, but it also sounds a bit more expensive and ingredient-heavy than a Big Mac, which currently costs the average American $5.15.

The image was so influential that it was flagged by the White House Office of Digital Strategy, and it had no idea how to push back against the viral story. “What are we supposed to do, tell the president or Chuck Schumer to send a tweet saying, ‘Hey, most Big Macs aren’t that expensive?’ It would look ridiculous,” an anonymous Democratic official told The Washington Post.

The McDonald’s story further proves that it is nearly impossible to create a coherent national narrative when misleading information spreads faster than facts. As the country dives headfirst into the 2024 election cycle, the story is an excellent reminder for all of us to be skeptical of what we see being passed around online or to at least look a little closer at the receipts when provided.

Even though the McDonald’s story was misleading, it doesn’t mean that it will be easy for the Biden White House to paint a rosy picture of the economy for the average American. According to J.P. Morgan, the economy is performing "better than expected," consumer spending is "resilient," interest rates are stabilizing, inflation is improving and the unemployment rate is low.

But those abstract ideas are complex to communicate when the average American spends about $700 more monthly than they did 2 years ago.

Pop Culture

Major wins last night for abortion rights spells huge victory for women's right to choose

The triumphs all came in states that could decide the 2024 presidential election.

Gov. Wolf Stands Firm in Protecting Abortion Access in Pen… | Flickr

Since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 2022, abortion-rights advocates have made key victories in multiple ballot initiatives.

Tuesday, Nov 7 saw three major wins.

One being in Virginia, where voters flipped the house of delegates to a Democrat majority and effectively rejected a Republican effort to take full control of the state government, which would have included Glenn Youngkin’s proposed 15-week abortion ban.

Another victory for reproductive rights activists happened Tuesday night in Ohio, where abortion rights were enshrined into the state’s constitution by an overwhelming vote of nearly 60% in favor


The ballot measure’s language guarantees every person in Ohio the right “to one’s own reproductive medical treatment, including but not limited to abortion,” and prohibits the state from “burdening, penalizing or prohibiting” those rights.

The amendment will essentially counteract the predominantly red state's “heartbeat bill” banning most abortions, which took effect immediately after the Dobbs decision but remains temporarily blocked.

This echoes a moment back in August when Kansas voters overwhelmingly struck down the “Value Them Both Amendment,” which would have removed key language that enshrined abortion rights in their state’s constitution.

And last and number three, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear won re-election in red state Kentucky after supporting abortion rights as a core message of his re-election campaign.

Abortion rights advocates marked Tuesday’s success as a sign that by and large, Americans desire for women to have freedom of choice.

President Biden wrote that it “makes clear what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions.”

Meanwhile, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju said in a statement: "Reproductive freedom is a winning issue, now and in November. Anti-choice lawmakers take note: The voters have spoken, and they will turn out at the ballot box to oppose efforts to restrict reproductive freedom."

Scroll down to see more reactions:

With the upcoming presidential election in 2024, abortion rights seem destined to be a key issue. And while that might mean more narratives around it are construed to create political divides throughout our country, so far that hasn’t appeared to be the reality for most Americans—who, even in more conservative leaning states, actively support a woman's right to choose.


Who knew Marjorie Taylor Greene was such a Biden fan?

Sometimes all it takes is flipping the narrative to turn our biggest critics into our most loyal fans.

That is quite literally what the Biden administration did when Georgia Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene tried to criticize the president by comparing his programs to those of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson during a Turning Point Action Conference.

Greene’s speech was intended to label this comparison as a bad thing, but many were quick to note that much of what she said: improving education, poverty and healthcare, didn’t sound like quite the atrocities she was making them out to be.

Biden's team decided to use Greene’s critical rhetoric to their advantage. All it took was a little editing, along with some uplifting music, to turn Greene’s attack on Biden into a passionate ad campaign effectively endorsing him.

In the video shared to Biden’s Twitter account, Greene declares that “Joe Biden had the largest public investment in social infrastructure and environmental programs, that is actually finishing what FDR started, that LBJ expanded on, and Joe Biden is attempting to complete.”

“Programs to address education, medical care, urban problems, rural poverty, transportation, Medicare, Medicaid, labor unions, and he still is working on it,” she concludes.

Adding insult to injury, Biden tweeted “I approve of this message,” along with the message.

Greene’s extreme rhetoric and unfounded outbursts are hardly a laughing matter, especially coming from someone in a leadership position. But it’s turning out to be perfect fodder to make Biden appear more level-headed. All in all, it's a wholesome comeback that ultimately has more to do with focusing on solutions and less about "owning" someone.

It's like the saying goes, "Don't get mad. Get even."