Hi sunflower, what's your thoughts on T Swift's Betty being a catradora song???
Me, taking a break from spop to focus on my mental health and setting better boundaries:
Me, reading this ask:
This ask woke me up from like a deep, sleeping beauty type slumber, not joking. I don’t get asked to talk about Taylor Swift often, despite being a fan of hers since I was nine years old (I’m 22 now *wink*) and we are about to find out why. But I pride myself on taking any fiction piece of media I interact with and connecting it somehow to Taylor Swift. I can do so to varying degrees of success (usually depends on the ships and romance of the world) but there are so many songs of Taylor’s that have just fit Catradora so well for me, both in and out of canon.
Some of my favorite examples: out of the woods (AND IT KEPT ME UP AT NIGHT WHEN NOELLE SAID THIS WAS HER TAYLOR SWIFT SONG FOR CATRADORA LIKE GAH CASUAL TS LISTENERS WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND) bad blood, lwymd, don’t blame, dancing with our hands tied, the archer, breathe, you’re not sorry, the way I loved you, forever & always, should’ve said no, safe & sound- I could go on.
But I won’t because I wanna stay on topic and talk about betty. Now I have a number of songs from the folklore/evermore series that are for me catradora songs (we’ll get to that in a minute) but this one is… challenging. Because I could be like “yes, because [insert casual reason here]” or “no, because [insert casual reason here]” but I can’t because Taylor feeds her children well and there’s several aspects of this song I feel like should be considered.
This biggest one to be considered, for me, is the love triangle aspect. Folklore features at length the betty/james/Augustine love triangle, each of them having one main song on the album from their POV. Betty's is cardigan, augustine’s is august, and james’ is betty. (also I’m going to throw out the gender component for a second; I know taylor says that Betty is about a guy’s apology and I totally vibe with her reasons why she wanted to write a song about a boy apologizing BECAUSE HOW GREAT WOULD THAT BE?) The love triangle makes the application of Catradora iffy at best. Because it’s like, who would be who? I am going to go out on a limb and assume that you’re seeing Catra as James? I think that personality wise, Adora as Betty and Catra as James is not a stone’s throw away from fitting actually really well. Adora’s canon journey is one of coming to realize “I know what I want and I know that it’s okay to want it” and a big part of Catra’s arc is her being like “Well shit… there goes my plans. Kind of feeling like a dumbass rn” especially in s4/s5.
(That s4/s5 distinction is important; I’ll show why in a second)
But for me, there’s no augustine. Or one that’s obvious anyway. I never imagined that either Catra or Adora dated or even had any inclinations with anyone else during the five season run- that’s just my personal opinion, people are completely welcome to feel free to disagree. I don’t think Catra acted even out of distraction with Scorpia or DT, and I think Adora was so focused on being She Ra that when she wasn’t thinking about failing/abandoning Catra when she alloted time to do so, she was thinking about the crushing weight of her responsibilities. So you know, not that much time to get back out there. So I rule out what causes James to apologize in the first place- cheating.
Side note about James cheating- I’m pretty sure Taylor confirmed this, in the long pond studio sessions doc, when she’s telling Jack Antonoff (MY BOY JACK) and Aaron Dessner ( GRAMMY AWARD WINNING KING) that James “was a fool!” And James did sleep with Augustine as confirmed in august, but cardigan makes it seem like he was definitely dating Betty before the summer. Maybe Taylor took inspiration from friends and they “were on break.” I also believe that the kiss in the Heart is the first kiss, that Catra and Adora were never ‘together’ together before Adora found the sword and defected (again, that’s just an opinion, but Adora just looks so wonderfully gobsmacked), so…
We can rule out cheating, and I think we can accomplish this and still reserve the essential meaning of the song of “I did something wrong, I see that now, I apologize for doing it, and I still love you” by widening the lens of what the “did something wrong” was (or “did something bad” you know *wink*). In that wider lens really you could fit either Catra or Adora into the song, but I’m still going to assume Catra is the James in this scenario based on how much of her redemption arc is formed around her refusal to say sorry and then eventually doing so. Of course there is no standing your porchlight but rather standing while wrestling a bunch of murderous clones…. Hmm….
But there are some stupid friends! I wholeheartedly believe Catra is James because of the dissing of Betty’s friends. That’s what Catra does to Bow, Glimmer and the rebellion et al., for most of the show and by the end of s4 she has no friends for Adora to even mock (terrible and cruel of me, I know, but it’s true). Also I know people are like “he called her friends stupid and then expected betty to take him back?” but I scream sing the line “WILL YOU KISS ME ON THE PORCH IN FRONT OF ALL YOUR STUPID FRIENDS?” every time. It brings me serotonin.
Along those lines we can ask “Who’s Inez?” in this situation. When I think gossip no one from the show really comes to mind, well, expect for Double Trouble. But Double Trouble doesn’t ever speak to Adora about Catra. This happens vice-versa, and in Betty, James reveals that Inez told Betty he cheated on her.
I want to say something controversial… Glimmer comes to mind when I think “who’s the Inez?” And this is based off of two things: 1) Inez’s closeness to Betty, and 2) Inez drags James out to dry, rightfully so. And when I think of that I think of Glimmer screaming “Do one good thing in your life!” directly in Catra’s face. James gives Inez a bad wrap in Betty. Not cool James.
Of course there’s the pivotal, “would you tell me to go fuck myself?/ or lead me to the garden?” To me this a fun way of showing there’s vulnerability to what James is doing, so automatically I’m led to is the scene where Catra asks Adora to stay, or each time in s5 when Catra risks, basically an identity crisis to let Adora in how she really feels, but there’s always the potential that Adora could spurn her by not returning her feelings or rejecting her outright.
I think the best argument that can be made for “is betty a catradora song” can really be encapsulated by the lyric(s): “the worst thing that I ever did is what I did to you” and “the only thing I wanna do is make it up to you.” That is what about the song SCREAMS Catra to me. And yeah, it could be argued that Adora hurt Catra pretty brutally (Shadow Weaver makes that point EVEN THOUGH SHE HAD NO RIGHT TO) that she messed up by abandoning Catra- but Adora feels guilt for... literally breathing. Adora is the quintessential embodiment of “pick your battles, no that’s too many battles, put some back,” but Catra picked one battle first and foremost (yes, she had a few others but this was the one) and that was Adora. Everything that motivated her was surrounded around a narrative of surpassing Adora for a multitude of reasons, and because of that she pretty much hurts Adora every chance she gets after Promise. Adora is really Catra’s first casualty, it makes sense that she has to be her first apology. And I think that after being vibed checked back to back by DT and Glimmer and realizing “oh hey fuck, I’m still in love with her” and then almost dying just to not die because Adora saves her, I think much of Catra’s motivation shifts to “how to do I get Adora to want to stay?”
That’s my logic for how Betty could be a catradora song in canon. Now not all of my Taylor associations are with canon catradora, many of them do belong to uws catradora, because it’s a lot easier to apply the more modern details of Taylor’s songs to a modern au. The song Breathe is big that way. (it’s in Upper West Side, it’s the song Adora listens to and cries to after that first ride, I just never mentioned that it was taylor because my conditioned reaction to bringing up taylor is to have my head bit off with someone’s semi incorrect and slightly sexist opinion that I never, ever ask for) And this ask got me thinking about what it would look like if I applied not Catradora to Betty, but Betty to Catradora. What would it look like if Catra skateboarded and wore black lipstick, Adora wore a cardigan and they had homeroom together until Catra really messed up? What would it look like if they were seventeen when they admitted their feelings for each other instead of 21? What would it look like if they spent a summer fighting but dreaming of each other? What would their love story look like if Catra and Adora were in that town where Taylor envisioned this “same event that affected three people in different ways?”
I think it’d look something like this.
what do you guys think?
quick but INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT thank you to @gimme-tea-bitch for helping me with this, being my beta, and listening to me talk about folklore/evermore.
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