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December 25, 2012

Slate: Lady jerks of 2012

(Continued)

Taylor Swift, singer-songwriter. Swift built her songwriting career by detailing how she's been scorned by her big, bad high-profile boyfriends. Her tales of romantic persecution have made her one of the most powerful pop stars in the business, but she hasn't ceded the right to be wronged. (In 2010's "Mean," she accused a music critic who gave her a bad review of "picking on the weaker man" — superstar Taylor Swift.) Of course, a powerful person with an underdog complex is just a jerk. And Swift really leaned into her jerkiness this year, crashing a Kennedy wedding with still-in-high-school boyfriend Conor (Taylor Swift does not crash parties; everyone is expected to be excited when she unexpectedly arrives) and collaborating with other boyfriend Harry Styles to recreate the famous "Dirty Dancing" lift at a private party (nobody puts Taylor in a corner).

Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. When Rice's name was floated for nomination to succeed Hillary Clinton as the next Secretary of State, haters called her "prickly," "hard-headed," "temperamentally unfit," and "always right on the edge of a screech." The personality police eventually moved Rice to withdraw her name from the running. Ruth Marcus wrote in The Washington Post, "the controversy over Rice stems in part from the fact that she does not fit comfortably into this model of collegial, nurturing, division-healing woman." But the idea that Susan Rice could have netted the job had she shown the softer side of the Secretary is yet another double standard keeping lady jerks down. Previous Madame Secretaries Hillary and Condi weren't soft and fuzzy, either.

Amanda Hess is a writer and editor in Los Angeles. She blogs for DoubleX on sex, science and health. Tweet at her @amandahess.

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