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Why Taylor Swift & Tom Hiddleston's Age Difference Doesn't Matter

It looks like Taylor Swift has a new boyfriend, and everyone who cares about Taylor Swift's dating life is kind of freaking out right now. On Wednesday, U.K.-based tabloid The Sun released photos of the Grammy-winning singer and The Avengers star Tom Hiddleston kissing, holding hands, and looking like quite the couple on a rocky beach in Rhode Island, and, man, did the haters have something to say about it. There's lots of shaming going on because 26-year-old Swift just broke up with her ex, Calvin Harris, about two weeks before (publicly) getting with Hiddleston, who's 35. It's all really, really ridiculous, because she can and should date whoever she wants to, whenever she wants to, and so I just want to say this somewhat preemptively: Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston's age difference doesn't matter.

As a very public figure who's somewhat notorious for turning her heartbreak into hits, Swift probably knew exactly the media storm and general (unwarranted) indignation that would ensue when she got cozy with her rumored new beau on that public beach in mid-June. And it did. "Taylor Swift has been seen KISSING a new guy, 10 years older than her..." KIIS radio personalities @kyleandjackieo tweeted.

Now that Swift and Hiddleston are reportedly together, the Twitterverse has dubbed them #Hiddleswift, but some are just focusing on the age difference:

This is, honestly, a bit less crazy-making than the rampant slut-shaming going on...

...but at least she has great defenders:

Still, the comments about the age difference persist, even when they're somewhat nonsensical:

OK, so I'm not just saying this as someone who couldn't get enough of "Picture to Burn" and "Stay Beautiful" circa 2007, but more as someone who's tired of seeing women's choices about their personal lives questioned and criticized: LEAVE TAYLOR SWIFT ALONE! She is an autonomous human being who makes her own choices about who she dates and why she dates them. The 9-year age difference between her and Hiddleston is, simply, immaterial.

In fact, Swift has won 1o Grammys and an Emmy, not to mention that she set five Guinness World records. Honestly, as "the youngest of America's richest self-made women," as Forbes recently called her, she's much, much more successful than pretty much everyone her own age (and most people in general, actually). So, dating a similarly successful, talented actor probably feels like the right choice for her right now.

But that's not the point. Swift and Hiddleston reportedly really hit it off with that Met Gala dance-off last month, when they broke it down to T.I.'s "Bring 'Em Out". The photos The Sun published Wednesday clearly depict two people who are very much enjoying each other's company. That's what matters at the beginning of a relationship, not that one person is nine years older than the other.

And as long as these are two consenting adults who mutually respect each other, everyone should be all for it (or, maybe just unconcerned with it, but this is Taylor Swift). So, Taylor and Tom, I hope your days are filled with romantic beach trysts. It's just a bonus if one day there's a double-platinum album about it.