“We’ll Always Have Wonderland”

Design by Anasthasia Shilov

Is That Fruity offers biweekly analysis and arbitration of the fruitiness of various pop culture Moments by Zelda Barnz (TC ’25) and Sarah Shapiro (PM ’25).  

We know you’ve heard the news: Taylor Swift’s 10th studio album is coming out (lol) on October 21st. We’re ready to lock ourselves in our dorms and blast Midnights on repeat—alas, we have to trudge through 31 more Swiftless midnights. In the meantime, Taylor leaves us plenty of queercoded content worth examining, so we’ll start with one of her fruitiest.

“Wonderland” begins at the same threshold as the iconic Lewis Caroll novel: a fall down a rabbit hole. This fall launches Alice from the familiar to the unknown—into Wonderland. Falling down a rabbit hole is unintentional, a “wrong turn,” as Taylor calls it. Once you’ve fallen, there is no return to ignorance; Alice can’t “unfind” Wonderland. 

The fall, in this case, is a sexual awakening that leaves Taylor’s protagonist “too in love to think straight.” Though she falls into this awakening, she doesn’t inadvertently fall into Wonderland—she finds it: “We found Wonderland.”

Just like Alice, the song’s narrator and their love interest lose themselves in a new world as they journey deeper and deeper into the unfamiliar. The unfamiliar becomes a refuge from “strangers watching,” “whispers,” and “talking” at home. Away from speculation and gossip, they are free to discover, explore, and express their sexuality.

Wonderland is fundamentally liberatory. In Wonderland, one is not only permitted but encouraged to “go mad.” This dismissal of norms is celebrated. Wonderland embraces queerness with arms wide open and invigorates the protagonist’s blossoming consciousness of queer desire: “And in the end, in Wonderland, we both went mad.”

But this couldn’t “last forever,” as Taylor regretfully sings—“Don’t you know what becomes of curious minds?” In the real world, heteronormative social conditioning and homophobic legislation quash curiosity and repress subversive self-expression.

And yet, we hold onto Wonderland. Holding onto Wonderland is a way of holding onto ourselves; holding onto a future of unbridled queer joy and liberation; holding onto the hope that someday, we can all freely “go mad.”

Leave a Reply