Let’s face it — it’s Taylor Swift’s world and we’re all just living in it. Recently, Swift dropped a new music video to her ultimate girl power anthem, “The Man.” Swift claims she has been “wanting to write it for a very long time in [her] career, but [she] could never figure out exactly how to phrase it.”
Known for writing songs about her ex-boyfriends, Swift took a career-riveting route — throwing shade at greedy managers and sexist directors. Showing the different depictions of men and women in the entertainment industry, Swift foreshadows this by literally becoming a man.
Through pounds of makeup, coaching and muscle suits
Taylor Tyler Swift is the main character in the music video, portraying the typical toxic masculine character normally seen in Hollywood movies. Swift is trying to demonstrate the worst characteristics she has attributed to males that she has met throughout her time in the industry, as well as showing the double standards within such a competitive industry. Beautifully done, this music video truly displays Swift’s unfair experiences with double standards in the entertainment industry.
Let’s jump right in to some of Swift’s creative, yet subtle symbolic messages you might have missed during “The Man.”
1. “The Wolf of Wall Street” Hidden References You Might Have Missed
In the iconic movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort. Belfort is known for his obsession with hard drugs and prostitutes, which parallels the stereotype of men in the Hollywood industry today. Swift tries to make this gross double standard clear, mimicking a scene from “The Wolf of Wall Street,” featuring a man being celebrated around his workplace for doing absolutely nothing!
Swift even quotes Leo in her song, again proving the unfair double standards between men and women not only in the workplace, but also in Hollywood’s dating scene as well.
“And we would toast to me, oh, let the players play. I’d be just like Leo, in Saint-Tropez”
2. The Graffiti Wall: Copyright Feud Between Scooter Braun and Taylor Swift
After Scooter Braun purchased Big Machine Records (the record label that had bought Swift’s album rights when she was only 15), Swift called him out on Instagram and demanded to keep the rights to her albums that were so close to her heart. In “The Man” music video, Tyler Swift is seen urinating on a subway wall with graffiti. This graffiti has the names of her old, yet very successful albums like “Red,” “1989,” and “Reputation.” On the same wall, there is a sign that has a scooter with a red X on it. Swift’s song are always very personal to what is going on in her life — and that includes the problematic feud between Braun trying to purchase her records.
3. The Women’s Charity Tennis Match: Foreshadows Sexism in Sports Debate
In Swift’s video, Tyler Swift is seen playing for a tennis match for a women’s charity. He is seen as a superior contestant — jumping around and smiling when he’s winning. However, when things begin to not go so well, he soon becomes the opposite. Tyler Swift begins to throw a temper tantrum, acting like a child. He is seen physically and verbally accusing the umpire of the game, which could be a reference to Serena William’s loss in the 2018 US Open. Swift is trying to yet again show the double standards between women and men, especially within the sports industry.
While men are allowed to be angry and fight with the sports officials, it is often looked down upon when women do the same thing. Swift again quotes this is her song, begging the public to recognize the unfair advantage men hold over women in sports.
“And it’s all good if you’re bad
And it’s okay if you’re mad”
4. It’s All Taylor’s Creation: And We Are So Here For It
At the end of the music video, the scene breaks and Tyler Swift asks Taylor about what he could improve on for the next scene. Taylor Swift responds with:
“Could you try to be sexier? Maybe more likeable this time?”
Tyler Swift is obviously thrown off by this statement, but agrees to work with it for the better of the music video. Then, Taylor Swift tells Loren Gray, who simply just rolled her eyes in the music video that:
“By the way, excellent work over there Loren, that was astonishing.”
At some point, Taylor Swift was told this by one of her directors while filming a music video. Can you believe that? Double standards are prevalent in her music video and her personal experiences relate back to that, making this such a special video for her to direct, produce, and act in.
Swift produced, edited, acted and directed in this music video, which is unlike her previous work in the past. Taylor Swift really can do it all — and she is changing the industry because of that. We love you, Taylor!
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