Just last year, Taylor Swift returned to her roots as the flowery, love-struck songwriter with her single “Lover” and gave us an album that sharply contrasted the pointed rage from her 2017 album Reputation. Last week Swift released a music video for “The Man,” a song off her latest album, and returned to her targeting metaphors and sometimes not-so-subtle accusations.
“The Man” features Swift in full drag as she portrays toxic masculinity and takes on the role of ‘The Man.’ She’s loud and rude, yells at coworkers and gets rewarded for doing next to nothing. Through these brief incidents, Swift pokes fun at what she considers to be masculine norms and highlights the double standard women face by turning the tables.
Not surprisingly, Swift not-so-subtly calls out Scooter Braun, the man who bought all of her masters and essentially wiped Swift of the rights to her own music. In the video, Swift walks through a subway and comes across a wall spray-painted with the names of all of her albums that Scooter owns. On top of that, Swift incorporated signs onto the wall that read “Missing: If Found Return to Taylor Swift” and even a “no scooters” sign.
It’s no secret that women in music face many obstacles, and Swift has clearly had enough with the misogynistic nature of the music industry. While her portrayal of men seems a bit dramatic and perhaps even unfair, the final scene where Swift is revealed as the director of the video is empowering and the most powerful part of the video. In truth, Swift doesn’t need to aggressively attack the male population to defy the patriarchy — she just needs to be herself and be an example for other women through all of the great things she’s done.