Taylor Swift just debuted her video for ‘The Man’ on YouTube, and to say it is a statement is, well, an understatement. The video addresses the mistreatment of women in business, the music industry and life in general.
Over the course of the video, Swift’s Jordan Belfort-esque alter ego engages in “boss” behavior, and the beginning of the music video parallels the many scenes in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The cleverly named “Tyler Swift” alter ego appears to be a mogul without a care in the world. Manspreading, peeing on subway walls and sexualizing women, ‘the man’ is on top of the world and all the women around him appear to be mere objects without any real role in his life.
On the tennis court, Swift pays tribute to Serena Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open where the tennis player lost her temper with an umpire and took a stand against sexist behavior in the sport. After the man throws a similar tantrum, he approaches Taylor Swift in the director chair. She tells him to try again and asks “Could you try to be sexier? Even more likable this time?” before turning and complimenting TikToker Conan Gray, who was in the same video and stood there, doing nothing.
The video also contains many “Easter eggs” and hidden components. For instance, Swift’s dad plays the role of the tennis umpire in one scene. In another, Swift uses a subway wall to express her opinion on the Scooter Braun scandal last year.
In this scene, ‘the man’ is seen peeing on a subway wall adorned with graffiti art spelling “karma” and the title of every album Swift produced under Big Machines Label Group. The wall also has an anti-Scooter sign and another that simply says “MISSING IF FOUND RETURN TO TAYLOR SWIFT.” ‘The man’ signs the wall “The Man” in blue glitter urine.
Swift used this video to not only make a feminist statement, but also to shed light on the bullying she faced from Braun and his clients. Braun manages superstars like Ariana Grande, Usher, Kanye West and Justin Bieber. West and Bieber have both taken it upon themselves to go after Swift in the past. For example, in 2016, Bieber posted a photo on Instagram of a Facetime screenshot with Braun and West with the caption “Taylor Swift what up.”
Braun bought Big Machine Label Group and Swift’s entire pre- “Lover” repertoire in 2019 right before Swift was set to perform at the American Music Awards and receive Artist of the Decade. With Braun’s acquisition of the master recording of Swift’s music, she will be forced to re-record her best-selling albums.
Whether it is a break up anthem, a party song or a societal statement, Swift does not disappoint. She always seems to come out on top. She is ‘The Man.’