Taylor Swift is ‘The Man’

With her new single ‘The Man’ off her August 2019 album ‘Lover,’ Swift calls out misogynistic double standards


Image courtesy of Sounds Like Nashville

Taylor Swift at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, promoting Miss Americana

On Feb. 27, Taylor Swift released her first self-directed music video along with her single “The Man”, and the world was taken aback, but not completely surprised.

This isn’t the first time Swift has shocked the public by calling out prominent social issues. During the 2018 midterm election, Swift broke an entire career of political silence when she came out against President Donald Trump and conservative republican Marsha Blackburn.

Swift proclaimed herself a Tennessee Christian that did not stand for “your dad’s republicans and your dad’s politics,” as she calls them in her 2020 Netflix documentary Miss Americana, directed by Lana Wilson (‘Miss Americana’ Director Lana Wilson Captures a Changing Taylor Swift). Swift once again is standing up and speaking her mind, calling out inequality in both the music industry and in politics.

For the first time in her career, Swift owns all of the rights to her new music after her infamous split from Scott Borchetta and Big Machine Label Group, who still owns the masters to her first six albums. “The Man” is directed, written, owned and stars Taylor Swift, which is fitting for the premise.

Swift was transformed into an almost unrecognizable male counterpart, Tyler Swift, with the help of “fx makeup.” In the music video, she pointed out the sexism within both the music industry and modernized society as a whole. From the “Hall of Fame” instead of the “Walk of Shame,” to mediocre dads being celebrated for doing the bare minimum, Swift calls out a double standard: If she were to do the things many men do, she would be branded “bad.” This goes for her politics, too. Swift sings, “They paint me out to be bad, so it’s okay that I’m mad.”

Taylor Swift becomes “The Man” Image courtesy of BBC News

Leonardo DiCaprio was even name-dropped in the second verse (“I’d be just like Leo, in San Tropez”). After years of being shamed by the media because of her dating life, she tells the audience that if she were a man, she’d be DiCaprio, John Mayer, Jake Gyllenhall, etc.; she’d be the man.

Swift also talks out about her 2017 sexual assault trial in Colorado, where she sued David Mueller, a local radio DJ, for one dollar on account of groping her at a meet and greet. “What I was wearing, if I was rude / Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves,” Swift sings. After being grilled extensively about what she said, wore, did, and acted like while being assaulted, even with seven witnesses and a picture as evidence that it happened to her, she worried the jury would not believe her (Jury Sides With Taylor Swift in Sexual Assault Trial). The pre-chorus continues, “When everyone believes ya / What’s that like?”

While “The Man” does not fix the years of systemic sexism built upon aged ideas, it’s a step in the right direction. Perhaps it’s time we stop blaming women for the things that happened to them and reverse the misogyny our society has become so reliant on. As Swift says, perhaps it’s time we normalize wearing pink and talking about politics.

You can watch “The Man” here: