Taylor Swift takes on toxic masculinity in her new video for ‘The Man’, which went viral last week. In the video – which marks her directorial debut – she is featured wearing heavy prosthetics to completely change her appearance to look like ‘the man’, alter-ego Tyler Swift.
The video takes on the double standard between men and women and recreates many pivotal scenes from the iconic movie The Wolf of Wall Street (directed by Martin Scorsese in 2013). This is first seen in the opening scene in which Tyler jumps around cheering only acknowledging the men in the room. The second scene which is very similar to The Wolf of Wall Street is the yacht scene where the song quotes “I’d be like Leo in San Tropez”; this scene symbolises the celebration of men dating around compared to women. Taylor Swift is often ridiculed in the media for her dating habits; however, the music video highlights the distinct difference in the way the media portrays men like Leonardo DiCaprio for dating around compared to women. This is again highlighted when Tyler leaves a one-night stand and instead of experiencing the ‘walk of shame’ as many women do, he is greeted with high fives and celebrations for this act.
The comparisons between men and women go further as she compares the treatment of single dads, who are looked up to as heroic for taking on a child, compared to that of single mums, who are often criticised for raising a child alone. The double standards between men and women are portrayed consistently throughout the video and highlight the inequalities between not only men and women in the media, but also in real life.
There are also several digs at male music executives, in particularly Scooter Braun, who Taylor Swift had a bust up with last year over the rights to her music. These digs are most portrayed when Tyler is peeing on a wall and across the wall it has graffiti of Swift’s previous albums Reputation, 1989 and Red with further signage saying, “when found return to Taylor Swift” and a “no scooters” sign. All the above are aims at Braun’s attempt to take the rights to her old music which could have prevented Swift from ever performing her old tracks. Another dig happens at the end of the video when Taylor Swift asks Tyler Swift after shooting a scene whether he can try and be “sexier, more likeable this time?”. This echoes what many men in the industry have said to female stars as “sex sells”.
These digs only show the horrible side of the music industry which Swift, through ‘The Man’ music video, is trying to highlight.
Watch the official music video for ‘The Man’ here.