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Taylor Swift’s ‘The Man’ Challenges Toxic Masculinity

Taylor Swift recently released her new music video for her song The Man off her smash-hit record, Lover. The video marked her directorial debut and she also penned the hit song. The music video has amassed over 26 million views since its release. Through the subtle jabs at the glorification of masculinity, she was able to show how men get the world even when they destroy those around them to get there.

The video depicts a businessman who misbehaves, but people still seem to adore him. While Swift directed this video, she also quite literally WAS the ‘man’. With plenty of prosthetics and layers of makeup, makeup artists managed to transform Taylor into The Man.

Swift uses the man, Tyler, to throw punches at toxic masculinity. She shows him in a negative light (in one instance, Tyler was manspreading in a crowded subway) while he still achieves what he wants.  In the video, Taylor touches on the difference between how women and men are treated in society. She shows how, and sings about, how men can misbehave and be rude and still be treated with respect.

The point of the video is to show that men can be disparaging and disrespectful, yet still achieve the things they want. In Swift’s eyes, this is how the world works. She sings about how it would be if she was a man. If she could call the shots and be in charge.

Swift even references Leonardo DiCaprio is his role in the movie, The Wolf of Wall Street. But these aren’t the only Easter eggs she left for fans in the video. She alludes to her old albums – Fearless, Speak Now, 1989, Red, and Reputation as a nod at Big Machine, her old record label, and the feud they had over the rights of her albums.

The video encapsulates the ideas of a young woman who’s fed up with being seen negatively for everything she’s done when a man has done the same with lesser to no repercussions. Swift truly gave a voice to the feminist movement and The Man is no longer hidden. She was able to use her platform to illuminate the stark contrast in roles for men and women, and for that the feminist movement commends her.

“‘Cause if I was a man, then I’d be the man.”

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