In a video she wrote, directed, and stars in as a toxically masculine man, Taylor Swift leans into the space straight, cisgender white men consume while failing up and shutting more qualified people out of jobs.
Swift donned layers of prosthetics to become unrecognizable as the man in her video. Not only does she portray him as spreading his legs and his newspaper on the busy subway to take up several seats that could be occupied by others, but she also has him mark his territory by peeing on the subway wall. The words “the man” drip down the tiled wall as he walks away in a powerful statement about male privilege.
Her toxic man rages in business and on the tennis court, takes up space by talking loudly on the phone in a public park, and denigrates women.
Running counter to the images of the man in her video are Swifts vocals by a woman calling out the double standard created for men.
“I'd be a fearless leader. I'd be an alpha type. When everyone believes ya, what's that like?” Swift sings.
“I'm so sick of running as fast as I can wondering if I'd get there quicker if I was a man. And I'm so sick of them coming at me again 'cause if I was a man then I'd be the man,” she continues.
Swift's video also includes a scene with her man running down a hallway high-fiving hands extending from a wall, which alludes to a scene in Roman Polanski's 1965 film Repulsion that stars Catherine Deneuve as a young woman who goes mad. It's a bold turning of the tables of the scene especially considering Polanski's history as a sexual abuser of women.
Watch the man video and look out for the twist at the end.