Taylor Swift's "The Man" is Important and Here's Why

On August 23rd, Taylor Swift released her seventh studio album, Lover. This album is particularly significant for Swift, as it is the first album that she fully owns. Recently, it was revealed that all of Swift’s previous recordings were sold to musical executive Scooter Braun, a man that has had a tumultuous past with Swift. The sale was “the worst case scenario” for Swift, who attempted to buy the rights to her discography but was denied the sale. Swift had been under the same record label since her first album, a contract that she had signed at only 16. Swift felt she was taken advantage of as a young artist, with her record label holding the ownership to her former albums as a ransom for her to turn in new albums. 

In the wake of this controversy of ownership, Lover was released as the first record under Swift’s new label, as well as the first record where she owns all the recordings of the music. One of the most noteworthy tracks on this new album is “The Man,” a piece where Taylor analyzes how her career would have gone if she were a man. This track is especially timely when considering that her past works were purchased by a man who Swift feels has never respected her in the music industry. 

In recent years, Swift has become more vocal about her political opinions and ideas on social progress. From being completely mute on all political topics, Swift now encourages her fans to vote, and revealed that she votes with liberal and feminist ideas in mind. Swift has also become an outspoken ally of the LGBT community, even included many artists of the LGBT community in her recent music videos. 

“The Man” is another step Taylor has taken to reveal her true political values. The chorus of the song repeats “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man.” She laments the backlash she has received over her numerous public relationships. Name dropping Leonardo Dicaprio, who is known for dating much younger women, she says that if she were a man, her relationships would be heralded. Instead, she is shamed and tabloids speculate on her relationships constantly. 

*Image comes from a Daily Dot article mocking the relationships Swift has had during her career. 

In the bridge of the song, Taylor says that a man who flaunts his wealth is viewed positively in media, but if she “[was] out flashing [her] dollars, [she’d] be a b*tch, not a baller.” This stems from media scrutiny of her life. Her parties and gathering with friends are often accused of being fake, with many people online believing that she does them for attention. In “The Man” Swift wonders what the media would say about a man who has her level of success. 

I think that Swift is right to believe the media would treat her much different if she were a man. One man of similar fame who has often been linked to Swift is Kanye West. Despite his numerous controversies, strange behavior, as well as racist and sexist remarks, Kanye is treated relatively well by the media. Even when West used a fake nude image of Taylor in a music video to belittle her, she was seen as the villain and called a “snake” in the media. Clearly, there is a double standard in the music industry, and Taylor Swift using her large platform to draw attention to it is important.