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The patriarchy critic in Taylor Swift’s music video “The Man”

“The Man” is a big critic of the sexism women suffer everyday in life. The music video shows how things can be easier for a man and how women can be judged by doing the exact same thing. On the part “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can. Wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man” Taylor talks about that difference. 

Taylor Swift’s new “Lover” era started really different from “Reputation”, her last album. Different from all the “anger” expressed in some of her songs and music videos, like “Look What You Made Me Do”, the new 18 songs of “Lover” shows an “in love” Taylor Swift. Most songs are calm and positive, they mostly talk about love or how she forgot her old past like in the song “I Forgot That You Existed”.

One exception from her love songs is her new single “The Man”. The song is a hard critic of the patriarchy and in the lyrics she says she would have had more influence if she was a man. She makes a reference to the prejudice she has suffered in the musical industry and also on her personal life.

“They’d say I played the field before I found someone to commit to and that would be okay for me to do” Taylor was really judged because she dated many different men, or even because she talked about those relationships after it was over. On the song she also talked about how if she was a man that would be okay to do and that she was just “playing around” before she found the right person. For a woman, dating many men is not okay in society.

At the start of the music video, we see a man, which in the end we found out to be Taylor Swift dressed up as a man, that is a boss of a company and is really acclaimed by everyone. But, he is actually rude to his coworkers and screams with them. After that, he takes a subway and smokes there, which makes the women sitting next to him very uncomfortable. 

On the subway station, the man on the video pees on the wall. In this part, we can see one “easter egg”, which Taylor Swift loves to put on her videos. On the wall we can see some graffiti with the names of all her previous albuns with a sign next to it saying “Missing: if found return to Taylor Swift”, which is a big reference to her fight with Scooter Braun to own the rights of her albums. 

The video goes on showing how much of a jerk that man is. He keeps screaming to people, saying bad things about women and fighting in nightclubs. He also appears in the middle of many women that flatter him. In another part he is again acclaimed, this time for being “The best dad” but he didn’t actually do anything to deserve that. 

In the end of the video, the director, that is Taylor Swift, tells “The Man” if he could be more “sexier” and “likeable”. This part is of extreme importance, because women are told that everyday. Especially in the entertainment industry, women are always told to do better, to be more beautiful, skinner, sexier, to smile more, to be more pleasant. 

The music video of “The Man” is really symbolic of showing how sexism is really present in our society. If it was a woman doing all those things, she would be judged instead of applauded. People always talk about what women should or shouldn’t do and Taylor Swift, considering all the polemic she went through in her life, knows what it’s like. She’s been to many sexist episodes with Kanye West, for example, like when he made a song calling her a “bitch”.

Just like all her work during the years, Taylor Swift didn’t disappoint the fans on this video. Not only did she manage to make a great script and good photograph, but she also was a big critic that makes people think of all the differences we have between women and men and how it’s everything easier if you are a man.

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The article above was edited by Thays Avila. 

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Julia Palmieri

Casper Libero '22

20 year old student of journalism at Cásper Líbero, in love with writing, reading, traveling, music, art, movies and everything that makes me smile.
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