How Taylor Swift’s Music Video For “The Man” Tackles Issues That Women Face Every Day

Throughout her career, Taylor Swift has tackled world issues through her music. However, one of her most outspoken songs is her recent release "The Man." The song explicitly discusses the fact that women all over the world are at a disadvantage  because of their gender. As she transformed her appearance into that of a man in the music video, she provided some examples of issues that women have to face every day in some social situations: 

  1. 1. Parenting

    Music video screenshot: Taylor Swift with a child

    In her music video, Taylor Swift shows the double standards between men and women, which is exemplified through parenting. M​en who are parents can sometimes be rewarded for doing the bare minimum because, for hundreds of years, very little has been expected of them when it comes to parenting. Men are rewarded for taking their child to the park or paying little attention to them, but if women do that, there is no reward because it has been their “duty” since the beginning of time. 

  2. 2. Walk of Shame 

    Screenshot of her music video where it shows Taylor Swift running down a hall

    The walk of shame is another double standard. If men sleep with multiple women, they are considered to be amazing. They do not have to take the walk of shame. They get a walk of high fives and are commended for their behavior. Women, on the other hand, are shamed for doing the exact thing. If they sleep with multiple men, they are promiscuous. If they have a one night stand, they are shamed. 

  3. 3. Ownership 

    Music Video Screenshot of Taylor Swift peeing on a wall with her album titles on it

    Although ownership might be a rarer issue, it still happens. Sometimes, women do not get to own everything they worked on because a man has claimed ownership. This happened to Taylor Swift when her previous record company, Big Machine Records, sold her entire discography, besides Lover, to Scooter Braun. Scooter Braun has had a long history of bullying and antagonizing Taylor Swift, so the fact that he owns her work and receives royalties anytime her music is listened to or bought, was like a slap to the face for her. She was not even made an offer for her work, which just goes to show that sometimes when a woman’s work is in the hands of men, they are the last person who get a say in the matter. 

  4. 4. Behavior 

    Taylor Swift Music Video Screenshot of her at a tennis match

    Yet another double standard. In this scene, Taylor Swift’s character, Tyler, throws a temper tantrum at a women’s charity tennis game and everyone allows this behavior. His tantrum is accepted as something no one can do anything about. This scenario related to the 2018 US Open where the referee claimed Serena Williams was cheating. Her behavior was criticized and the judge refused to apologize to Williams, yet when Tyler Swift threw a meltdown in the music video, everyone accepted it. Women and men are not treated equally and are not held to the same standards. When women speak out for themselves, they are criticized and shut down, but when men speak up for themselves, they are heard. 

  5. 5. Women Needing to Be Sexy and Likeable 

    At the end of the music video, director Taylor Swift tells Tyler that his acting needs to be sexier and more likeable. This is a rare comment to give to a man, but it is something women are always told they have to be. We have to be sexy for others and others have to like us. If we are not liked, it is because of something we are doing wrong. It is always our fault. If we are sexy for ourselves and reject attention from men, we are blamed for somehow being provocative. 

  6. 6. Man Spreading

    Screenshot of Taylor Swift's Music Video: she's on a train

    Although there are more major issues that women deal with, man spreading is one that we deal with every day. It also serves as an example of how some men think they have the right to do whatever they want regardless of who it is inconveniencing or making uncomfortable. Sometimes women cannot speak up because they are afraid of the repercussions, so they just have to accept the situation. 

This music video calls out sexists everywhere. With these scenarios and her lyrics, Taylor Swift called out the world that treats women differently and poorly because we are considered to be less than men.