Everyone stop everything – it’s time to decipher Taylor Swift’s “The Man” music video. Let’s just say symbolism galore!
First things first, it all starts with the release date – 27.2020 sums up to 13, her lucky number is when the video premiered. Off to a great start!
The video opens up with … a man, duh! Now, this Man is The Man – the one who manspreads, and screams at his employees, hurting feelings left and right, but at the end of it all, is crowned a “boss”. The shooting of the scene bears a close resemblance to Leonardo DiCaprio’s role in Wolf of Wall Street. That only makes more sense when Swift references him with the line “I’d be like Leo in San Tropez”.
The Man is also seen taking a train ride, smoking a cigar and disturbing potentially everyone else seated next to him. He doesn’t care about his actions affecting others, ashing his cigarette on a lady, throwing newspapers at another lady’s lap and also taking a piss on the wall. Aaah, the glorious liberties of manhood.
Other shots include him cruising on a yacht, surrounded by bikini clad women, popping bottles of champagne and reveling in decadence. He then goes on to play the “great dad, who is so good with kids” as he pats his child on the head, much to the amusement and praise of others around him. In what is the piece-de-resistance of this entire video, he runs through a white hallway filled with colourful hands, hi-fiving them and cheering himself on for The Man he is – self obsessed, inconsiderate and a textbook narcissist.
The video finally ends with a shot of The Man losing a tennis game, throwing what Taylor Swift calls a “mantrum”. The actor then walks up to Taylor, seated in the all-powerful “Director” chair, only to be told that he needs to try the shot again, but this time do it all a little more sexily.
The attention to detail is obvious, with Swift and her team attempting to make the biggest satire of all with the video and the song. Taylor’s prosthetic transformation into ‘The Man’ is only heightened by her ability to be the ultimate representation of toxic masculinity. All in all, the video is a fun ride and a fairly accurate representation of all the double standards in the industry, and Taylor has had enough.