Taylor Swift’s “The Man” Music Video Raises Important Questions About Double Standards


Taylor Swift, starring as her male alter ego Tyler Swift, criticizes her industry for its unfair treatment of women in her new music video, “The Man.” PHOTO COURTESY/ YouTube Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s new music video “The Man” raises critical points about the double standards for women and men in society. At such a pivotal time in her career, just winning Artist of the Decade at the American Music Awards while publicly feuding with her record label, Swift addresses challenges women like her face in the music industry, despite hitting incredible milestones. 


Swift’s male-alternative played by Taylor herself ––Tyler Swift, the main character of the music video ––  exaggeratedly reenacts and tackles issues such as manspreading, objectifying women, performative allyship and so much more.

Taylor Swift, starring as her male alter ego Tyler Swift, criticizes her industry for its unfair treatment of women in her new music video, “The Man.” PHOTO COURTESY/YouTube Taylor Swift


In one of the earlier scenes, Tyler relieves himself on a subway station wall graffitied with Taylor’s past albums all next to a sign that read “MISSING: If found, please return to Taylor Swift,” a large-lettered “KARMA” and a sign with an image of a scooter crossed out. The latter hints at her most recent debacle with Scooter Braun, the man who now owns the rights to all of Taylor’s albums and songs with the exception of “Lover”. 


In one of the more prominent scenes, Tyler has an outburst during a tennis match, similarly to how Tennis players like John McEnroe have gotten angry in previous games yet hardly face consequences whereas outbursts from women like Serena Williams during games hardly go unnoticed and receive more criticism. 


Some of the final scenes showcase Taylor’s transformation into her male alter ego Tyler and her respective credits on the side as director, writer, star and most importantly, owner of the rights to her music video. 


Taylor Swift has made remarks about the double standard she’s faced in her career in her past interviews, so it was refreshing to see a proper visualization of what she really finds wrong with our society rather than having us just hear about it.


Taylor has been extraordinary so far at sending subtle messages through easter eggs for her fans to notice what she is trying to communicate with them. As a Taylor Swift fan myself, this music video is simply another treat but with a more profound message. With her level of popularity and success, it would be hard for people not to have an open conversation about what she addresses in her music video. She knows that the more eccentric and vibrant her videos get, the more it will strike leaders to incite action. For example, her music video “You Need To Calm Down” sparked large donations for LGBTQ groups and prompted thousands of signatures for the Equality Act, which served to protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination. Swift is widely known to be musically creative in using her influence to inform the public about issues, so this bold career move is exciting for a Swift fan like me.