“The Man” by Taylor Swift was released on August 23, 2019. During this time in Swift’s career she had previously released her sixth studio album Reputation in 2018 which focused on her drama with Kim and Kanye West. Her career took a tumble during this feud and her two albums Reputation and Lover were seen as rebranding for Swift. Also during this time Swift was dealing with intense scrutiny from the media as she made headlines in 2017 when she won her sexual assault trial against DJ David Mueller and ordered him to pay her a symbolic amount of $1. In 2018 Swift also broke her political silence and left Big Machine Records after almost thirteen years. All of these factors and knowledge of Swift’s career are important to keep in mind when listening to her song. 

“The Man” really embodies all of the difficulties Swift had been going through in the years before its release and was a way for her to hit back at the sexism she had been experiencing in the music industry. In her song she is critiquing the sexist criticism she receives. Saying that if she was a man the media would not slut shame her, they would not question her success, instead they would applaud her for being an “alpha male”. She says in the song “I’m so sick of them coming at me again” expressing her frustration with news outlets and their obsession with tearing her down for the same things many male celebrities partake in. 

“The Man” is a pop song written by Taylor Swift and produced by Joel Little. It is an explicit musical statement on sexism which many pop songs are not usually known for. The pop genre which stands for “popular” usually consists of songs about love or romance that are easy to dance to and make you want to move. Rosenthal and Flack state that “pop’s emphasis on entertainment with little interest in the question of authenticity is really only one of style. Rock stresses the illusion of authenticity, while pop stresses the illusion of glamour.” (Rosenthal and Flacks 59). Swift’s song “The Man” seems to completely contradict what Rosenthal and Flacks are stating here about pop music. In Swift’s song she is deglamorizing the music industry and revealing how difficult it can be for women. Her overt criticism on the music industry is what made this song gain as much traction as it did. It’s catchy lyrics and upbeat tempo makes you not only want to dance, but makes you feel inspired to make a change.