“The Man” by Taylor Swift highlights the idea of inequality amongst men in women in many aspects of daily life. Throughout the song she goes through different scenarios of how men and women’s lives differ even though it is now 2021 and things are said to be on a more even playing field. Swift has other opinions about this. 

There are many songs that have similar linages to “The Man.” Because women feel so oppressed in today’s society in comparison to men, many female artists choose to speak out on matters similar to Swift. I chose a few songs to compare “The Man” to and they include: 

“Just a girl”  by No Doubt → “Just because I’m a Women” by Dolly Parton → “Try” By Colbie Caillat → “The Man” by Taylor Swift. 

The three songs chosen, as well as Swift’s song which I will be comparing them to, all have a common theme of women’s struggle to be equal to men and the challenges we face on a daily basis. These songs show the power a woman’s voice has and that we will not back down until these societal standards have subsided. 

“Just a Girl” By No Doubt:

“Just a Girl” is a pop song that was created by the band No Doubt, which included the lead vocalist, Gwen Stefani. Just like “The Man,” this song discusses the idea of women facing oppression and being held back from their true potential. Females are said to have “freedom” but in comparison to men, sometimes this idea is swayed. There are a few lines that stand out to me. In the first stanza, “Don’t you think I know exactly where I stand? This world is forcing me to hold your hand.” Stefani is stating that women are made to feel like they should know their place next to a man. Another line that resonates with me is “Cause I’m just a girl, I’d rather not be

‘Cause they won’t let me drive late at night.” Often in my life I’ve been told I have to be careful because I am female and there is more of a chance of bad things happening to me than if a man were to be alone at night. I think this thought comes from the idea that some many are physically stronger than women due to genetics. However, Swift and Stefani are saying that just because a man could be physically stronger than women, does not at all mean that they cannot do the same things equally to women. Here are a few more lines in “Just a Girl” that resonate with the meaning of “The Man:” 


Oh, I’m just a girl, take a good look at me

Just your typical prototype


I’m just a girl in the world

That’s all that you’ll let me be


Oh, I’m just a girl, my apologies

What I’ve become is so burdensome


Oh, I’ve had it up to here


“Just Because I’m a Women” by Dolly Parton:

“Just Because I’m a Women” was released in 1968, a time where women were able to hold jobs, but often most were “homemakers” and “housewives.” The term housewife itself is sexist in the way that they were oftentimes expected to stay home and keep the house clean, cook, and care for the children. In the 60’s the women’s movement was flourishing. Women were breaking free of these “norms” and wanted to hold the same jobs and titles as men. They wanted to think for themselves and be on an even playing field with men. I found it interesting that this song and “The Man” were written decades apart yet they still share the same theme of women’s oppression and gender inequality. Some of the lyrics Parton includes in this song that show a lineage to “The Man” are:


And I’m sorry that I’m not

The woman you thought I’d be


My mistakes are no worse than yours

Just because I’m a woman


Now a man will take a good girl

And he’ll ruin her reputation

But when he wants to marry

Well, that’s a different situation


“Try” by Colbie Calliat


“Try” was released in 2014, again showing that these gender equality and female struggles have been long standing since they are still pressing on women’s minds today. This song is a bit different than “The Man” and the other songs because this one is slightly more focused on females alone and not necessarily a direct comparison between men and women. This song discusses the struggles of daily womanhood such as staying slim, putting on makeup, buying expensive clothes, and looking sexy just so “they” like you. In my opinion, when Calliat is referring to “they/them” she means men; do the men like it? Then as the song goes on, she changes the word to you. She says, “do you like you?” I think this line is particularly effective in showing women’s empowerment because women should not have to solely worry if the men like how they are, but rather how we view ourselves. This song is a lineage to “The Man” in the sense that they correspond with similar struggles of a woman’s daily life. Even just the simple idea of getting ready in the morning is much longer and strenuous of a task than men have. Swift and Calliat’s songs interpret how much more of a struggle women face than men just to stay on an equal level to them. Some of the lyrics that show these struggles are: 


Put your makeup on

Get your nails done

Curl your hair

Run the extra mile

Keep it slim

So they like you, do they like you?


Get your sexy on

Don’t be shy, girl

Take it off

This is what you want, to belong

So they like you, do you like you?