Taylor Swift’s The Man calls out the disparities between men and women in regards to society’s perception of success and power. This song is a way for Swift to express her feminism progressively into the public sphere. The Man is one of the most upfront ways Swift has taken a stance on a social issue. Recently Taylor Swift has not been afraid to share her thoughts or hide what she believes. For most of her life, Swift has kept her political or societal thoughts out of the public eye. But after a sexual assault encounter in 2013, she could not stay silent. 

During a meet-and-greet in 2013, Swift was sexually assaulted by a radio DJ. He was fired after the event but sued Swift for defamation. She countered him for sexual assault, won, and asked for a symbolic single dollar to pay for damages. As the teenager who was the face of love and heartbreak, she had become aware of when something was worth fighting against. The Man touches on the privilege of being believed. Swift alludes to this 2013 trial and the excuses women hear for not being believed about sexual misconduct; specifically in the lines “What I was wearing / If I was rude.” Swift writes about how she wonders how her career would go if she were a man, specifically in the lines “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can / Wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man.” She calls out the double standard of working hard and then getting questioned for if the subsequent success was deserved. Taylor’s personal experiences with this trail brings her voice into the #metoo movement. In 2017, Swift was on the cover of TIME magazine, to stand with the #metoo movement starting conversations about this issues as a “Silence Breaker”.

Swift released The Man in late 2019 as her fourth single to her seventh album. The feminist movement at this time is in full swing and Taylor’s voice in the fight for women’s rights is now powerfully a part of it. I believe this song was motivated from the post-modernist third-wave feminist movement. This movement brings awareness to the unequal treatment of women and aims to reclaim and redefine the words surrounding womanhood, gender, beauty, sexuality, femininity, and masculinity. Identifying as a feminist, Taylor Swift as always received backlash and criticism for being “too nice” or “boy crazy”. But a quote of hers states that her beliefs align with the values of feminism “It simply means you believe women and men should have qual rights and opportunities”. Third wave feminists believe in the need for future changes in stereotypes, media portrayals, and language that define a woman. After years of public media slander, Swift redefined her identity and took back her image in a new way. In an effort to genuinely be close with her audience, she intended to positively impact her primary audience; females, young girls, and millennials. 


Sophia Terry