In order to fully understand a song not only do you have to analyze the lyrics but you also have to look deeper into the hidden messages, references, artist’s background, and how the audience interacts with the music. When analyzing Taylor Swift’s song “The Man” it is important to apply and understand these different concepts. 

The song, “The Man”, by Taylor Swift at first listen comes across as a feminist power anthem which it is, but when taking a deeper look into Taylor Swift’s career in the music industry, the sexist treatment she endures from the media, her dating history, and what she represents to young girls everywhere the song’s references and lyrics come alive. Swift is often able to reinforce her message behind a song with detailed music videos.  Swift’s music videos have been known to go viral gaining millions of views. Her music video for “The Man” is no different with seventy-one million views on YouTube. 

See the video below:

In this music video it is interesting to notice the different ways it highlights how differently men move through everyday life versus women. It stars Taylor Swift disguised as a man named “Tyler Swift” who exemplifies all alpha male qualities that perpetuate toxic masculinity and sexist ideals. The opening scene resembles scenes from the movie, The Wolf of Wall Street which connects with her lyrics “I’d be just like Leo / in Saint-Tropez”. These lyrics reference Leonardo DiCaprio who in real life is known to be a serial monogamist who strictly dates models under the age of 25. The character he portrays in The Wolf of Wall Street is Jordan Belfort, a power hungry stockbroker who is committing fraud. By Taylor drawing parallels to her male character “Tyler Swift” with Belfort it shows how little punishment men receive from their negative actions in the workforce. The music video portrays the privileges men receive based upon their gender. In the movie Leo’s character is never subjected to accusations of being bossy, emotional or hysterical. Whereas a mega pop-star like Swift receives these same sexist insults every day. Swift is bringing awareness to the mistreatment of women in the workforce through her music video. 

Taylor Swift is known to leave “easter eggs” in all of her work. These “easter eggs” are usually references to other things that are going on in the singer’s world. Her fanbase is known to catch these and analyze the deeper meaning of her subtle hints. Her music video for “The Man” is no different with many easter eggs planted throughout. Insider made a YouTube video titled “Everything You Missed in Taylor Swift’s ‘The Man’ Video”. 

See the video below:

In this video, it is interesting to catch all of the things that go unnoticed when watching it for the first time. While some of the aspects of Swift’s video are obvious like the Wolf of Wall Street comparison I mentioned previously, other ones aren’t as easy to notice. One of the easter eggs highlighted by Insider’s video was the scene when Tyler is manspreading on the subway and behind him are advertisements. One of them is for a brand called “Bo$$ Scotch” whose slogan is “Capitalize on the Feeling”. This is a reference to the intense scrutiny Swift receives from writing songs based on her relationships. In a later scene when Tyler is publicly peeing in the Subway the graffiti surrounding him on the walls reads all of Swift’s previous albums. Next to these is a poster that reads “If found return to Taylor Swift” this is a reference to Taylor’s ongoing dispute about owning her own music and how her music was sold without her permission. Understanding references to what is going on in Swift’s personal life is a crucial part of understanding “The Man” on a deeper level. It becomes clear that the inspiration for this song is Swift’s own mistreatment from the media and how the media has defined her based on sexist stereotypes and perpetuations. Her motives for making this song become more clear and listeners are able to understand and connect with the song on a deeper level.