NEW YORK (AFP) – Taylor Swift dropped her directorial debut on Thursday (Feb 27), releasing the music video for her song The Man in which she stars as, quite literally, the man.
In heavy prosthetic and convincing drag, the 30-year-old pop juggernaut parades through the video as an obnoxious man who skates through life to success thanks to the privilege of his gender.
In one notable scene, Swift’s male character spreads his legs wide on the subway, unnecessarily crowding the women next to him, and ashes a cigar in the purse of his neighbour.
“I’m so sick of running as fast as I can / Wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man / And I’m so sick of them coming at me again / ‘Cause if I was a man, then I’d be the man,” she sings in the chorus.
At the video’s end, director Swift asks her male character if he could try another take, but make it “sexier” and more “likable.”
Swift used the video for the song off her seventh album Lover to highlight that she wrote, directed, and owns it – while taking a swipe at the executives she has been publicly feuding with since June 2019 over ownership of her early catalogue.
At one point, her character relieves himself on a wall bearing graffiti spelling out the titles of her first six albums, next to a sign that say “Missing. If found return to Taylor Swift” and another barring use of scooters.
It is an obvious jab at music industry mogul Scooter Braun, who has a majority stake in the master recordings of Swift’s first six albums.
Swift owns Lover, and has vowed to re-record her earlier albums to create copies she owns herself starting in November 2020, the earliest she says her contract allows it.
The video is another notch in Swift’s belt, as she goes public about her struggles for independence and control of her own voice as an artist who found massive fame young.
In the past few years, Swift has opened up about politics for the first time, endorsing Democratic candidates in Tennessee in 2018 and criticising United States President Donald Trump.
Her recently released Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, sees the superstar, famous for global hits like Shake It Off, describe how she was told to stay silent on politics to avoid negative press and upsetting her fans.
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