Taylor Swift dropped the music video for her song “The Man” off of Lover bright and early Thursday morning (February 27), after teasing it with a clip that showed what appeared to be a man looking out an office window.
Many fans surmised that the man was actually Swift—and they were right. Throughout the video, she portrays a male version of herself, Tyler Swift, a character walking through life with all the benefits afforded to men.
The song is one of Swift’s most overtly feminist hits, with lyrics that dissect the double standards women face in the world—and in the music industry. Take the opening lines, for example: “I would be complex. / I would be cool. / They’d say I played the field before / I found someone to commit to, / And that would be okay / For me to do. / Every conquest I had made / Would make me more of a boss to you.”
Swift also directed the video. This isn’t the first time she’s taken charge behind the camera. She codirected the video for “Lover” and went solo for her holiday release, “Christmas Tree Farm.” It’s a pretty straightforward interpretation of the song, showing Taylor as Tyler being an angry boss but still receiving praise, manspreading, and smoking a cigar on the subway as if he owns the place.
There’s even a scene showing Tyler 58 years later marrying a much younger woman.
I also loved the scene where Tyler is playing tennis—for a “women’s charity”—and is given all kinds of leeway by the umpire when he starts throwing tantrums. This was, perhaps, a nod to Serena Williams and the double standards she faces on the court when showing emotion.
In the verse about being a playboy like “Leo in St. Tropez,” Tyler appears on a boat surrounded by women in a scene that looks very much like it could have been pulled from Leonardo DiCaprio’s film, The Wolf of Wall Street. [DiCaprio, known for dating much younger women, holds a charity event in St. Tropez every year.]
Swift even plays with the trope that a dad doing even the mere minimum of parenting is praised and adored—which is not so much the case for moms.
As with all things Tay, there were hidden messages and Easter eggs. The singer took a direct shot at the Scooter Braun/Scott Borchetta drama (over ownership of the music she made prior to Lover). In one scene, Tyler is seen peeing against a wall in the 13th (!) Street subway station; on the wall are the names of her old albums written in graffiti with a sign that says they’re “missing” and should be returned to Taylor Swift if found.
She also winked at her Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, which debuted at Sundance. In the video, Tyler’s film is called Mr. Americana and debuted at “Mandance.”
As the video ends, Tyler walks off the set to talk to actual Taylor, the video’s director, and asks if he’s doing okay. She says in the next take he should try to be “sexier and more likable,” a common refrain to women in the industry, which Swift discussed at length in Miss Americana. Oh, and the voice of “The Man”? That's none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Swift then lets fans in on her transformation into Tyler in the credits while also reminding the world this music is all owned by her.
Way to go, Tay.
Watch the full video for “The Man” below:
Originally Appeared on Glamour