Taylor Swift can now add ‘Best Director’ to her ever-expanding list of accolades. The singer-songwriter picked up the Best Direction award at the 2020 VMAs for her clip, ‘The Man’, which was her music video directorial debut. Not bad! In fact, very good!
The clip – and song – delved into Taylor’s experience as a female music star, asking if she was male, would her successes be viewed differently? Instead of being chastised for her dating life, would she be “just like Leo, in Saint-Tropez”? (Iconic line, tbh.)
— Taylor Swift News (@TSwiftNZ) August 31, 2020
It also came right off the back of her public and very ugly feud with former producer Scooter Brain, who controversially acquired all of Taylor’s master recordings.
Given the VMAs news, we thought we’d take you on a trip down memory lane, when we laid out 12 of the Easter eggs Taylor left in this *award-winning* clip. Enjoy.
Taylor Swift has blessed fans with the music video for The Man, giving punters another opportunity to bliss out to her condemnation of mindlessly patriarchal culture. She also gave Swifties another visual puzzle to decode, and we’re more than happy to deliver those spoilers to you here and now.
First, the most obvious. The video clip for The Man, released overnight, features Swift as The Man, literally and metaphorically, through the application of some shockingly realistic prosthetics. Swift rolls through the entire clip as the drag king version of herself, manspreading and womanising in the process.
That version of herself also features in a poster for Mr Americana, a clear send-up of her new Netflix documentary, Miss Americana. That poster sits near a sign for 13th Street Station, the number 13 being a long-established feature of Swiftian numerology.
But there are less obvious send-ups on those subway walls. One scene shows a No Scooters Allowed sign, a reference to Swift’s stoush with pop uber-manager Scooter Braun over his company’s controversial acquisition of her master recordings.
You might notice the name of her earlier albums tagged on the wall. They conveniently surround a sign saying MISSING: IF FOUND PLEASE RETURN TO TAYLOR SWIFT, another reference to her justifiable urge to, you know, own the rights to her back catalogue.
For what it’s worth, Braun urged Swift to command her fans to stand down after allegedly receiving “numerous threats” related to the stoush.
Other men also feature in the clip, too. Her dad, Scott Swift, features as the impartial umpire in the tennis match segment (the elder Swift himself was also embroiled in the master recordings drama, FWIW).
My dad making his acting debut as ‘unimpressed umpire’ is a memory I’ll always cherish. Thank you to the entire cast and crew for helping me become the man I always knew I could be 😂
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) February 27, 2020
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, long held as a bastion of big, burly manliness, also lends his voice to Swift’s character
Let us continue. The Man, which explicitly references Leonardo DiCaprio, now has a film clip which looks an awful lot like the actor’s excessive 2013 film The Wolf Of Wall Street. Swift didn’t hire Martin Scorsese to direct the music video — she took care of that herself — but she did recruit The Wolf Of Wall Street cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto to shoot the thing.
Things get a little esoteric from here out. Fans have speculated that the hallway sequence is directly inspired by recent glimpses inside the palatial but spartan Los Angeles home of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Kanye West, of course, is one of Swift’s longest-running antagonists, spanning all the way back to his interruption of her VMAs acceptance speech in 2009.
She was 19 at the time. There are 19 hands featured in The Man‘s wardrobe scene. One fan has also pointed out Swift referenced 19 women (including herself, technically) in her recent Billboard Woman of the Decade acceptance speech.
One other fan has posited that Swift’s blokey appearance is modeled after Jake Gyllenhaal, who she dated for a handful of months in 2010. Jury’s out on that one.
There’s probably even more secretive content hidden in the mp4 file which only makes sense after being converted into Morse Code and channeled through a hidden text box on her defunct smart phone app, but that’s the gist.