On Thursday morning, the star dropped the highly anticipated music video for the track — which she directed — after teasing it on social media days prior.
In the clip, Swift astonishingly transforms into a brunette, bearded man, whose bad behavior is on display throughout the clip — from urinating on a wall, to guzzling alcohol with a bevy of beautiful women, to manspreading on the subway.
Swift’s “man” also loses his temper on a tennis court, screaming at the umpire and throwing his racket. After the final scene, the man exits and speaks to actual Swift on the music video’s set, where she’s sitting in a director’s chair.
“Hey just checking, was that last take more what you had in mind?” the man — with the voice of Dwyane Johnson — says.
Replies Swift, “Pretty good, could you try to be sexier, maybe more likeable this time?”
The credits highlight Swift’s transformation, which seemingly required a lot of prosthetics.
“Oh man…music video tomorrow at 7 A.M. EST! And I’m going to be chatting/answering your questions/mansplaining the video on YouTube starting an hour before at 6 A.M. EST,” Swift, 30, wrote on Instagram on Wednesday alongside a preview of the video, which appeared to show a man dressed in a suit looking out a city skyline from a window of an office.
A day prior, when Swift first announced the music video release by posting an image featuring 19 colorful hands in a stark white hallway to Twitter, fans theorized that the 19 hands could represent cameos including Swift and each of the 18 female artists she mentioned in her acceptance speech for Billboard’s Woman of the Decade Award in December.
“I see that fire in the newer faces in our music industry whose work I absolutely love. I see it in Lizzo, Rosalia, Tayla Parx, Hayley Kiyoko, King Princess, Camila Cabello, Halsey, Megan Thee Stallion, Princess Nokia, Nina Nesbitt, Sigrid, Normani, H.E.R., Maggie Rogers, Becky G, Dua Lipa, Ella Mai, Billie Eilish. And so many other amazing women who are making music right now,” Swift said in her speech.
There are 19 hands in the hallway
… but only 2 days until The Man Music Video pic.twitter.com/pePLcEwxtQ
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) February 25, 2020
Fans also pointed out that the number 19 could represent a nod to the 19th amendment, which grants women the right to vote. On Feb. 27, 1922 — the same day as the video’s release — voting rights for women were upheld by the Supreme Court.
Others theorized that using a stark white hallway as the backdrop for the image could have been a move to subtly shade Kanye West, whose $60 million mansion has a strikingly similar hallway. Swift and West, 42, have been involved in an on-and-off feud in the years since West ambushed Swift onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009 to say that Beyoncé deserved the best female video award she had won.
k*nye’s house…………….. hm………. pic.twitter.com/n3sVY5RC69
— (@rippedpromdress) February 25, 2020
And, of course, fans noticed that when adding up the numbers from the release date of the music video (2/27/20) that they equal out to Swift’s favorite number: 13.
“The Man,” which serves as the fourth single from her 2019 LP Lover, finds Swift wondering what perceptions of her would be like if she were a man and not under the scrutiny she feels women are constantly put through.
In the song, Swift sings, “They’d say I hustled, put in the work / They wouldn’t shake their heads and question how much of this I deserve / What I was wearing, if I was rude / Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves.”
Last week, Swift released a music video for “The Man” which was created from her live performance of the song at the 2019 City of Lover concert in Paris. Earlier this month, she also dropped a lyric video for the song.
During outtakes from her Woman of the Decade interview with Billboard, Swift talked more about the empowering anthem and why she wrote it.
“It was a song that I wrote from my personal experience, but also from a general experience that I’ve heard from women in all parts of our industry,” she shared. “I think that, the more we can talk about it in a song like that, the better off we’ll be in a place to call it out when it’s happening.”
She added, “So many of these things are ingrained in even women, these perceptions, and it’s really about re-training your own brain to be less critical of women when we are not criticizing men for the same things.”
Last month, Swift also spoke about the pressures women in the industry face in her Netflix documentary Miss Americana. “We do exist in this society where women in entertainment are discarded in an elephant graveyard by the time they’re 35,” she said.