Two words. One name. Taylor Swift. We’ve seen Taylor step back out into the limelight with a countersuit against former DJ radio host David Mueller for allegedly groping her back in mid-August, and triumphantly winning the court case for a whopping $1. Her reason for a one dollar lawsuit? She wanted to be a voice for all the victims under sexual harassment circumstances saying, “My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard.” Having been an avid Taylor Swift fan myself for the majority of my preteen years, I tried to mentally defend Taylor’s feuds over the years in order to assure myself that this wasn’t the Taylor I know. However, after the debacle of “playing the victim” went down with the oh-so-influential couple Kimye (Kanye West and Kim Kardashian), I started to view her in a different perspective.
Releasing this song completely demolished her old reputation, in her own favor.
With Swift releasing her single on August 24th for her new album, Reputation, she finally addresses all her past dramas. Overnight, her video gained 43.2 million views, setting a new viewing record on Youtube. The music video for “Look What You Made Me Do”, directed by Joseph Kahn, can be lauded for the attentive creativity behind all the shade thrown at certain individuals, including making fun of herself. Anyone following up on Taylor’s tabloids might have noticed that Taylor somewhat admits owning up to her past in the most eccentric way.
Referencing the recent court case ordeal, it seemed as though Taylor was taking the high road, taking time off and refusing to address the drama following Kanye exposing her consent in his song, “Famous”. Then, “LWYMMD” was released and had everyone pining to hear if the new song was going to be a diss track. They were right.
So what’s the fuss all about? The Eye’s Kendall Dowell takes us on a tour, sequence by sequence, of the provocative video, identifying the probable targets of Taylor’s “venom”:
1. To start, Taylor lays her feelings towards Kim Kardashian very clear in quite possibly the harshest way known to man. Here, you see the “new” Taylor Swift, reclined in a bathtub full of precious jewels. Look like something you’ve seen before? Maybe not “seen”, but you’ve definitely heard about this one. October 3rd, 2016, Kim Kardashian was robbed of 9 million dollars worth of jewels in a Parisian hotel. A pair of robbers grabbed the reality TV star, put a gun to her head, tied her up, and threw her into the bathroom blindfolded. Take a look at the GIF above. She’s casually lounging in about 9 million dollars worth of jewels. Pretty harsh, but whoever said Taylor played fair?
2. This scene in the video is something that any famous person can relate to. In this GIF, there’s a huge car crash that Taylor, herself, created. There are fire and smoke everywhere, yet none of the paparazzi seem to really care – they just want a story. This is the harsh truth of being famous. To add to the whole scene, Taylor is holding a Grammy in her hand, posing with it, and still, the paparazzi couldn’t even give that a second look. If you’ve ever wondered how we, the public, receive our information on stars, this right there shows it. The information may not always be true, but it’s almost always exactly what we want to hear. Taylor comes out letting us see the true nature of the paps and what they’re capable of doing. Don’t believe everything you read kids, the truth can be hidden under layers of lies. Although, don’t they always say there is no truth so just pick the lie you like best?
3. Ah yes, now we get to even more digs. As previously noted, she threw some shade at the fake friends in her life that never stood by her side throughout the drama over the past couple of years, like Katy Perry. She continues this by not only calling out her fake friends but at the people who make fun of what she considers her real ones. We all know all the rumors about Taylor’s squad. Firstly, they’re a very tight-knit group of women who have all created their own names, but we’ve all also heard things like they have to look a certain way, or they’re all fake and much more spread around the internet. Up until now, Taylor has decided to ignore that. Well, she’s coming out and letting us all know that she hears what everyone has been saying and instead of getting angry, she laughs in the face of her haters. We have to give Swift some credit– that takes some effort. Either way, Taylor creates this moment in her LWYMMD video where there’s a bunch of girls who look like wax figures, the “perfect image”, standing in rows with Taylor up at the front as “The Dictator”.
4. Okay, this one is a total glimpse of the past Taylor. Throughout Taylor’s musical past we all know that she has a tendency to write about her ex-boyfriends. The crazy thing is, in this video, it’s almost too clear to miss. She could have any amount of dancers behind her and yet she only chooses eight? Hm, I don’t think so. Taylor does everything for a reason and this one may not be a complete dig at the men in her life, but she’s letting them know the eight men are not off the hook just yet. Also, there is a specific mention of a special someone among the eight when all the guys take their jackets off and show cropped “I ❤ Taylor” shirts: Tom Hiddleston. During their brief relationship in 2016, they were seen at the beach with Tom wearing the same t-shirt seen in the video.
5. And now, we come to the last glaring easter egg in the video. This is one that not many know, simply because you have to either be a huge Swiftie or just dig deeper into your research. In the scene you see above, the video closes with a cheering crowd and a row of Taylor’s bowing. Now, before we focus on the Taylor’s, take a quick look at the plane in the background. At the very back of it, on the tail, there is a very faint “TS6” carved in. Surprisingly, this has nothing to do with shade. Before the release of her new album, Swifties started tweeting the phrase “TS6”. This was their way of naming the album before it even came out. She’s letting her fans know that she’s always watching and listening and she appreciates their support more than they know.
However, the subtle jabs so cleverly placed in the music video are quite ironic. She claims to be an advocate for not only the female population but with all those who are victims of sexual harassment. Swift is a woman with great power, and therefore with the slightest tabloid news that mentions her name, all ears suddenly tune in. While it’s quite impossible to understand what it’s like to constantly be in the public eye, actions still speak louder than words. The victorious $1 symbol juxtaposed with the belittling of former foes in this new song can be contradictory. It’s bordering on adherence to double standards to say that this next move on the chessboard of releasing the song was a wrong turn to make; so many other singers and rappers are being praised as creative artists when taking the same action. However, her actions do not and should not negate the fact that she is contradicting herself. Clearly, she wants to be an advocate and helping hand for the mistreatment of women, celebrities or not, yet she turns around and ‘mistreats’ others by publicly dissing them in the new song. If she sees this as a demonstration of respect and equality, there is a disconnect in her logic.
Releasing this song completely demolished her old reputation, in her own favor. Perhaps after getting rid of her iconic ‘Fearless’ curls and the release of her album ‘Red’, we get to witness the evolution of this icon even in her new music style. From country star to pop star, from dating one guy to dating another, and from one feud with one celebrity to another, this evolution changed her from the “girl next door” image to someone willing to get her hands dirty in the drama because she no longer wants to remain silent. This isn’t sitting well with many fans and she may be starting to lose them. She now runs the risk of losing herself in the world of Twitter feuds and eventually becoming the “snake” that others have suggested she can be.
With all that being said, I neither agree nor disagree that her new “reputation” has been cemented with the release of a single music video. LWYMMD can be interpreted in so many different ways and therefore does not provide a direct answer to all our questions and thoughts. However, one thing we may know for sure is that she is never, ever getting back together with the “old Taylor”. We will just have to wait for Taylor’s whole album to debut on November 10 to make any firm conclusions about the new personality behind the pop star.