Taylor Swift’s seventh album is a reflection on not only her relationships and the love that surrounds her, but she questions her place in the world and how her position as a woman affects that. Undeniably, Lover is a classic Taylor Swift record; its main theme being love and relationships. The bulk of the album focuses on these feelings, but quite noticeably, Swift’s attitude is much more mature. She sings about the difficulties affiliated with being a woman in the music industry and demonstrates a fearless level of confidence.
“The Man” is a feminist anthem; it is Swift’s bubblegum-pop coated attack on the patriarchal system. In the song’s opening verse Swift sings, “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.” In these lyrics, Swift details her own struggles, and the various criticisms she received in the media for her past relationships. Each time Swift would enter into a new relationship, she experienced fierce backlash and was a victim of slut-shaming. Deemed sexually deviant by so many forces around her, it would have been very easy for Swift to let such sexist attitudes have a negative effect on her. Rather, Swift chose to take these unwarranted criticisms and use them to her advantage. In “The Man”, Swift sings the trials and tribulations of any modern-day feminist who feels her gender has left her at a disadvantage in any way. Beyond this, Swift refers to how she would be admired as a leader if she was a man and how her choice of clothing wouldn’t matter if she was of the opposite gender. Taylor’s honest portrayal of these issues is of the utmost importance. As a young woman she sets an example to many girls, and through this song she demonstrates that trivial aspects of one’s personal life shouldn’t matter. Choice of clothing and sexual freedom should not deter one’s success. Swift encourages her younger audience to become necessarily enraged by such social injustices, doing so in the very accessible form of pop music.
Other tracks on the album exhibit Swift’s shameless confidence; she is an incredible figure who has not let sexist media deter her from expressing herself. Swift is a clear advocate for self-love, as illustrated in her loud and proud synth-pop track, “ME!”, where she details the excellency of her individuality. Swift ditches the vulnerability and hopeless romanticism associated with her other works, here Swift asserts, “I’m the only one of me/ Baby, that’s the fun of me.” Whilst one could critique Swift’s continuous references to heterosexual relationships as gender stereotypical, it is also an example of Swift’s shameless honesty. Swift can look at traits stereotypical to women, such as heightened emotions and romantic attachment, and own these attributes. She isn’t afraid of the traits affiliated with womanhood, she understands and proclaims that one can still possess these features whilst maintaining their position as a feminist icon. Lover what a woman can be, from boss lady aspirations to bold emotions; Swift assures her audience that gender is one thing not to feel shameful of.
Girl Museum Inc.