HOT NEWS: Taylor Swift’s ‘The Man’ Is Similar to a Beyoncé Song

"The Man" singer Taylor Swift wearing a suit

How Taylor Swift’s ‘The Man’ is — and isn’t — like a Beyoncé song

In “The Man,” Swift imagines what life would be like if she were a man and didn’t have to deal with sexist double standards. It’s a feminist anthem from an artist who has become more and more of an outspoken feminist as time has gone on. It’s also part of a cultural shift toward feminism that began in the early 2010s.

Swift’s song has a pair of gender-bending pop predecessors. In 1986, Bonnie Tyler of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Holding Out for a Hero” fame released “If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man).” The tune is about her wondering how she and her boyfriend would treat each other if their genders were reversed. Beyoncé released a more mournful take on the same theme called “If I Were a Boy” in 2008. That song is more of an attack on a cheating lover than a political statement.

While all three songs express similar sentiments, they have major differences. One is genre. “If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)” is a hair-metal jam, “If I Were a Boy” is a folky R&B song, and “The Man” is a synth-pop tune. Another is tone. “The Man” is a lot cheekier and more upbeat than its predecessors.

What Taylor Swift was trying to say with her song

During a 2019 interview with Billboard, Swift discussed the meaning of “The Man.” “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 said. “And 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.

“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,” she continued. “So many things that men do, you know, can be phoned-in that cannot be phoned-in for us. We have to really — God, we have to curate and cater everything, but we have to make it look like an accident. Because if we make a mistake, that’s our fault, but if we strategize so that we won’t make a mistake, we’re calculating.”

Taylor Swift’s ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ Video Was Inspired by Lana Del Rey’s ‘Ride’

The video for ‘The Man’ isn’t like Beyoncé’s video for ‘If I Were a Boy’

Swift’s feminism extended to its music video. During a 2020 interview posted on her YouTube channel, she decided to direct the video herself. In it, she plays a male version of herself who gets nothing but praise. It’s definitely one of her more unusual video concepts! It’s different from the videos for “If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)” and “If I Were a Boy” because it features the artist in drag.

Swift and Beyoncé are very distinct artists but they’ve both called out sexism.

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