For many of us, the day began the same way it typically does: juggling a hot cup of coffee on the train ride into work while being surrounded by chronic manspreaders. Taylor Swift‘s morning, however, started off differently, thanks to her music video for “The Man,” which directly calls out toxic masculinity in the entertainment industry as well as in our day-to-day lives. The best part? She directed it herself.
Of course, no Taylor Swift music video would be complete without her signature Easter eggs, and don’t worry, the “Lover” singer didn’t disappoint. Minutes before releasing the video, she confirmed to her Swifties via a YouTube Q&A that there would be “lots and lots” of clues hidden throughout. “More than any kid’s yard on Easter morning,” she said.
Now that the video’s officially out, we can also confirm that Swift indeed went all in on the Easter eggs. Between the references to her ongoing battle for ownership of her masters to some interesting celebrity cameos, Swifties are eating well. And if you possibly missed any of the video’s many Easter eggs, MTV News has broken them all down for you below.
While the opening frame might look like a Wall Street CEO’s office, it’s actually much more than that. On the right side of the wood-paneled room, you’ll notice two bottles of scotch sitting on a shelf. Swift specifically described a similar setting while talking to Rolling Stone about the $300 million dollar deal that gave music manager Scooter Braun ownership over the master recordings of her first six albums. “They’re standing in a wood-panel bar doing a tacky photo shoot, raising a glass to themselves,” Swift told the mag about a photo of Braun and the CEO of her former label Scott Borchetta celebrating the deal. “They pulled one over on me and got this done so sneakily that I didn’t even see it coming. And I couldn’t say anything about it.”
Action Movie Poster
The inside of the subway car is chock-full of Easter eggs, but let’s begin with that hyper-masculine action movie poster. With the tagline “Mother Nature doesn’t stand a chance,” the poster is likely in reference to the many government leaders who insist that climate change is not a real threat. Spoiler alert: It is.
“Miss Americana” Sweatshirt
It’s hard to miss the young woman on the subway wearing a sweatshirt with the title of another Swift song, “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince.” The not-so-subtle reference to the Lover track has fans on Twitter wondering if it’ll be her next single. Of course, it’s all just speculation, but the date July 20 is on the action movie poster. Based on the clues, Swifties seem pretty convinced it could be a summer single.
“Greedy” Graffiti & Scotch Poster
We already mentioned the significance of scotch (and who drinks it). But the poster’s tagline “capitalize on the feeling” seems to call out the music moguls for profiting off of 10 years of her hard work, evocative lyrics, and personal experiences. She also included some “greedy” graffiti, just in case her message was somehow overlooked.
Though Swift seems to be very happy in her current relationship with boyfriend Joe Alwyn, the pop star’s career has been plagued by incessant criticism about her dating life. Critics called her a “serial dater,” but the same scrutiny wasn’t placed on her male counterparts. The newspaper in the subway scene — which contains the headline, “What man won the year in celebrity dating?” — exposes that exact double standard.
13th Street Station
When “The Man” hops off the subway and takes the liberty of urinating on the station walls, we see that he’s gotten off at 13th Street. Simply put, 13 is Swift’s lucky number, and it’s shown up again and again at her concerts, in her music videos, and even on her birth certificate. (P.S. Don’t pretend like you don’t celebrate December 13 every single year).
“No Scooters” and “Missing” Signs
Swift really doubled down on the references to Braun; perhaps the most obvious nod is in the sign that effectively reads “No Scooters Allowed” via a clever graphic of an actual scooter. There’s also a sign about her “missing” master recordings that reads, “MISSING: IF FOUND RETURN TO TAYLOR SWIFT.” As a side note, you really shouldn’t ride a scooter inside a subway station. It’s just not safe.
Swift’s Album Titles and “Karma” Graffiti
Apart from the signs on the wall, there’s also a ton of graffiti spelling out the titles of Swift’s previous albums. Noticeably missing, however, is Swift’s self-titled LP which came out in 2006. Along with the album titles, the word “Karma” is spelled out not once, but twice, possibly referencing Swift re-recording her previous albums (but maybe not her self-titled one). This could potentially lower the value of the masters that are currently in Braun’s possession.
“Mr. Americana” Poster
Although the video sheds light on the serious double standards that women are held to, the pop star isn’t afraid to have fun with it. Look no further than the parody of her very own Netflix documentary poster for Miss Americana. Now called Mr. Americana, the doc’s director has been changed to Larry Wilson (instead of Lana Wilson) and celebrates a whole different star entirely. Everyone, meet Tyler Swift!
When Swift announced the music video earlier this week, it was paired with an image of a long white hallway that many fans on Twitter thought looked an awful lot like the one in Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s house. But even if that theory doesn’t hold, the hallway is still important. It’s here that “The Man” gets praised with high-fives (19, to be exact) after having a one-night stand. For women, that same journey is called a walk of shame.
We know what you’re thinking: What’s the meaning behind the 19 hands in the hallway? Well, on this day in 1922, the Supreme Court upheld the 19th amendment, which defends women’s voting rights.
The Tennis Tantrum
The video includes a pretty extensive tennis scene, which was meant to show the sexism that exists not just in music, but in sports, too. In 2018, Serena Williams reacted negatively to an umpire who claimed she had cheated. The difference? If a man, such as the one in Swift’s music video, bursts into an angry tirade on the tennis court, he likely wouldn’t get punished. Williams, on the other hand, continued to get hit with code violations and criticisms for months after.
Who was the umpire during the tennis match, anyway? Yep, it was Taylor’s dad, Scott Swift!
TikTok Star Loren Gray
It’s 2020, and everyone is aware of what’s cool on TikTok — even Taylor Swift. She recruited social media star Loren Gray to appear in the video, and for good reason. Gray refers to her fans as “Angels,” and when she rolled her eyes from the sidelines of the tennis match, all the TikTok Swifties quickly caught on that it was a nod to a lyric in “Cruel Summer.” (“Devils roll the dice, angels roll their eyes.”) Very clever.
Stella x Taylor Swift Water Bottle
We know the tennis tantrum was distracting and all, but if you were able to somehow pay attention to anything else, you may have noticed one of the pastel water bottles that Swift collaborated on with designer Stella McCartney. Yeah, she’s kind of a big deal.
When Swift appears at the end to talk to “The Man” (who, by the way, is also Taylor Swift, but in a really incredible disguise) about his performance in the video, we hear his speaking voice for the first time. And if you thought he sounded a whole lot like Dwayne Johnson, your instincts were correct. Turns out “The Man” is actually “The Rock.”