People are truly divided over one scene from Taylor Swift’s Anti-Hero music video
Is it a representation of inner demons – or just straight-up fat-shaming?
When is an album rollout not an album rollout? The answer, obvs, is when it comes out without causing any discourse.
Taylor Swift dropped Midnights on Friday (21st October) – and it swiftly became the most-streamed new album in Spotify history. Shortly afterwards, her team released a video for Anti-Hero; track three on the new album.
Critics have argued that the song was basically designed to go viral – with funny soundbites like “It’s me/Hi/I’m the problem/It’s me”. And, in their defence it did. But probably for all the wrong reasons.
A still from the music video showed Taylor – who, in this case, is her own Anti-Hero – stepping onto a scale, which simply reads “FAT”. This prompted thousands of tweets branding the singer “fatphobic,” while others suggested it was a visual representation of her struggle with Body Dysmorphia.
Taylor Swift’s music video, where she looks down at the scale where it says “fat,” is a shitty way to describe her body image struggles. Fat people don’t need to have it reiterated yet again that it’s everyone’s worst nightmare to look like us.
— Shira Rose (@theshirarose) October 21, 2022
Fat activists and eating disorder experts, who have fought to get the word “fat” destigmatised for years, pointed out that there’s no way a skinny person can ever experience internalised fatphobia.
“Taylor Swift’s music video, where she looks down at the scale where it says ‘fat,’ is a shitty way to describe her body image struggles,” therapist Shira Rose said. “Fat people don’t need to have it reiterated yet again that it’s everyone’s worst nightmare to look like us.”
“In the end, Taylor Swift is a thin woman,” a Twitter user said. “She will never encounter the pervasive effects of fatphobia other than her own internalised issues.”
To all the ppl saying Taylor Swift is fatphobic for portraying eating disorders/body dysmorphia: y’all realize society constantly tells women (esp celebs) that they’re too fat right? All she did was portray how that became an intrusive thought. She didn’t say it was right/good.
— 🌸🌱Lilly🐈⬛☕ (@seasaltalchemst) October 22, 2022
On the other hand, people have argued the scale scene is just a reflection of her own insecurities.
“Stop calling Taylor Swift fatphobic for having an eating disorder and body dysmorphia challenge,” one person said.
“To all the people saying Taylor Swift is fatphobic for portraying eating disorders/body dysmorphia: y’all realize society constantly tells women (especially celebs) that they’re too fat right? All she did was portray how that became an intrusive thought. She didn’t say it was right/good,” tweeted another.
The Tab spoke to Tom Quinn, the Director of Affairs for Eating Disorder charity Beat. He said: “Depictions of eating disorder behaviours, such as weighing yourself and dealing with subsequent negative self-talk can be triggering for people with eating disorders. Not everyone with an eating disorder will have distorted beliefs about their body size and shape, but many people with eating disorders do struggle with poor body image and expressing dissatisfaction or even disgust at their own body or weight can be a symptom of them.
“When public figures like Taylor Swift choose to speak about their own journeys with an eating disorder, it can have a very positive influence and encourage others to seek help. However, we’d also urge them to be mindful of the effect their depictions could have and to do so sensitively.”
If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s health, you can contact Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677 or beateatingdisorders.org.uk
The Tab has reached out to Taylor’s reps for comment.
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Featured image via YouTube.