We need to talk about Taylor Swift's new video.

We need to talk about Taylor Swift’s new video.

Ultra-megastar, talented songwriter and feminist cat-lover Taylor Swift has released the video for her new track, Bad Blood.

In case you missed it, the four-minute video features the 25-year-old as a superhero alongside about a billion famous friends including Selena Gomez, Lena DunhamCara Delevigne, Hailee Steinfeld, Cindy Crawford, Elly Goulding, Jessica Alba, Ellen Pompeo and Zendaya (Yes, it makes you a bit insecure about the relatively modest size of your own girl gang.)

There are so many things to love about the Bad Blood clip: Physically strong, kickboxing women doing something other than talking about men. Women using typically ‘girly’ symbols of femininity like make-up compacts to kick arse. Tarantino-style explosions. Cat references. Cultural diversity (a bit, at least).

But there’s another view about the video circulating online a bit today: The widely held theory that the whole clip is a dig at Katy Perry, and the resulting question about whether the clip is a bit… well… mean.

Who’s actually in this video, you ask? Post continues after gallery:

Let me back up a little. If you haven’t heard about the KatyTaylor rift (don’t worry, I hadn’t until yesterday, either), Taylor seemed to throw shade at 30-year-old Roar singer Katy in a Rolling Stone interview last year, when she described the inspiration for Bad Blood using this anecdote:

“She did something so horrible, I was like, ‘Oh, we’re just straight-up enemies.’ And it wasn’t even about a guy! It had to do with business. She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me.”

Perry tweeted shortly thereafter, “Watch out for the Regina George in sheep’s clothing,” — a reference to a Mean Girls character which, according to gossip sites, confirmed the rift between the two.

Then the Bad Blood clip came out this week. And it shows Swift in hand-to-hand combat with an arch-enemy played by Selena Gomez, who is wearing a Katy Perry-style blunt bob. Who gets roundly defeated by Swift’s character in the video – while the lyrics say things about having scars from being stabbed in the back by an ex-friend.


Now, I don’t presume to know the first thing about Perry and Swift’s relationship.


Maybe Katy and Taylor are actually besties and they’re both in on the joke; Maybe it’s a post-post-modern feminist satire about the media’s obsession with ‘catfights’.

Maybe Katy has better things to worry about, and couldn’t care less even if the song is about her, and I should just mind my own business and get back to writing current affairs.


Or maybe the video is about Katy Perry — in which case, isn’t Taylor Swift essentially saying in a very public forum: “Dear Katy: look at my clique of girlfriends. We would like to destroy you”?

If that’s the case, it makes me cry a little bit inside.

Because Taylor Swift has millions and millions of young female fans. And ever since she came out as a feminist last year, she’s been doing her bit to make her female fans feel empowered, and to value female friendship, and to be goofy and clever and comfortable in their own skin.

Some important feminist Taylor Swift moments (post continues after list):

1. When she admitted to The Guardian she was a feminist all along.

2. When the video for her single Blank Space was described as a “dystopian feminist fairy tale.”

3. When she defended fellow feminist Emma Watson. “I just think that a lot of girls don’t know the definition and the fact that Emma got up and explained it, I think it’s an incredible thing and I am happy to live in a world where that happened,” Swift said of the HeforShe campaign in an interview.

4. When she called out the music industry’s trivialization of women artists, saying: “I think when it comes to females in the media, you’ll see something that kind of upsets me, which is that females are pinned up against each other, more so than men.”

5. When she gave thanks for the special role of female friendships in her life.

6. The role-reversal in Taylor’s VMA performance, when all of Swift’s backup dancers were men while women sang backup and played instruments.

7. When she nailed a sexist question on the red carpet. (The reporter said: “You’re going to walk home with a lot more than maybe just a trophy tonight. I think lots of men.” Taylor quipped back: “I’m not going to walk home with any men tonight. I’m going to hang out with my friends and then I go home to the cats.”)


As Refinery29 eloquently writes:

What bothered me is that the heroines didn’t use their “lethal forces” against inhumane governments, unjust corporations, or some other amorphous evil force. Instead, they’re fighting other women — frenemies, to be exact… it trades on a misogynistic trope that’s deeply entrenched in our culture: that deep down, women hate each other.

So Taylor: we pretty much love you — but we really, really, really hope Bad Blood isn’t about ganging up on another woman.

It’s not that your vision of feminism has to be perfect in order to be valid; we know you have a voice all of your own. It’s just that we loved it when your voice was reinforcing the importance of women building each other up.

As you once said: “In order for us to have gender equality we have to stop making it a girl fight, and we have to stop being so interested in seeing girls trying to tear each other down.

It has to be more about cheering each other on, as women.”

What do you think of Bad Blood?

More Taylor, you say? Here y’go.