Following the release of the music video for her new single, “Anti-Hero,” Taylor Swift has come under fire for including a visual element that some are calling fatphobic.
In the video where Swift can be seen confronting self-sabotage and her own insecurities including her struggle with an eating disorder, she steps on a bathroom scale that features the word “Fat.” Some Twitter users who took issue with the visual are calling out the singer for including this element in her video.
“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,” user @theshirarose wrote in a tweet. “Fat people don’t need to have it reiterated yet again that it’s everyone’s worst nightmare to look like us.”
The problem, @theshirarose clarified in a follow-up tweet, is not that Swift expressed her struggle with body image, but with the specific wording used.
“Having an eating disorder doesn’t excuse fatphobia,” @theshirarose wrote. “It’s not hard to say, ‘I’m struggling with my body image today,’ instead of I’m a fat, disgusting pig.”
Some users shared their own gripes with the specific visual that was used.
“There’s something so angering about a very thin woman posting this to likely reference her disordered eating,” @hutchleah wrote. “Idc if it was just TS’ ‘worst nightmares’ or her ‘intrusive thoughts’, it’s fatphobic and was at best deeply unnecessary to have in the fucking video.”
“When @lizzo had a word considered ableist in one of her songs, she apologized and fixed it,” @JoLuehmann wrote. “Thousands of disabled folks spoke about it. Same with Beyoncé. But Taylor has fatphobic imagery and it’s ‘you don’t understand’ directed at fat people?”
Several critics of those who took issue with the video have pointed out that the inclusion of the word “fat” may not be a dig at people who are overweight, but an expression of how Swift has felt while battling an eating disorder.
“You do realize body dysmorphia exists and even thin people can feel as though they’re fat even if ‘they’re not,’” @killthearch wrote. “This definitely isn’t a personal attack against fat people. She’s talking about how her ED personally makes her feel.”
Others have criticized those who have taken the visual as a personal attack, for “making it about them.”
“Taking someone’s eating disorder struggles and making them about YOU and how YOU FEEL is so deeply ableist it’s unreal,” @themorganyoukno wrote. “It’s like telling someone in the middle of a psychotic break that they need to stop having delusions because they make you anxious.”
“People don’t get to dictate how people feel about their body!” @AS82589245 wrote. “Whether you or anyone take it personally about how someone else feels about themselves is on you.”
The Daily Dot reached out to representatives of Swift regarding criticism of the video via email as well as the Twitter users mentioned via direct messages.
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*First Published: Oct 22, 2022, 1:08 pm CDT
Brooke Sjoberg is a freelance writer for the Daily Dot. She graduated with her Bachelors in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 2020.