Taylor Swift has been accused of fatphobia over a scene in the music video for her song .
In the video released on Friday, Swift stands in a bathroom in front of a set of scales, while a version of herself, which appears to be her inner critic, looks on.
When she steps onto the scales, the word “fat” immediately appears in red capital letters on the dial, and she has a look of fear and judgment on her face.
A scene in the video for Anti-Hero shows Swift stepping onto scales and the word “fat” appearing in big red letters. Source: YouTube
The scene drew criticism online after the video’s release for demonising and shaming fat people.
“Taylor Swift’s music video, where she looks worst 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 nightmare to look like us,” New York-based eating disorder therapist Shira Rose wrote on Twitter.
“Having an eating disorder doesn’t excuse fatphobia.”
Some fans defended the use of the word, saying Swift should be praised for being so open about her experiences with her eating disorder and having body image issues.
But others pointed out that such complicated illnesses shouldn’t be reduced to a single word, and that the use of “fat” in a derogatory way reinforces the myth that only thin people can have an eating disorder.
Australian fat activist Nic McDermid – a “huge fan” of Swift’s – said she cried when she watched the video.
“Why do we continue to perpetuate the narrative that fat is the worst possible thing you can be. And that fat is synonymous with lazy, unworthy, disgusting, abhorrent or any other f***ing adjective that non-fat folk use to describe how horrendous their bodies are,” she wrote on Instagram.
“This kind of anti-fatness, particularly with such a large and impressionable audience is absolutely reprehensible.”
Ms McDermid acknowledged that while Swift’s intentions may not have been to “erase the lived experiences of folks in bigger bodies or to perpetuate such vile anti-fat rhetoric”, that is the impact she believes the scene has had.
“Intention does not equal impact. I really, really hope you take this feedback and do better,” she wrote.
Some social media users suggested alternate words that could have been used to describe Swift’s feelings without vilifying fatness, including “unworthy”, “unloveable”, and “not good enough”.
Others urged her to edit the video, similar to how of two of their recent songs after being criticized for .
Swift is yet to publicly respond to the criticism.
Readers seeking support with eating disorders or body image issues can contact the Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673. More information is available at