Taylor Swift has removed a scene from her new music video for Anti-Hero after receiving backlash for depicting the word "fat" in a negative tone.
In the scene around three minutes into the new MV, the Grammy-winning artist steps on a weighing scale that flashes the word "fat." Swift looks down at the scale in defeat as her alter ego shakes her head in disapproval.
A number of netizens have called out the scene for allegedly promoting fatphobia or the discrimination and exclusion of fatness in society.
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
A non-exhaustive list of words Taylor Swift (aka the musician I’ve listened to the most this year and do indeed adore) could have used instead of “fat” on the bathroom scale in her new video to get the same message across about her ED without a side of fatphobia:— Erin Phillips, MPH, RD, CDCES (@ErinPhillipsRD) October 22, 2022
Though Swift has not directly released a statement on the issue, the Apple Music version of the music video has since edited out the scene.
Instead of showing the word "fat," her alter ego immediately dismisses whatever is written on the weighing scale.
As of writing, the music video's YouTube upload remains unchanged.
ANTI-HERO MUSIC VIDEO HAS BEEN EDITED ON APPLE MUSIC pic.twitter.com/hLl5LNcthq— 𝗮𝗻𝗱𝘆 🕰 (@xThisIsAndyG) October 26, 2022
Despite the edits, the Anti-Hero music video has sparked debate on the singer's use of the word to mirror her own body dysmorphia and the impact of social media on today's music industry.
Swift wouldn't be the first artist this year to change her music due to backlash, Beyonce and Lizzo have also edited out lyrics to their songs that contained ableist slurs.
Some fans suggested that erasing the scene would also erase Taylor's experiences.
"This is actually so sad because Taylor definitely saw all the people not caring about her OWN experience with her OWN body," one Swiftie had tweeted.
the scale scene of anti-hero mv has been edited on apple music. this is actually so sad because taylor definitely saw all the people not caring about her OWN experience with her OWN body. pic.twitter.com/ou0MbzOJ7s— fran (@SELSREP) October 26, 2022
On the other hand, some have gone on to say that Swift was simply critiquing fatphobia as a whole, as she herself had admitted to having eating disorder issues in the past.
People have been saying that they think this moment in Taylor Swift’s music video is fatphobic but…to me it very clearly seems like a critique of fatphobia. I’m so tired of people with absolutely abysmal media analysis attacking artists without using any critical thinking 🧵 pic.twitter.com/4gSwZKLVOg— Mr Beard (@mrbeardofficial) October 22, 2022
Meanwhile, the artist has said that Anti-Hero remains as one of her favorite songs she's ever written because it serves as "a real guided tour throughout all the things that I tend to hate about myself."
"I really don't think I've delved this far into my insecurities in this detail before. You know, I struggle a lot with the idea that my life has become unmanageably sized, and that I, you know... not to sound too dark, but, like, I struggle with the idea of not feeling like a person," she shared.
The song is Swift's first music video for her 10th studio album, Midnights, which has broken numerous streaming records since its Oct. 10 release.