Each time Taylor Swift releases a music video, she shows us a new side of the woman she’s becoming. There are hidden messages only her die hard fans will pick up on, there’s something for people to absolutely hate, and essentially she’s a genius at keeping the spotlight on her work.
Her release of “Delicate” is no different. But there’s one thing every woman can relate to about the message in this video, we want the freedom to be ourselves. This is especially true when it comes to our bodies.
Women face constant, strict, and often conflicting expectations about their bodies. This makes us feel trapped, and you don’t need to be a famous singer to know the feeling. We want to be in control and sometimes that means completely rejecting all expectations placed on us.
It’s a simple message, but very powerful in the way she tells it. Let’s move through the video timeline to see how she does it.
She seems like she’s doing fine at the beginning, not great, but okay. She’s smiling for cameras, doing interviews (someone slips her a magical note), and posing for pictures with fans. Then, a male hotel employee grabs her and security removes him. This is when she starts noticing just how much her movements are being watched and controlled.
Now that she’s alone in the powder room, she notices the magic paper someone handed her (not sure what that’s about). She’s having alone time, getting her weirdness out of her system before she has to go back and face everyone.
When you’re constantly examined and critiqued based on your appearance, a natural reaction is to resist. Swift shows us this by making faces in the mirror that are “ugly” and pretending her smile is a puppet controlled by strings.
This is a feeling all women can relate to. We’re told we look better when we smile and that we have “resting bitch face” when we aren’t actively smiling. Taylor Swift pokes fun at this expectation before realizing something about the magic paper has made her invisible.
Checking her lack of reflection in the mirror, she wonders if anyone else can see her. She waves her hands in front of the women in the powder room, making sure she’s really out of the spotlight. Then she tests her theory in the lobby of the hotel. No one can see her, not her security detail or the other guests. She’s free.
This is where we see what women (and all humans) do when they know their actions are just for themself. No one else is watching and the first thing she does is change her clothes. This is huge because so many women dress to meet a certain standard set by our culture. It’s not until Taylor knows no one is watching that she tears her gown into something she prefers.
Immediately after she gets more comfortable, she starts doing dorky dances. The way she moves her body is no longer for the pleasure and approval of other people, it’s just for Taylor, just for herself.
She dances around like she’s in a snappy broadway show, like a 2000’s rapper, and even a ballerina. She’s practically doing every single kind of movement she can make her body do. Probably because people always criticize Taylor’s dancing abilities, she’s like, “omg finally I can dance for myself and just enjoy it without people telling me I suck.”
Who can relate?
The movements aren’t perfect, and that’s the point. This is her one chance to be in control of her body, uninfluenced by the perception and judgement of others. Swift wants to get it all out of her system and enjoy every minute of her freedom before it’s back to reality.
Eventually, you can see she wonders if she will ever become visible again. She tests it out and struggles between enjoying the freedom of not being judged and feeling the loneliness of literally being invisible. She’s making the most of the situation, until she walks into a bar and opens her magic paper again, wishing for things to be back to normal once more.
This is a perfect example of how so many women feel because, yes we want to be seen, heard, and valued for what we do. But we also want time to just be ourselves, be in control of our bodies, and do things not to please others, but because WE like them.
This is why I created goddess week. A week where every single day you do a few things just for yourself. Doing things to please and help others is important, but as women it’s hard to remember we are our own person. It’s okay to do things just for you! You can sign up for my next goddess week by clicking here!
Thankfully, we get to do it a lot more often than Taylor Swift. We don’t need a magic paper or a wish to make it okay for us to dance without people judging us.
Taylor Swift includes tons of other hidden messages in her videos, what did you notice? What do you think she’s trying to tell people with this video? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
Rebekah Buege is a body confidence coach helping strong women process critical thoughts and heal insecurities.
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