The Swifties are back at it again defending their pop icon. This time over a discussion on fatphobia and eating disorders.
This past weekend, Taylor Swift released her brand new album, Midnights. She directed the video for her first album single, “Anti-Hero”. The video depicts Swift being playfully tortured by her inner saboteur played by herself in adult “Parent Trap” style ennui.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) October 21, 2022
Like the lyrics, Swift succumbs to her fears, insecurities, and vices. Notably, one scene shows Swift on an old-school scale while Inner Saboteur Taylor looks on in disappointment. The scale—instead of showing a number, reads “FAT”.
Plus-size fans of Swift expressed dismay over the scene presenting the word fat and fatness negatively.
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
TW // ED mention
There’s something so angering about a very thin woman posting this to likely reference her disordered eating. 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. pic.twitter.com/mwDEgkrJdD
— Leah 🏳️🌈 (@hutchleah) October 21, 2022
Fat activists also joined in the conversation. One noting how hurtful it is for young fat fans of Swift to learn their body is seemingly Swift’s “worst nightmare”.
as an actual fat person genuinely how are we supposed to feel seeing this? watching a thin person remind the whole world that one of their biggest fears is being fat. is looking like me.
demonizing the word fat while never having the experience of living in a fat body? fatphobic pic.twitter.com/JYnPXiXRiH
— ♀️ (@fatfabfeminist) October 21, 2022
Swifties combated this by referencing Swift’s past eating disorder. In her Netflix documentary “Miss Americana”, Swift opened up about her eating disorder and how the industry affected her body image.
“It’s not good for me to see pictures of myself every day,” she said in the documentary, “…A picture of me where I feel like I looked like my tummy was too big, … and that’ll just trigger me to just starve a little bit — just stop eating.”
Some swifties offered that Swift’s choice of conveying her experience with an eating disorder and body dysmorphia in her art did not constitute being fatphobic.
if you think Taylor swift is fatphobic because she talked about her crippling eating disorder then you’re the problem. If you think any time people with an eating disorder speak about their issues it’s fatphobic you’re facilitating the idea that people shouldn’t talk about it.
— taylore smith 💯😈✌🏻🥰 (@dresstothenine) October 21, 2022
if you think taylor swift is being fatphobic in her music video you’re dismissing and invalidating every human who has an eating disorder aka a very legitimate mental illness.
— mckay (@mckaysversion) October 22, 2022
“Do [people] really not get that an integral part of eating disorder recovery [is] literally deconstructing fatphobia…” tweets musician Rachael Jenkins.
Some opposers to the video are calling for a re-edit with a word that won’t “demonize fatness”.
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
Swift has yet to respond to the backlash.
She has announced a world tour and released the music video for “Bejeweled”.