Unless you are living under a rock or you just don’t have any social media, you know that Taylor Swift released her latest music video last week for her single, “The Man” from the Lover album. In her video, she introduces her fans to her male alter ego, Tyler Swift. The song, “The Man” addresses many double standards that women face everyday and how these standards wouldn’t exist if the woman was instead, a man. These double standards range from the workplace to acceptable behaviors in public places to family relationships.
A lyric that I’ve been thinking about a lot since the song’s release is,
“I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man.”
Even more than that is the beginning of the second verse:
“They’d say I hustled, put in the work.
They wouldn’t shake their heads and question how much of this I deserve.
What I was wearing, if I was rude, could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves.”
I am still in the early years of my career, and in those years I have been fortunate to work at theatres where including women on the team isn’t just a nice idea, but it is a priority (shout out to An Other Theater Company in Provo, UT). While I’ve had these opportunities, and I haven’t personally felt discrimination…it’s out there. I know people who have faced it and I face it every day within my own mind. As I prepare workshop presentations or share my concepts and ideas at rehearsals, I constantly worry that someone will find out that I’m a fraud. Am I? Of course not. I hold a degree in theatre and putting that degree to use in the real world after graduation is normal and encouraged. Yet, I feel like I don’t belong there, I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m a fake. Do men feel this way when they graduate and enter the workforce? Maybe. But do I feel this way because of years of society ingraining these ideas in my head? Almost definitely.
All this is to say, I have not felt external discrimination in my field (yet), but Taylor Swift’s “The Man” has put words and visuals to the thoughts inside my head every time I go to work. As a society, we need to do better to make sure that young girls growing up now do not have these same ideas ingrained in them. We need to tell them, “you can do this, you are good enough, you will succeed.” Because they will.