Trigger warning, topics of eating disorders (ED) are discussed in this article.
Taylor Swift’s music video for the song “Anti-Hero” was edited to remove a scene in which Swift steps on a bathroom scale to reveal the word “fat” as the recorded weight.
“Anti-Hero” is the third song on Swift’s 10th and newest album “Midnights.” The music video was the first one released for the album on Oct. 21, 2022.
The video, which Swift directed and wrote, outlines her “nightmare scenarios and intrusive thoughts [played] out in real time,” as she put in an Instagram post promoting the music video’s release.
The edit to the scene was first made on the Apple Music version of the video. The YouTube version was edited a few days later. The scene was not completely omitted, but the closeup of the scale reading “fat” was. Instead, Swift’s clone shown in the video looks at the scale Swift stands on and glances at her disdainfully.
The choice to change the video was speculated online as some viewers found the frames to be fatphobic and “anti-fat,” because the scene depicted being fat as a negative thing.
In Swift’s 2020 Netflix documentary “Miss Americana,” she talks about her struggle with an eating disorder. “It’s not good for me to see pictures of myself everyday … I tend to get triggered by something, whether it’s a picture of me where I feel like my tummy was too big, or someone said that I looked pregnant,” she says. “That will trigger me to starve a little bit, just stop eating.”
Swift elaborated upon this in an interview with Variety. “I didn’t know if I was going to feel comfortable with talking about body image and talking about the stuff I’ve gone through in terms of how unhealthy that’s been for me — my relationship with food and all that over the years,” she said. “But the way that Lana [Wilson] tells the story, it really makes sense. I’m not as articulate as I should be about this topic because there are so many people who could talk about it in a better way. But all I know is my own experience.”
Swift’s struggle with food was one of the “nightmare scenarios or intrusive thoughts” she mentioned in her promotional post. That was the reason for including the scale scene.
People online who took offense to the frames may not have known of Swift’s struggle with an eating disorder. The claims that Swift was being fatphobic may not hold 100% water, but the general consensus is that the scene was in poor taste, which is why Swift opted to edit the video on all platforms.
“The media called Taylor fat in any opportunity given, and I don’t see it ‘fatphobic,’” another Twitter user said. “Taylor showed a scene where she called herself fat because of her eating disorders, insecurities about HER body and intrusive thoughts that society implanted in her head.”
Swift was trying to explain that this was something she struggled with; she has dealt with eating disorders in the past and still deals with them today. It may not have been the best way to go about doing so, but she has taken the criticism and changed the way she depicted her struggle to be more inclusive to an online audience.
The “Anti-Hero” music video still holds the same message with the edits made. In fact, it shows Swift’s struggle within herself more by having her anti-hero clone show contempt for the ambiguous reading on the scale. Regardless of the number shown, her mind will read it as more than what is acceptable for her.
Swift has since moved past the controversy after the edits were made, announcing her “Era’s Tour” to start March 18, 2023 and two remixes of “Anti-Hero,” one featuring Bleachers and one remixed by Roosevelt.