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Taylor Swift’s new song called “Blank Space”, music video to which first appeared in November this year predictably became one of the most discussed music videos in the United States today (Taylor On Top: ‘Space’ Replaces ‘Shake’ At No. 1 par. 2).
The video is not only beautifully made, with skillful and esthetically pleasing images and unusual scenes; it is also combined with a clever message that has several dimensions.
By mans of using images, colors, rhetorical devices, music, traditional stereotypes about women and her own social background and history Taylor Swift presents the viewers with what they have been waiting to see, the well known singer as a crazy and jealous girlfriend that shifts from an elegant and confident woman to an insane maniac smashing her man’s car and tearing his clothes; combining all of these elements this music video serves as a demonstration of self-fulfilling prophesy about Taylor Swift and the common belief that her dating life is a complete mess.
Taylor Swift “Blank Space”
The music video for “Blank Space” is not only designed to present Taylor Swift in an unflattering light, but also reflect the common stereotypes about most women being crazy, moody, clingy and difficult to be around in relationships. In her video Taylor Swift acts as a typical “illogical” girl that suddenly switches off her “normality” and becomes a handful for her man irrationally ruining his properties destroying presents she once gave him and acting out as a mentally unstable person (Stampler par. 4).
This message is delivered by the lyrics of the song that include threatening phrases as if warning the men about Taylor Swift’s true self, her appearance with the mascara streaming down her face and her caring and then hostile behaviors. This video is full of contrasts; it depicts the tantrums a typical “needy girlfriend” is expected to throw in a relationship.
The video is a clever move from the side of Taylor Swift’s manager’s as it is directly connected to the singer’s frequently discussed active dating life due to which Swift is often called a “boy-crazy woman” widely judged by feminists for her desire to be in a couple. In the video Taylor Swift demonstrates that she is not afraid of rumors, instead she is having fun with her new reputation, which is frequently connected to her artistic achievements as most of Swift’s songs are written about her love life, feelings and boyfriends.
With the help of “Blank Space” Swift shows that she is tired of convincing the public that finding inspiration in real life experiences is not bad, and tries out a completely new approach to this issue.
The makers of “Blank Space” employed various visual devices to make the video deeper and more informative. Taylor Swift generally represents a rich and elegant woman that first acts as a girlfriend of everyone’s dreams, as she is beautiful with perfect hair and makeup, amazing outfits and style. She is always classy. Forming the scenes of the video its producers avoided bright patterns and instead preferred classic colors such as white, black, red, beige, grey and silver.
Outfits Taylor wears are mostly gorgeous classic long gowns or dresses reminding of conventional family women of the 1950s. These devices as well as scenes at the dining table, at the picnic, or walking the dogs show harmonious relationship that suddenly turns into madness as soon as the girl notices her man texting someone else. Rhetorical devices of the song in included metaphors such as “I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream” (TaylorSwiftVEVO), which stands for the woman’s twisted nature.
This quote states that appearances are deceitful. Trusting beautiful appearance means becoming a victim in this woman’s game. This quote is supported by another one saying, “Find out what you want/Be that girl for a month/Wait the worst is yet to come” (TaylorSwiftVEVO). This quote clearly expresses the woman’s awareness of her behavioral patterns. It immediately turns her from an uncontrolled maniac to either a wise self-analytical person or a trickster, who likes to pretend.
This is how the song and video communicate the message of Swift’s very clear idea about what she is doing with her actual dating life. By emphasizing the anticipated happenings she points out their absurdity and makes it clear for the viewers that whatever they expect her to be is not what she really is.
From the elements of the music video it can be stated that the targeted audience of this work are young women and teenage girls attracted to the themes of glamorous lifestyle and relationship drama (Volpe par. 22). This is why such attributes of the video as clothing, handsome men, beautiful sceneries, romantic scenes are employed.
Besides, the video communicated the message applied to the majority of women and girls. It speaks about their emotionality and the way it can be perceived by men, it also explores the roots of emotional behavior of females, which earned them the reputation of “overly attached girlfriends”, the label no one enjoys wearing.
As one of women labeled that way, Taylor Swift ruins this social stereotype demonstratively stating that she is aware of this rumor, but instead of hating it or being upset about it, she plays with it, enjoying the role of a “crazy girl” to the fullest, making a show out of it.
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Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” is her artistic response to the whispers behind her back discussing her private life and the long list of her boyfriends. Creating an ironic video, where she acts and sings about herself being insane is designed to fill in the “blank space” in the public idea about what Swift is like as a girlfriend and how come she keeps starting and ending her relationships so often giving the fans what they wanted to see hinting, “yes, I am the way you imagine me, the insane overly attached woman guys run away from”.
In her music video for “Blank Spaces” Taylor Swift makes a brilliant connection between her artistic life and her personal life. This technique is rather clever because it allows the artist to present herself as a character created by her fans maintaining the relationship with the viewers and bringing the real image of Taylor Swift and the imaginary one together in her work.
Her video allows Swift to act as both, the actual person and the character developed in her video by her fans. One more connection between the devices of the video and the audience targeted by it is the fact that the image of Taylor Swift as a “crazy girlfriend” was created according to the common beliefs and rumors about the artist, this was the audience acted as a direct participator in the creation of the video.
Stampler, L. “Watch Taylor Swift Turn into a Crazy, Knife-Wielding Girlfriend in Her New Video.” Time. 2014. Business Source Elite. Web.
TaylorSwiftVEVO. “Blank Space.” Online video clip. You Tube. 2014. Web.
“Taylor On Top: ‘Space’ Replaces ‘Shake’ At No. 1.” Billboard, 2014: 40. Business Source Elite. Web.
Volpe, A. “Taylor Swift, ‘1989’: A track-by-track review.” Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA). (2014). Web.