After some controversy, Taylor Swift and her team have quietly removed the “fat” scale scene from the “Anti-Hero” music video, the first visual released from her tenth album Midnights.
In the original version of the music video, we see two version of Taylor in a bathroom: the singer herself and her alter ego. In the scene, the real Taylor steps on an old-fashioned scale and looks down to see her weight, which doesn’t read numbers but a word: “FAT” in bold letters. Her alter ego shoots her a disappointed look and shakes her head.
Prior to the release of the visual, Taylor shared that the video dealt with some of her “nightmare scenarios and intrusive thoughts.” The star also revealed that the song “Anti-Hero” was one of the more personal pieces on the album, a raw look at how she really feels underneath the glamour of fame.
“I don’t think I’ve delved this far into my insecurities in this detail before,” Taylor said. “I struggle a lot with the idea that my life has become unmanageably sized and, not to sound too dark, I struggle with the idea of not feeling like a person. We all hate things about ourselves, and it’s all of those aspects of the things we dislike and like about ourselves that we have to come to terms with if we’re going to be this person.”
With this context, we understand that the scale scene is supposed to be a representation of Taylor’s negative self-talk and body image. However, the scene caused backlash from fans and activists who felt it was fatphobic and lacked nuance and thoughtfulness. (We recommend checking out writer Catherine Mhoyli’s op-ed about the scene here.)